Apple Prioritizes Longevity Over Repairability. It Justified Its Decision in a 24-Page Document

In a recent white paper, Apple unveils improved device repairability and defends longevity as being more desirable.

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Apple has released a white paper emphasizing the longevity of its devices and announcing the extension of its self-repair program–which was previously only available in the U.S.–to Europe.

In the 24-page document, the company details the “Longevity, by Design” approach it takes with its products.

Why this matters. With this move, Apple seeks to balance durability and repairability in its products, prioritizing longevity without sacrificing safety or performance. It reflects a shift in the company’s focus toward greater sustainability and repair accessibility.

Apple’s shift has been gradual and has been in progress for some time. It definitely aligns better with the company’s sustainable approach compared to when it was virtually impossible to do any repairs on its devices without having to take them to official support teams, where prices could be a deterrent.

Key points:

  • Apple has extended its Self Service Repair program to 32 European countries.
  • The company will improve its support for third-party components in iPhones, such as screens and batteries.
  • The tech giant defends “parts pairing” as a safety measure, not as a way to limit repairs.

Some context. For years, Apple has faced criticism for how difficult it was to repair its devices. More recently, the company has taken steps to improve repairability, including allowing repairs with used parts.

This decision was partly influenced by sustainability concerns outlined in its public declaration of values and the growing right-to-repair movement.

A closer look. Apple contends that prioritizing longevity over repairability is better for sustainability. It uses the example of the iPhone charging port to illustrate its point:

“Making the charging port individually replaceable would require additional components… that increase the carbon emissions required to manufacture each device. The higher manufacturing carbon emissions are only justified if the charging port requires replacement in at least 10% of devices. In fact, the actual service rate was below 0.1%.”

Apple’s choice is likened to the old dilemma of buying a durable car that’s hard to repair versus a less robust one that’s easy to fix. The company argues that choosing durability is ultimately better for the environment and for users.

The figures (according to Apple):

  • The iPhone retains at least 40% more value in the second-hand market when compared to Android phones.
  • Hundreds of millions of iPhones have been in use for more than five years.
  • Out-of-warranty repairs decreased by 38% between 2015 and 2022.

Repairs for accidental damage to the iPhone decreased by 44% since the introduction of improvements to the iPhone 7 in 2016.

Some perspective. Apple’s focus on longevity represents a significant shift in the technology industry. By prioritizing durability and gradually improving repairability, the company seeks a balance between sustainability, security, and user experience.

Image | Apple

Related | The European Commission Opens Another Investigation into Apple. The Goal: To See if iOS Is Complying With New Laws

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