Five States Are Considering Bills to Legalize the 'Right to Repair' Electronics

The bills are squarely aimed at the “authorized repair” model that creates aftermarket monopolies dominated by the manufacturers themselves. For example, Apple has never authorized an independent company to repair iPhones, even though hundreds of companies do so every day (its authorized repair program is only for Mac computers).

Many of these independent repair shops exist in limbo: Acquiring parts usually means going on the Chinese grey market or salvaging parts from recycled devices. In the past, the Department of Homeland Security has raided independent repair shops who have unknowingly sold counterfeit parts (itself a confusing distinction, considering many of the internal parts of the iPhone have been commoditized).

It’s not just iPhones, of course. Dishwashers, refrigerators, servers, tractors, internet of things devices, cameras, and anything else with software in it have all had their own right-to-repair issues as companies seek to make parts difficult to buy and impose artificial software lockdowns on diagnostic systems within the devices.