The importance of right to repair within today’s tech industry

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Access to internal parts on an iPhone is through a 3rd party or Apple directly

Vishnu Challa, Site Manager

Consumers have long been aware of the revolution behind Apple’s success. Its pioneering for smartphone technology in the 2000s is what launched it to its size as a corporation. What has kept them at that spot in the tech industry is not just their initial boom, but the ecosystem they have built around their products.

Right to Repair is a movement that has been going on for the past decade but has begun to really gain traction in recent years. This movement is centered around the ability for users to repair their products without restraints or conditions put in place by the seller.

Apple has been one of the most eminent resisters to this notion and has designed their ecosystem against it. In recent years though, Apple has started to make some strides towards allowing more freedom.

Senior Jayden Fairweather shows Apple’s change by expressing his experience with their servicing. “Usually fixing a cracked phone screen is pretty easy. It’s a little expensive since it’s coming from Apple but repairs have gotten to be pretty painless”, he said.

Even locally, companies like John Deere have begun to crack down on self-repairs done by farmers. Servicing is a large part of Deere’s revenue, and losing it to often cheaper and more accessible parts from local mechanics can be detrimental to their business.

As we observe the forceful actions from corporations to follow their repair policies, how should consumers best utilize it?

The computer hardware industry has already begun to make some large strides.YouTuber Louis Rossmann has been the internet icon for Right to Repair by calling out companies’ unjust practices and displaying methods to repair personal computer hardware.

Rossmann’s impact has not only spread to his viewers, but to other influencers as well.

iFixit, a toolkit company, has contributed to the largest guide for computer hardware on how to repair screens of old laptops to how to swap the touch sensors on smartphones. Framework, a modular laptop company, has focused on designing the most easily serviceable and replaceable laptop for consumers.

Changes are being made but Senior Devon Katragada shared his concerns for future issues that could arise. “Even if companies give in to consumers, there is a reason that some ecosystems are locked down. It provides stability and ensures that components of products are uniform in every design. Still, I think the freedom to have your products be self-repairable is worth it against that risk,” he said.

Right to Repair is historically important for the technology community since it is the first time consumers have demanded change rather than just being critical online. Social media is a big driver for communal change, and legislation is being pushed as well. Hopefully this will lead to a more permanent change within the industry.