Content, Hardware

Right to Repair Hardware: Everything You Need to Know

Computer service and assistance concept with work tool icon on a laptop keyboard 3D illustration.

The debate and occasional legal battles continue between Right to Repair advocates vs. manufacturers and technology companies. The crux of the matter: Should customers have the right to repair devices and products (for instance, smartphones) on their own -- or should device makers maintain the right to limit who can service such devices?

The debate is particularly important for independent service providers and consumers who want to maintain and troubleshoot equipment on their own -- without running up additional supplier or certified partner costs. On the flip-side, device and equipment makers sometimes argue that the Right to Repair may actually lead to consumers causing more damage to devices.

The overall Right to Repair debate now extends worldwide -- and has implications far beyond traditional IT products. Indeed, Right to Repair has a lengthy history in the world of automobiles. It's also a hot-button issue for farmers and the agriculture market. And the topic may even influence commercial kitchen equipment repairs in fast-food chains.

Here's a timeline tracking Right to Repair debates, pending and rejected legislation, laws, technology company perspectives and more.

Right to Repair: 2022 Legislation and Milestones (So Far)

December 6, 2022: Apple is launching Self Service Repair in Europe. The service initially covers customers in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and the UK. Source: Apple.

August 22, 2022: Apple is expanding its Self Service Repair program to include some of its laptops, which means you’ll be able to do some repairs yourself, CNBC reported.

April 27, 2022 - Apple Self Service Repair: The Apple Self Service Repair Store launched in the United States and will expand to additional countries — beginning in Europe — later this year, the company said. The online store offers more than 200 individual parts and tools, "enabling customers who are experienced with the complexities of repairing electronic devices to complete repairs on the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 lineups and iPhone SE (3rd generation), such as the display, battery, and camera. Later this year the program will also include manuals, parts, and tools to perform repairs on Mac computers with Apple silicon," the company. To start the Self Service Repair process, Apple recommends that customers visit this link.

April 8, 2022 - Legislation - Nebraska Right to Repair: A bill in the Nebraska Legislature that would have provided farmers and independent repair shops with the necessary digital tools to repair agriculture equipment will not be voted on during the current session. Source: DTN.

April 8, 2022 - Google Pixel Right to Repair: Google announced more options to help consumers repair Pixel phones. Starting later this year, genuine Pixel spare parts will be available for purchase at for Pixel 2 through Pixel 6 Pro, as well as future Pixel models, in the U.S., UK, Canada, Australia and EU countries where Pixel is available. Source: Google.

April 8, 2022 - European Union Right to Repair: The European Union has taken a further step toward implementing Right to Repair laws, with the latest vote backing proposals regarding repairability, and adding a requirement that manufacturers increase the warranty periods. Source: AppleInsider.

April 8, 2022 - Legislation - Wheelchair Right to Repair: A right to repair bill could speed up powered wheelchair fixes. Source:

April 6, 2022 - Right to Repair Bionic Body Parts: Should the Right to Repair and associated laws extend to bionic body parts? Source: IEEE Spectrum.

March 31, 2022 - Right to Repair Samsung Galaxy Devices: Samsung Galaxy device owners will be able to take product repair into their own hands for Samsung’s Galaxy S20 and S21 family of products, and the Galaxy Tab S7+ beginning this summer. Samsung consumers will get access to genuine device parts, repair tools, and intuitive, visual, step-by-step repair guides. Samsung is collaborating with iFixit on this program. Source: Samsung Electronics America.

March 27, 2022 - Right to Repair Commercial Restaurant Equipment: Broken ice cream machines in McDonald's fast food restaurants ultimately triggered a Right to Repair lawsuit. Source: FindLaw.

March 23, 2022 - Right to Repair Lawsuit: A Massachusetts Right to Repair court case decision was delayed. Source: Tire Review.

March 21, 2022 - Right to Repair John Deere Farm Equipment John Deere announced expanded Right to Repair capabilities for customers. Farmers have complained that currently, they must call on Deere-certified technicians to do that work, effectively preventing them from making their own repairs. Sources: John Deere, Des Moines Register.

March 11, 2022 - Maryland Right to Repair Legislation: Maryland lawmakers rejected legislation that would increase farmers’ ability to fix their machinery. Source: Lancaster Farming.

March 10 2022 - Right to Repair - Grading Apple: The U.S. PIRG gave Apple an "F"grade in terms of iPhone repairability, alleging Apple makes it very difficult for users to repair their own devices. Source: Tech The Lead.

February 21, 2022 Right to Repair - Georgia Legislation: A Right to Repair bill received some some pushback at Georgia's state Capitol. Source: Local media.

February 3, 2022 - Right to Repair - U.S. Legislation: U.S. lawmakers introduced Right to Repair legislation to ensure consumers can get vehicles, electronic devices and agriculture equipment serviced by independent outlets. Source: Reuters.

January 25, 2022 - President Biden Supports Right to Repair: President Biden became the first U.S. president to extensively and formally back the Right to Repair movement. Source: ExtremeTech.

Right to Repair: 2021 Legislation and Milestones

November 17, 2021 - Apple Right to Repair: Apple announced Self Service Repair, which will provide customers with access to Apple genuine parts and tools. Available first for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 lineups, and soon to be followed by Mac computers featuring M1 chips, Self Service Repair will be available in early 2022 in the the US and expand to additional countries throughout 2022. Source: Apple.

October 7, 2021 - Microsoft Right to Repair: Microsoft agreed to take concrete steps to facilitate the independent repair of its devices following pressure from its shareholders. Source: Grist.

July 21, 2021 - FTC Right to Repair Vote: The FTC voted unanimously to enforce Right to Repair. Source: Wired.

July 9, 2021 - President Biden Right to Repair Executive Order: President Biden signed an executive order, asking the FTC to force tech companies to let consumers repair their own devices—or use the technician of their choice—instead of having to use authorized repair technicians. Source: Fortune.

May 3, 2021 - Right to Repair - Powerful Critics: Companies that contribute to lobbying efforts against Right to Repair are cumulatively worth about $10.7 trillion. Source: U.S. PIRG (Public Interest Research Group).

May 2021 - FTC Right to Repair Report: The FTC issued a report stating that it "stands ready to work with legislators, either at the state or federal level, in order to ensure that consumers have choices when they need to repair products that they purchase and own." Source: FTC.

Related IT Channel Conversations

August 2020: CompTIA President Todd Thibodeaux spoke with Podcaster Dave Sobel about lobbying, regulation and diversity initiatives. Here's the conversation:

Video link

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.