If you follow iFixit’s teardowns of iPhones and MacBooks, then you know Apple’s devices aren’t exactly famous for their repairability. And now a new French law will require Apple to be more transparent about how easy or difficult it is to have its products repaired.
First spotted by French site MacGeneration, Apple has begun complying with a law that requires smartphone makers to post a repairability index on products sold in the country. The score is determined by the manufacturer and adheres to a set of strict criteria:
Access to documentation
Disassembly (how easy it is to take apart)
Availability of spare parts
Price of spare parts (compared to buying new)
Access to software updates, free technical support, and the ability to reset the software
Companies are required to fill out a support sheet that includes a breakdown and explanation of the score, which is available for consumers to read (in French). France’s Fraud Prevention Directorate and Ministry of Ecological Transition will then review the scores and certify them for publication.
Apple hasn’t updated all of its products, but the iPhone 12 Pro has a score of 6.0 out of 10 while the M1 MacBook Air has a score of 6.5. By comparison, iFixit also gave the iPhone 12 a 6 out of 10, but only gave the 13-inch MacBook Pro a 1 in 2019, albeit using different criteria.
While it’s unlikely that a similar system would ever be adopted in the U.S., the French law could have wide-reaching effects. Any changes Apple makes to the iPhone to boost its French repairability score will presumably also affect models in other countries.
Michael Simon has been covering Apple since the iPod was the iWalk. His obsession with technology goes back to his first PC—the IBM Thinkpad with the lift-up keyboard for swapping out the drive. He's still waiting for that to come back in style tbh.