Apple will allow some iPhone owners to fix their phones. This is an important turnaround from a company which has for years prohibited any outsiders from modifying its software and parts.

On Wednesday, the company announced that users will be able to access genuine Apple parts as well as tools to repair their iPhones and Macs.

This shift is a reflection of a strengthening “right to repair” movementPresident Joe BidenIt is affecting all things, from phones to cars and trucks. It’s a reaction to the infusion of software into more everyday productsand manufacturers have made it more expensive and difficult for them to be repaired.

Apple will launch an online shop for self-service repairs in the first quarter of next year. It claims it will stock more than 200 parts and tools to repair the iPhone 12 or iPhone 13 most commonly. Apple has partnered with an online store to offer self-service repairs for screens, batteries, and displays. Apple had previously rejected the idea, citing safety concerns, as well as the possibility of damaging a device by using faulty replacement batteries.

Apple’s action is welcome news for consumers and a sign that similar standards should apply to other electronics, said Maureen Mahoney, a senior policy analyst at Consumer Reports.

“If you buy a product, you should be able to fix it,” she said. Otherwise “consumers have to either rely on the manufacturers’ authorized repairer or they have to buy a new one.”

Federal Trade Commission, Biden Administration and the state legislatures are looking at regulatory changes to make it more convenient for Americans who want to fix their devices.

Regulators have expressed concerns about restrictions that steer consumers into manufacturers’ and sellers’ repair networks, adding costs to consumers and shutting out independent repair shops from business opportunities. They’ve also said those repair restrictions often fall heavily on minority and low-income consumers. In May, an FTC report was submitted to Congress by the FTC. It noted that Black owned small businesses repair equipment. Many of these shops are often run by entrepreneurs who hail from low-income communities.

Apple’s lock-down software practice has made it a popular target for right to repair advocates. This is because parts of the program are encapsulated in a device specific code. Some attempted repairs — such as replacing a broken original screen with one made by a third party — have left phones unusable.

There are limits to the changes that Apple is making but it’s still “a big milestone,” said Nathan Proctor, senior director for the Right to Repair campaign at U.S. PIRG, a consumer advocacy group.

“One of the most visible right-to-repair opponents is reversing course in a meaningful way,” he said.

Proctor said that’s thanks to growing pressure, including from some of Apple’s own investors. A shareholder proposal from an environmentally-minded investment groups calls for the company to cease its anti-repair practices, arguing that they are contributing to electronic waste.

Source: HuffPost.com.

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