The environmental defense association HOP (Halte à l’Obsolescence Programmetée) is back in the fight against the tech giant Apple. After having the group sentenced in 2020 to a record fine of 25 million euros, HOP persists and signs by filing a new complaint on December 7 with the Public Prosecutor. In question this time: the serialization of spare parts adopted by the Apple brand.
Apple is now well known for its ultra-consumerist policy of hindering the repair of its devices. And the increasingly recognized practice of serialization of spare parts at the manufacturer only accentuates the trend.
What did it consist of? It is for Apple to associate the serial numbers of the characteristics and peripherals of a product with that of the iPhone via in particular microchips. “This practice has recently affected the parts most frequently subject to breakdowns (screens, battery, camera, etc.)”, underlines HOP in its press release. In other words, Apple can thus ensure that its devices cannot be repaired by unauthorized repairers.
This practice also raises the question for the reconditioning of devices, a practice that is nevertheless beneficial and aims to give a second life to products. Indeed, you should know that 4 million Apple smartphones are sold in France each year. However, nearly 80% of the environmental footprint of this type of equipment is produced during its manufacture. That is to say if the environmental issue is substantial.
Entrance to repair
“In many cases documented in the complaint, malfunctions are found in cases where the device is repaired with an identical and original part, not authorized by Apple software. These can also be disabled during an update (as in the recent case of a repaired touchscreen on an iPhone XR rendered unusable after the iOS 16 update). While a simple return to iOS15 can correct this failure.
So many practices that infringe the right to repair according to the association which provided a file of about sixty pages incriminating Apple.
“The malfunctions observed repeatedly, without information and without a solution provided to the consumer or the repairer, are not simple “bugs”. They aim to disadvantage independent repair or reconditioning, in favor of the sale of new smartphones or captive repair, at prices that are often dissuasive for the consumer.
While waiting for the verdict, we can already congratulate the association for this action which, probably, will be as successful as the previous one.