French customers can now see repairability scores and other related information for both the iPhone and MacBook products when browsing their product pages in the online store. This unexpected but welcome change is required by companies like Apple to conform with the country’s new anti-waste legislation that went into effect on January 1, 2021.


STORY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Apple is complying with French law designed to reduce waste.
  • The repairability scores are listed out of 10.
  • Apple provides these scores for standard product configurations.
  • Build-to-order configurations currently lack repairability scores.

An image showing an iPhone 12 mini being torn apart

Complying with French law

The Verge passes a report by MacGeneration explaining the scores take into account features like how easily a device can be disassembled and the availability of repair manuals and spare parts. Le Monde says Samsung now offers an online repair guide for the Galaxy S21 Plus in France in an attempt to boost its repairability score vs. the previous model.

Apple doesn’t pull these scores out of thin air. Rather, the repairability index is calculated by following strict criteria and guidelines outlined in a French-language webpage on Apple’s website. The fine print states that the company is simply complying with French law that aims to reduce waste and promote the development of a circular economy.

As an example, the current iPhone 12 models are listed with a repairability score of six out of ten. By comparison, the previous-generation iPhone 11 models are listed with a repairability score of 4.5 out of 10. This means that the latest phones are easier to dismantle than the previous year’s models. In other words, a higher repairability score is good for both the consumer and the environment.

Scores for MacBooks range from 5.6 to 7.

Fighting for the right to repair gadgets

Companies that produce and sell smartphones, laptops, televisions, washing machines and lawnmowers are required to comply with France’s anti-waste legislation until 2022 or begin facing fines. The EU last year voted in favor of right-to-repair rules, laying the groundwork for a fairer system in which companies would be required to provide information to consumers on the estimated lifetime and reparability of a product at the time of purchase.

While the repair-to-right rules are yet to be rolled out across the whole European Union, Apple may be softening its stance on repair laws across nearly two dozen US states—internal document has revealed that Apple is now providing more repair companies the components and diagnostic software.

Image credit: iPhone 12 mini teardown via iFixit