In an unexpected move, Apple has come out supporting California’s SB-244 bill, also known as the state’s “Right to Repair” bill.
The Cupertino-based tech giant recently wrote a letter to a California state senator, Susan Talamantes Eggman, expressing their support for the legislation. This bill is currently in the process of being reviewed at the State Capitol building in Sacramento.
Apple’s change of heart
Apple has changed its position on the right to repair over the past few years. Last year, they introduced a Service Repair program allowing users to rent tools for fixing their iPhones and Macs at home. Many saw this move as a preemptive response to potential state and federal laws.
SB 244 is quite comprehensive. It covers consumer electronics like phones, laptops, and appliances such as microwaves and washing machines. However, there are a couple of exceptions, like game consoles and alarm systems, due to concerns about piracy and security. Interestingly, it shares many similarities with the Right to Repair Act enacted in Minnesota this past May.
In their letter, Apple states that they support the California Right to Repair Act because it empowers consumers to safely repair their devices without compromising privacy or data security. They emphasize their commitment to creating durable products and providing users with safe repair options.
Apple’s stance to have a significant impact
Apple’s endorsement is unusual. Typically, such blessings are made through industry groups rather than directly from manufacturers. This move will likely benefit Senator Eggman and her co-author, Senator Nancy Skinner, as Apple’s support carries significant weight. After all, Apple is a massive company with a long history in California.
Senator Eggman expressed her appreciation for Apple’s support, highlighting the significance of industries collaborating to create favorable policies for Californians. Similar bills have been introduced in around 14 other states. For instance, last year, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed the Digital Fair Repair Act, which requires manufacturers to provide diagnostic and repair information to independent repair providers and consumers.
However, such bills often involve concessions to manufacturers to address security and safety concerns. Finding common ground with the industry is likely crucial for these bills to succeed.
California’s Right to Repair Act likely to be passed as law
California’s Right to Repair Act builds on the existing California Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act from 1970. The new legislation would compel manufacturers to provide means for diagnosing, maintaining, and repairing products to owners, repair facilities, and dealers. This applies regardless of whether the product is under warranty.
Additionally, the bill would require non-authorized repair providers to inform customers in writing if the manufacturer doesn’t authorize them. They would also need to disclose the use of replacement parts from non-manufacturer suppliers.
The bill sailed through the Senate with a 38-0 vote in May. It’s awaiting assembly appropriation suspense file approval before moving on to an entire assembly vote.