A consumer campaign called “The Right to Repair” fights for the right of people and companies to be able to fix their own electronic gadgets, even those made by Apple. The movement has received a lot of attention recently as a result of society’s growing reliance on technology and the expensive nature of repairs from authorised service facilities.
Apple has been making their products increasingly harder to repair and upgrade over the last 10 years. If you look at Apples laptop range between 2008 and 2012, these were modular and upgradable, parts were easily upgradable, most importantly the RAM & SSD, but even the other parts were relatively easily replaceable.
In contrast a 2022 MacBook has the RAM & SSD soldered to the motherboard, and the battery is glued in! So the spec you buy is the spec you are stuck with! Of course, it isn’t in Apple’s interest to design machines that last 10 years, they ideally want you to replace your machine every 2-3 years.
Along with Apple removing the ability to upgrade their products, they have made them harder for people like us to repair. We repair to component level, finding the chips that are faulty and thus enabling us to provide a repair at a cheaper cost than replacing the whole motherboard, for example.
Believe it or not, Apple doesn’t design particularly good motherboards, they also don’t use off-the-shelf chips. Not only that, they prevent those making the chips from selling to independent repair companies such as us. So if we want those chips, we have to harvest them from donor boards that we source.
No board at Infinite Loop is ever thrown away – everything has a use! It seems crazy to us that a MacBook should end up in a landfill for the sake of a £5 part.
What can you do?
The best thing you can do is to apply pressure on politicians to support the right to repair movement. The right to repair movement has made advances lately. Now Apple is providing parts such as batteries to UK consumers, but on the other hand, they are making their phone screens smart so that they know if they have been switched between phones and won’t work! So more action is needed. You can contact your MP via this website. A word about Google
While we are at it, can we talk about the anti-competitive practices of Google? About 6 years ago, the majority of our business came via Google AdWords. AdWords were great – you weren’t searching for MacBook repair
if your MacBook wasn’t broken! We would get about 60 machines a month come in via this method and it would cost us roughly £10 per machine, perfect! Sure, they prevented you from using Apple trademarks in your ad copy, a restriction that would be deemed fair use in any other form of traditional advertising, but let’s skip over that for a minute.
Then back in 2018, they introduced a new policy called the ‘third party technical support company’ policy. According to Google, there were too many ‘bad actors’ in this category that were scamming customers. Let’s ignore for a minute that many of these companies had hundreds of 5-star reviews from happy customers. Basically, this policy prevented companies like ours from advertising our services via Google AdWords.
It is ok though, they promised that legitimate companies could apply and be added to an approved list and they would be able to advertise. This scheme has never materialised and Google clearly has no intention of introducing it.
Let’s be clear about this – this policy had nothing to do with protecting consumers, and everything to do with protecting big tech companies like Apple. Members of Apple’s board sit on Google’s board and vice versa. Apple doesn’t want anyone repairing their devices other than themselves, and this is what this policy is all about. This is clearly monopolistic practice and is a clear indication that Google has too much power over businesses.
There were many companies that were 100% reliant on Google AdWords for their business and this revenue stream was stripped away overnight.