Two U.S. states ban Apple’s “parts matching” practice


iPhone 15 Pro Max

To enhance consumer rights and reduce electronic waste, two U.S. states, Oregon and Colorado, have introduced legislation banning Apple’s “parts matching” practice. This practice involves digitally matching the serial number of a component (such as the screen) with the serial number of the iPhone itself, making it difficult to use disassembled parts for repairs. The ban aims to promote the “right to repair” and ensure that consumers can access affordable and sustainable repair options.

iPhone 16 Pro Max right to repair

Background and Impact

The “parts matching” practice has been a major obstacle for consumers seeking to repair their Apple devices. Even if a user swaps out one original Apple component for another, the repair cannot be fully successful due to the mismatch, which prevents the use of disassembled parts for repairs. For example, on the iPhone 13, replacing the screen will cause Face ID to not work. Many repairs have become expensive because Apple-approved parts must be used. This practice has led to a significant increase in electronic waste and has been criticized for its restrictive nature.

Oregon Leads the Way

Oregon is the first state in the United States to formally legislate a ban on “parts matching,” which will take effect on smartphones in January 2025. The public welfare organization PIRG reported that Colorado has now taken the same measure. This move is seen as a significant step towards promoting consumer rights and reducing electronic waste.

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Colorado’s Expanded Right to Repair

Colorado residents now have the broadest right to repair in the U.S. The new law builds on Colorado’s previous laws protecting the right to repair for farm equipment and power wheelchairs. Colorado is also the second state to include restrictions on companies using software locks to limit repairs, known as “parts pairing,” in its electronics legislation. Governor Jared Polis emphasized that the law will save money and reduce waste, stating, “Protecting our right to repair our own broken devices will save money, support small businesses, and reduce electronics waste. Today, we are working to protect Colorado residents’ right to repair by ensuring manufacturers can’t force Coloradans to pay exorbitant repair fees.”

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Apple’s Shift in Stance

Apple has historically been opposed to “right to repair” legislation, spending significant resources to block or weaken its effectiveness. However, in 2021, the company launched its “self-service repair program” and began actively supporting “right to repair” legislation. This shift in stance is a significant development, indicating that Apple is recognizing the importance of consumer rights and the need for more sustainable and affordable repair options.

The ban on “parts matching” in Oregon and Colorado may set a precedent for other states to follow. Apple and other companies may eventually have to give up “parts matching” to comply with the new legislation. This development has significant implications for the electronics industry. This is because it could lead to a shift towards more open and transparent repair practices.

Conclusion

The ban on “parts matching” in Oregon and Colorado is a step towards promoting consumer rights and reducing electronic waste. This move highlights the importance of ensuring that consumers have access to affordable and sustainable repair options. As the industry continues to evolve, manufacturers must prioritize transparency and consumer rights. They should place users over restricting repair practices that benefit only their interests.

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1 Comment

  1. May 29, 2024

    This is great news…perfecto