What is Right to Repair

You might have heard about a movement called “Right to Repair”, but what is it?  This is something that has gained significant traction in recent years and has come about primarily from smartphone and laptops that just couldn’t be repaired because the cases and/or components were glued in place, and it was very difficult if not impossible to remove components without breaking them.

There were also concerns raised about third-party repair companies being refused spare parts by laptop and smartphone manufacturers, and not being allowed to have schematics and repair guides.

It doesn’t stop there however as Right to Repair also covers software issues, with one example being John Deere tractors needing a callout from an official engineer to perform an action as simple as resetting a switch in software.  Additionally Right to Repair has reached major corporations with McDonalds having ongoing arguments with the company that provides and maintains their ice cream machines.

As defined by Wikipedia, There are four requirements hardware manufacturers must comply with for a device to comply with Right to Repair.

  1. The device should be constructed and designed in a manner that allows repairs to be made easily
  2. End users and independent repair providers should be able to access original spare parts and tools (software as well as physical tools) needed to repair the device at fair market conditions
  3. Repairs should be possible by design and not hindered by software programming
  4. The repairability of a device should be clearly communicated by the manufacturer

More and more laptop and smartphone manufacturers are beginning to comply with Right to Repair.  Meaning that they are releasing to repair companies around the world, servicing guides for their devices, and allowing them (and sometimes even the general public) to purchase spare parts.  They are also starting to release hardware where components are screwed into place instead of being glued there.

Right to Repair is definitely something to consider when you are next looking to purchase a smartphone, laptop, or tablet.  You can look on the manufacturer’s website or search online for their right to repair policy.

I also recommend you visit the iFixIt website where they have much more information on Right to Repair, but they also give repairability guides and scores to new hardware as it is released, helping us all to make smarter, and much better informed choices.

Learn how to make your computer and smartphone use more environmentally friendly and sustainable with Mike Halsey’s book “The Green IT Guide“, now on sale from Apress, Amazon, and all good book sellers..

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