We have groundbreaking news that marks a significant milestone in the Right to Repair movement. In an unprecedented move, Apple has officially endorsed Senator Susan Talamantes Eggman’s Right to Repair Bill in California. This endorsement comes on the heels of intense lobbying battles over the past few years that halted the bill behind the scenes, primarily due to resistance from Apple and other manufacturers.
What’s New This Year?
This year’s bill, known as SB 244, enhances California’s warranty law and secures Californians’ right to fix a wide range of consumer electronics and home appliances. The bill would require manufacturers to provide parts, tools, and repair diagnostics necessary for both consumers and third-party repair providers to fix products, opening up a competitive repair market that is cheaper for consumers and better for the planet.
iFixit’s CEO Kyle Wiens said, “Apple’s endorsement of the Right to Repair Bill in California is a watershed moment for consumer rights. It feels like the Berlin Wall of tech repair monopolies is starting to crumble, brick by brick.”
Critically, California’s bill goes farther than laws that passed in Minnesota and New York, by setting a term for availability of parts and updates. For products that cost between $50 and $99.99, parts, tools, and documentation will have to be available in California for three years after the last date of product manufacture. For products costing over $99.99, repair materials will have to be available for seven years. These terms will ensure that manufacturers can’t drop product repair support at the end of a product’s warranty period.
The bill also has a different mechanism of enforcement. Instead of being enforced solely by the state attorney general, SB 244 would allow a city, county, or the state to bring a case in superior court. Those cases will be funded by a fine on any manufacturer caught violating the law: $1000 per day for the first violation, $2000 per day for the second, and $5000 per day for the third and subsequent violations.
Even before Apple’s endorsement, SB 244 moved further in the legislature than any previous Right to Repair bill in California. Senator Eggman has been working on the issue since 2018, including bills focused on consumer electronics, medical devices, and appliances. None of these bills have previously crossed from one legislative chamber to another—until this year. Winning the endorsement of the LA Times editorial board, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, and the Los Angeles Unified School District, the bill passed the Senate 38–0 and has been sailing through the Assembly unopposed.
Next week, it will have its final hearing, in the Assembly Appropriations committee. If it passes that committee, the bill goes to the Assembly floor, which is the final legislative hurdle before the governor’s signature. (Unlike in New York, California’s governor cannot make major changes to a bill once it has passed the legislature.)
Apple’s Change of Heart
Apple’s endorsement is a critical victory for consumer rights and sustainability. It paves the way for a more competitive market, giving consumers the freedom to have their electronic products fixed by a repair shop or service provider of their choice.
Apple has a long track record of opposing this environmental legislation, going so far as telling lawmakers in Nebraska that Right to Repair legislation would turn the state into a “Mecca for Hackers.” This not only makes repairs more affordable but also encourages consumers to repair, not replace, their devices—reducing e-waste, which Californians are generating at a rate of 54 pounds per second.
iFixit’s Director of Sustainability, Liz Chamberlain, said, “It’s not just about providing parts and tools for repairs; it’s about empowering consumers to make environmentally responsible choices. Right to Repair has been building momentum in Big Tech’s backyard. It’s about time Apple opens the front door.”
Right to Repair Has Been Building Momentum
In the last year, three US states have passed Right to Repair legislation: New York passed a bill covering consumer electronics, Colorado passed bills covering powered wheelchairs and farm equipment, and Minnesota passed a bill covering electronics and appliances.
Meanwhile, in the EU, legislators continue to work toward expanding the Right to Repair ecodesign regulations they passed in 2019, which currently cover appliances and will soon cover smartphones and tablets. Another piece of EU legislation will require that manufacturers of all kinds of portable products make batteries user-replaceable by 2027.
Manufacturers cannot continue to fight this momentum—as evidenced by Apple’s endorsement.
While Apple’s change of heart is a significant win, the battle is far from over. Challenges remain, particularly around issues like parts pairing, availability of calibration tools, and allowing repair tools to function in rural areas without an internet connection.
Like the similar bills in Minnesota and New York, the California bill exempts video game consoles, due to a powerful video game lobby.
These are issues that we need to continue to fight for in California and other states.
If you’re a California resident, your support can make a real difference. Just enter your zip code at california.repair.org to be directed to your local representative.
This is an exciting time for everyone who believes in the Right to Repair. Let’s use this momentum to drive change, not just in California, but across the nation.