California this week officially adopted new right to repair legislation, with California Governor Gavin Newsom this week signing SB 244 into law.
The Right to Repair law requires companies to provide customers with the tools to diagnose and repair consumer electronics and appliances. Apple in August sent a letter urging California to adopt the bill, despite the fact that Apple has lobbied against other Right to Repair legislation.
Apple has already launched a Self Service Repair program for iPhones and Macs, with the repair program providing customers with repair kits, repair manuals, and components for repairs. Apple also has repair programs for independent repair shops, such as the Apple Authorized Service Provider option and the Independent Repair Provider program.
California’s law requires service and repair facilities that are not authorized repair providers to disclose whether they’re using replacement parts that are not from the device manufacturer, which would prevent Apple repair stores from using non-Apple parts without making that explicitly clear. As legitimate repair parts must come from Apple, the repair law in California is to Apple’s benefit.
Manufacturers are also not required to make tools, parts, and documentation available for any component that would disable or override antitheft security measures, which encompasses Apple features like Face ID.
Independent repair shops have in the past complained that Apple forces them to sign invasive contracts, and the kits that Apple sells for self-service repair are not much more affordable than simply getting a repair direct from Apple, but California’s law does ensure that customers have options other than the Apple Store.
SB 244 requires that Apple and other companies provide components, repair manuals, and other repair information to be available for seven years after the sale of any product that costs more than $99.99. It is applicable to products sold after July 1, 2021.