Statement: Apple announces it will ease some restrictions on repairing iPhones

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Move comes after increasing legislative pressure to end use of ‘parts pairing’ to prevent repairs

BOSTON — Apple announced Thursday that, beginning in the fall, it will be possible to repair “select iPhone models” with used Apple parts and retain full functionality. According to a test by iFixit, with current ‘parts pairing’ restrictions, if a broken iPhone screen is replaced with an identical screen, key features such as the front-facing camera, face ID and auto-brightness stop working. The phone recognizes each part ‘paired’ to it and restricts the ability to replace parts without a proprietary process to restore functionality. 

Though not all the details are provided, Apple’s announcement seems to indicate that there will be a way to restore the features lost after putting used parts into a phone. The move comes on the same day that a bill will be heard in the Colorado Senate which bans companies from using parts pairing to restrict repair, a bill which already passed the Colorado House. Oregon lawmakers passed the same restrictions, the strongest ‘right-to-repair’ law in the country, earlier this Spring. These measures would also enable the use of compatible, third-party parts.  

Nathan Proctor, the senior director of PIRG’s Right to Repair Campaign, made the following statement: 

“Make no mistake: The reason Apple is doing this is because Right to Repair is moving forward, thanks to the efforts of state lawmakers and our coalition of tinkers, fixers, makers and environmental and consumer advocates. 

“Electronic waste is the world’s fastest growing waste stream and represents a global crisis. Companies that use software to prevent compatible spare parts from working fully make this problem worse, while harming consumers and undermining local repair shops. Lawmakers should ban these repair restrictions fully, not just a few devices from one manufacturer. Just let people fix their stuff.”