You may have heard of the right to repair movement. It's the argument that owners of any device should have access to official parts, official service documentation, and related services so that they can repair their device at home for cheaper than going to a repair centre or repair shop. In Apple's case, a battery replacement through Apple on an iPhone X out of warranty will cost you $89, and if you don't live near one of their stores or "Apple Authorized Service Providers", you have to ship it to Apple, which costs you another $10.77 for shipping. [1] On top of that, when you ship it in, you'll be waiting a while.

Arrange a shipment to an Apple Repair Center and we’ll replace your battery and deliver your iPhone back to you in approximately 6-8 days. [1]

I don't know about you, but 6-8 days without my phone would be impossible. No communication with the outside world. I'd be a shut-in for "approximately 6-8 days." To top it all off, you have to erase your device before sending it in.

Follow these steps before you send your device in for repair or replacement... Erase your device. Go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. [2]

That can be a pain sometimes. And restoring from a backup doesn't always work 100% of the time. Long story short, repairing your device at home can be easier and cheaper.

Many companies don't support Right to Repair. Samsung puts permanent adhesive under the batteries of some of its phones to prevent it from being removed by the average person.

JerryRigEverything on Youtube[3]

It was recently discovered by Justin at the Art of Repair YouTube channel[4], and later reported on by iFixit[5], that on newer iPhones such as the iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max, the Battery Health settings disappear after replacing the battery in these devices, even if it was replaced with a genuine Apple battery.

Credit: iFixit Blog[5]

This is very discouraging to people to repair their own devices or repair other's devices as a business. The Battery Health feature is nice to have because it lets you know when your battery should be replaced if need be, but Apple disables it for batteries installed by anyone but Apple. As iFixit notes:

This pattern of behavior proves, once again, that Apple is out to stop all repairs performed by anyone except Apple themselves. The company claims that using third-party components can compromise the integrity of an iPhone’s functionality, but when genuine Apple parts have the same problem, then clearly it’s not really about third-party components at all: it’s about preventing you from having any autonomy with a device you supposedly own. You bought it, you own it, you should be able to fix it. It’s that simple. Pairing batteries to iPhones is a gross overreach. It’s yet another instance of purchasing a product, and not being able to fully utilize it—like leasing a car, except you’re paying full price for it. [5]

Apple responded to this issue in a statement to iMore:

We take the safety of our customers very seriously and want to make sure any battery replacement is done properly. There are now over 1,800 Apple authorized service providers across the US so our customers have even more convenient access to quality repairs. Last year we introduced a new feature to notify customers if we were unable to verify that a new, genuine battery was installed by a certified technician following Apple repair processes. This information is there to help protect our customers from damaged, poor quality, or used batteries which can lead to safety or performance issues. This notification does not impact the customer's ability to use the phone after an unauthorized repair.

This isn't the first time Apple has done something like this. Last year, it was reported that Auto Brightness and True Tone were disabled on genuine Apple screens after a third party repair, or what Apple calls an "unauthorized repair".[6]

Companies don't like the fact that consumers want to repair their own devices, over fears of "safety or performance issues". Legislation can change this. As Vice reported in February of this year, Ontario Liberal Party MPP Michael Coteau is proposing a bill that:

...proposes that tech companies make diagnostic tools, repair manuals, and official parts available to consumers at their request. The legislation would also require that any new products ship with a repair manual. Documents provided to consumers must be free unless they request paper copies, and parts, tools, and software must be provided at a fair price. [7]

That would be amazing. Having access to everything Apple Authorized stores have at a fair price would make repairs fast and simple, and it would help the environment. If we could fix our old phones instead of buying new ones, electronic waste would go down.

Right to Repair laws is what we need, to protect consumer rights, help the environment, and empower people to learn about what goes on inside their everyday devices. iFixit's Repair Manifesto is a visual representation of what rights we should have as consumers and users of everyday devices.

Source: iFixit

Thanks for reading! I hope you learned something. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, email me at [email protected]


Title image by Nikolai Chernichenko on Unsplash

[1] iPhone Battery & Power Repair. Apple Support. Accessed August 16, 2019.
[2] Get your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch ready for service. Apple Support. Accessed August 16, 2019.
[3] Galaxy A50 Teardown! - Did something crack inside? JerryRigEverything. Youtube. Accessed August 16, 2019.
[4] The "SERVICE" issue in XR XS & XS Max Batteries | is APPLE taking part lock down TOO FAR?. TheArtOfRepair. Youtube. Accessed August 16, 2019.
[5] Craig Lloyd. Apple Is Locking iPhone Batteries to Discourage Repair. iFixit Blog. Accessed August 16, 2019.
[6] Aaron Souppouris. Even genuine replacement Apple displays can mess with iPhones. Engadget. Accessed August 16, 2019.
[7] Jordan Pearson. Right to Repair Legislation Is Officially Being Considered In Canada. Vice. Accessed August 16, 2019.