Apple hates repair.

3 min read.

In the wake of their latest scandal, here’s why the Right To Repair is more important than ever.

We just got proof of something we’ve all suspected for a while now:

Apple just admitted that they’ve been sending updates to older iPhones to slow them down.

While they have a technologically sound reason for doing this — preventing old batteries from potential malfunctions — the secrecy behind their update’s effects and silence on offering users ways to replace their batteries is a deliberate tactic.

This way, when your old iPhone seems to slow down for seemingly no reason, people are pushed to spend a premium on the newest phone:

“Man my iPhone has been so slow recently. Maybe I should buy the new one.”

It’s a subtle form of planned obsolescence — when companies intentionally shorten the useful lifespan of their products to push you to buy more — and it’s shady as hell.

If you’re as concerned and angry about this as I am,
you might be thinking to yourself:

“I don’t want to give Apple any more of my money — couldn’t I just go somewhere else to get my battery replaced for cheaper?”

Well… Apple’s been making things difficult for third-party repair businesses — they’re actively fighting against “right-to-repair” laws that would require official Apple parts to be available for sale to repair shops, along with the proper instructions.

But this isn’t their first anti-consumer move.

Previously, they’ve lobbied to keep a loophole in a US anti-hacking law that could have brought criminal charges to people who carrier-unlocked or modified the software on their own phones.

They also intentionally programmed software locks into their phones on two separate occasions that would brick it if you replaced your home button or display through a third-party repair business.

Time and time again, Apple has proved that they will put their own profits over the interests and well-being of their customer.

It might be easy to say “just go to an official shop” but those don’t span across the globe. This make it difficult for people who live outside of Apple’s official reach to get support for their devices, especially on older devices.

Because there are a limited number of official centers or places with a reliable supply of parts, it becomes easier for Apple to overcharge or deny someone for repairing an older device, and push their customers to pay extravagant amounts of money to buy their newest phone.

“Right-to-repair” regulations simply ask Apple to sell official tools and parts for repair shops so that consumers anywhere can feel reassured their devices can be fixed and alive for longer: The same way a car company might push owners to come to their service centers — but is still required to have their parts easily available for the neighborhood mechanic to buy in case they need them.

Unlike what Apple or some people might want to believe, independent repair shops aren’t “unskilled” or “shoddy” — if any of them were truly incompetent, they wouldn’t have any customers. But these repair shops have to jump through ridiculous hoops just to get their hands on the right parts and information to repair people’s devices, and end up fearing legal threats from a billion dollar company just for having them.

In the midst of a global electronic-waste problem we are struggling to fight, we need to be urging companies to build reliable devices that work for a long time, and make it easy for people to repair, fix and upgrade by making their legitimate parts easy to access.

The longer someone can use their device reliably, the less chance that it will end up in a landfill soon, and the more time we have to think about and implement solutions while reducing our environmental impact.

If Apple chooses to actually help repair shops get the parts and information they need — they would not only prove that they actually care about the consumers who spend so much money on their products and services — but also for the well-being of our planet.

The Self-Repair Manifesto by iFixIt