Apple unveils iPhone and Mac Repairability Index

Apple is one of the very first manufacturers to display the repairability index of its products, in particular that of iPhone and Macs, as required by law since January 1, 2021. There is no indication that competing manufacturers will be so responsive .

iPhone repairability index
Credit: DR

Since January 1, 2021, the display of a repairability index is mandatory for certain electrical and electronic products thanks to the so-called law “Anti-waste for a circular economy”. Smartphones and laptops are among the first products concerned. In fact, even if this obligation is in force, most manufacturers still do not display any index of repairability on their site.

We looked in vain for small labels on the site of Dell, Asus, Lenovo, HP … almost none of the biggest computer manufacturers in the world has yet to comply with the law. To their credit, many distributors are also slow to display this index.

Read also: Europe could introduce a right to repair smartphones from 2021

Compulsory since January 1, 2021, the repairability index remains, on the whole, for absent subscribers

Repairability indices

According to our tests, we do not find this badge either at Fnac-Darty, or at Boulanger, or on the site of major retailers like E.Leclerc. It appears that it will take some time for the repairability assessment of these products to take place. The calculation of the repairability index for each device is based on five criteria:

  • Presence of adapted documentation : score determined by the producer’s commitment to make technical documents available free of charge and over the period of time to repairers and consumers
  • Easy to dismantle, access, tools, fasteners: score determined by the ease of disassembly of the product, the type of tools required and the characteristics of the fasteners
  • Availability of spare parts : score determined by the commitment of the producer on the period of availability of spare parts and the time of their delivery
  • Price of spare parts : score determined by the ratio between the sale price of spare parts and the price of the product.
  • Other specific criteria : score determined by sub-criteria specific to the product category concerned

Find out the ratings given to iPhones and Macs

macbook air repairability index
MacBook Air Variant Repairability Index

Manufacturers can therefore not give any rating to their device. A precise scale is available on the website of the Ministry of Ecology. However, you will have understood it by reading the title of this article: Apple now displays the repairability index of its products. It is even one of the first to do so – we did not expect so much from Apple, which is not so well known for promoting the repairability of its devices.

We thus discover that the iPhone 12 (all models) have a repairability rating of 6/10. The MacBook Air M1 scores a 6.5 / 10 rating while the MacBook Pro M1 has a surprisingly lower rating of 5.6 / 10. Which is much worse than the older 16 ″ Intel Macs who have a score of 6.3 / 10. What is interesting is that it is possible to consult the precise detail of the evaluations which explain this repairability rating. It should nevertheless be noted that everything has not yet been noted on the Apple site. Among other things, we are curious to know the score of products that are almost impossible to open without destroying them.

Manufacturers and distributors have a de facto suspension until 2022 before risking sanctions

IPhone Repair
Credit: Unsplash

And there are a few: AirPods 1 and 2, AirPods Pro and AirPods Max, all Apple TV models, the Apple Pro XDR display and of course the Apple Watch. Although for this last product we can note thatit is still possible to open it without destroying it provided you have the right tools on hand and a certain know-how.

We are also surprised that Apple was not in a hurry to note the Mac Pro: we imagine a rating close to 10/10 since everything can be replaced by the user. However, we think that the rest of the notes should quickly appear on the French site of the Apple Store. It remains to be seen when the rest of the tech world will also be able to display these clues..

For now, and during the first year, no sanction is foreseen in the event that manufacturers and distributors do not offer this index to their customers. Of sanctions (the nature of which is not yet specified) could be applied from 2022. Therefore we can only salute the Cupertino company on its responsiveness, since it is currently an example in France on this issue of repairability.

Update 14:01 – In a first version of this article we mentioned Microsoft and Samsung among the manufacturers who do not yet display the repairability index. In the meantime, we have noticed that the buttons are indeed present on some of the Samsung and Microsoft products, and have therefore modified this article accordingly.

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