A lack of repairability is a criticism that has been lobbed at Apple products multiple times over the years. Apple’s increasingly slimline design choices can, at times, seem to butt heads with giving customers the chance to repair products when they break.
But now the company is having to be a little bit more transparent about how easily its devices can be disassembled for repairs, as well as how readily available repair manuals and spare parts are. In France, at least.
Complying With New Laws
Reported by MacGeneration, via The Verge, these newly added repairability scores are the result of a new law which kicked in in France on January 1, 2021. It’s designed to curb the growing problem of electronic waste by advising customers on the repairability of the products that they buy.
While companies are not compelled to design products in a way that is more repairable, by being made to publish repairability scores, it is made clear to would-be buyers whether the products they are looking at would be easy to fix were something to go wrong with them. This, in turn, could drive change.
So far, Apple has added repairability scores for both its iPhone and MacBook products. The repairability scores appear on the individual product pages, in a small green box with a score listed out of 10. This year’s iPhone 12 models all have a score of 6 out of 10. That is an increase on the 4.5 or 4.6 out of 10 that last year’s iPhone 11 models received.
Companies work out their own scores, although this is done according to strict criteria and guidelines that they must follow. There is also a French language Apple webpage which reveals exactly how Apple calculates the scores given.
Still Early Days
This is still relatively early stages for the French law in question. Starting in 2022, companies will face fines if they fail to comply. However, Apple is clearly wasting no time in following guidelines.
It seems probable that, if this is a success, more product categories will be added to the ones already covered—which currently includes smartphones, laptops, televisions, washing machines, and lawnmowers.
Still, this looks like the beginning of a positive step forward when it comes to customer transparency. Who knows: Similar laws may one day wind up being applied in the United States and elsewhere. With conversation about “right to repair” legislation gaining momentum all the time, similar rules would certainly find no shortage of supporters in places like the U.S.