Apple has begun adding repairability advice to its product listings in France. The move follows legislation changes that force some companies to display a repairability index on any website that sells their products.
The introduction of repairability scores aims to reduce electronic waste, helping consumers make better-informed decisions about the hardware they purchase and the likelihood of repair should it break or become damaged.
Apple Displays Repair Score on French Websites
The repairability scores on the Apple website appear after you finalize your selection. For example, if you head to the iPhone 12 store listing, the repairability score appears after selecting a storage size and color for the phone.
Currently, the iPhone 12 receives a 6/10 rating for repairability. The score is similar to the repair rating found on iFixit, the leading site for user repair guides. The manufacturer provides the scores to the French government, which vets the scores according to its guidelines.
However, while this is a positive move, some critics believe that allowing manufacturers to self-report will lead to misreporting. They suggest that each report must be verified before publication. Otherwise, hardware manufacturers can and will manipulate the repairability scores.
France Pushes the Right to Repair For Consumers
The appearance of the repair scores for Apple products isn’t entirely unexpected.
In December 2020, the French government voted to introduce an index of repairability for consumer tech appliances, covering hardware such as smartphones, tablets, TVs, washing machines, lawnmowers, and other electronics.
The right to repair rules came into force in January 2021 and require companies selling electronic hardware in France to inform the consumer as to how easy (or not!) a piece of hardware is to repair.
So far, it has been a mixed response. Hardware manufacturers are grappling with the idea of providing information on the inner workings of their hardware. The right to repair ruling requires companies to provide manuals, information on spare parts, and even assistance with repair.
Currently, companies have one year to comply with the right to repair rules. After this period, companies that fail to provide repairability scores and information on repairs could face fines of up to €15,000.
The rollout of such a scheme is a world-first and will push tech companies to be more open about their products’ sustainability, which can only be a good thing for consumers.