At the request of the House Judiciary Committee, Apple turned over last week internal communications on the “Right to Repair”—revealing Apple’s seemingly united position on repair is really an internal debate, rife with uncertainty.   

Last year, while Apple continued to aggressively sue a one-man repair shop all the way to Norway’s Supreme Court and fight Right to Repair bills across the US, company emails reveal more divisions than we could have guessed. In one memo from March 2019, Apple’s Director of Corporate Communications asks, “What’s our repair strategy?”.

She goes on to ask “Do we believe it’s important to get ahead of any additional regulations about repair options in Europe…?“

We’re not surprised. We knew the industry and Apple had been lobbying behind the scenes in Brussels against Right to Repair regulations. This is why we launched the #LongLiveMyPhone campaign and petition earlier this year which has reached more than 26.000 signatures. 

And it seems the European Commission is listening. As European Right to Repair member Ernestas Oldyrevas puts it:

“After hesitation, the European Commission is taking steps to make our smartphones last longer and be easier to repair. An exploratory study underway this year will pave the way for a whole set of ambitious new requirements on more environmentally-friendly design of smartphones. Meanwhile, rules on battery replaceability – not only of smartphones but also other electronic devices – are expected in October.

Apple may be confused about repair, but we are clear: only good regulation can ensure longer-lasting, repairable smartphones and computers. We suggest Apple accept that it’s going to happen and plan accordingly.”

Read our member Ifixit’s analysis and the original emails here.

Image by Mark Phillips