The modern-day smartphone is, by and large, a highly integrated piece of circuitry and precise engineering to maximize components in the least amount of space. Part of this comes from dropping unnecessary ports and access panels. Back in 2007, the Apple iPhone was one of the first smartphones to ship with a non-removable battery. In the fourteen years since then, a removable battery has become a rare unicorn reserved for bespoke-use smartphones like rugged handsets. The fact of the matter is, repairs and replacements are inconvenient enough that most manufacturers would rather have you purchase a new phone than get it repaired. In fact, these repairs can often be so expensive that it might just make more sense to upgrade to a newer model. The right to repair movement challenges that.
The right to repair movement isn’t new, but it has never been this relevant.
The right to repair movement isn’t new. Across industries, enthusiasts have been long been championing affordable repairs, sustainability, and the right to combat planned obsolescence. A classic example is of John Deere tractors where even the most basic repairs were locked behind software blocks. Farmers have since resorted to ridiculous means like hacking the tractor’s software to perform these repairs. In 2018, the tractor manufacturer promised to make it easier to repair the heavy machinery, in a bid to bypass an overarching right-to-repair law. It still hasn’t held up its promise.