Released by the US Public Research Interest Group’s Education Fund, the report creates a scorecard for the most popular phone and laptop manufacturers.
Microsoft and Apple’s laptops score a D, as did Google’s smartphones, while Apple’s iPhone’s received a failing grade. Samsung came out best of the major tech giants for their smartphones, receiving a C; however, Dell, Asus, Lenovo, Acer, and HP all received higher marks for their laptops, while Motorola scored higher for its phones.
In order to grade manufacturers, the US PIRG Education Fund partnered with iFixit to use French repair scores across 187 devices. The grades reflect the ability to get access to repair materials and a company’s record of lobbying against Right to Repair legislation.
“Dell ranked highest for the ease to disassembly, despite Lenovo recording the best overall scores in the French index. Microsoft devices are much more physically repairable than their French scores might lead you to believe”, Nathan Proctor, senior right to repair campaign director, wrote, but added that access to Microsoft’s parts and documents were limited, lowering its score.
“Apple lost the greatest number of points for their active lobbying against Right to Repair and support for other trade groups who are most visible in opposition, with Microsoft also losing points for direct lobbying.”
For smartphones, Apple and Google were marked down “due to their engagement in opposing repair-friendly legislation”, while Samsung and Motorola’s A series and Moto range, respectively, scored higher.
The Independent has reached out to the companies for comment.
The right to repair movement – which allows users to fix their own devices – is growing across the Atlantic. A law facilitating right to repair was unanimously backed in the US in July, while the EU has made it easier for consumers to repair white goods.
In October last year, Microsoft said it would study the increasing access to parts and information needed to repair and will act on the findings by the end of 2022.
“We’ve seen shareholder resolutions become a significant tool for climate activists,” Kerry Sheehan, the US policy director at the repair guide site iFixit, said at the time. “We’re seeing it get adopted in the repair context as well in part because these are very connected.”
Other companies, such as Apple, have taken a mixed stance against the legislation. It has argued that allowing people to open up and fix their own devices would pose a danger as well as hampering its own designs.
However, it later offered a Self Service Repair program that allows customers to buy genuine Apple parts and tools, as well as the instructions required to use them, when they need to fix their own phones.
Many people threw away or replaced a broken device only because they were either unable to repair it themselves or because a professional repair was expensive or impossible.