Apple opposes ‘Right to Repair’ bill in Oregon

The dispute over parts pairing highlights a fundamental tension between manufacturer control over repair ecosystems and consumer demands for greater autonomy over their devices.

 Electronics, Mobile Phone, Phone

Apple is actively lobbying against Oregon’s proposed right-to-repair legislation, marking a departure from its support for similar measures, such as the one in California. The primary bone of contention lies in the concept of ‘parts pairing’, a practice that the Oregon bill aims to outlaw. Parts pairing involves linking repair components to specific devices, necessitating authorization from Apple or certified repair facilities before they can be utilized. This effectively prohibits aftermarket replacement parts and prevents the transfer of parts between iPhones without proper approval.

During a public hearing, John Perry—Apple’s principal secure repair architect—contended that the inclusion of parts pairing restrictions in the bill could jeopardize Oregonians’ security, safety, and privacy. He asserted that parts pairing isn’t meant to impede repairs but rather to ensure devices’ secure and optimal functioning following repair work.

In contrast to the Oregon bill, the California legislation allows for parts pairing—a bill which is supported by Apple. The tech giant maintains that parts pairing is essential for device security and the safe operation of critical components.

However, critics contend that it diminishes consumer choice and control over the repair process. The Oregon bill seeks to facilitate easier and more cost-effective device repairs by mandating manufacturers supply necessary tools and parts to owners and independent repair providers.

Why does it matter?

Apple’s lobbying against Oregon’s right-to-repair bill underscores a shift in its stance on repairability legislation and raises questions about the balance between device security and consumer rights. In addition, competition between tech companies with differing approaches to reparability and its legislation (read: Apple and Google) could lead to a further rift between electronic device producers.