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Apple reportedly warning of consumer injury associated with Right to Repair bill

The company is putting forward an argument against the California legislation, based on consumer safety, Motherboard reports.

A new bill in the California legislature may make it easier for consumers to get their devices repaired.
James Martin/CNET

An Apple representative is warning California lawmakers that they should reject legislation designed to make it easier for consumers to repair their own electronics, because the consumers might wind up hurting themselves, Motherboard reported Tuesday.

California's Right to Repair bill would require manufacturers of electronics to make repair information, diagnostic tools and service parts available to device owners and independent repair shops. Assembly Bill 1163 was introduced in March by California State Assembly member Susan Talamantes Eggman, who introduced a similar bill last year.

"The Right to Repair will provide consumers with the freedom to have their electronic products and appliances fixed by a repair shop or service provider of their choice, creating a competitive market that will be cheaper for consumers and reduce the number of devices thrown in the trash," Eggman, a Democrat from Stockton, said in a statement.

Several states have introduced similar legislation in recent years to ease the process of repairing broken electronics. But many tech giants have opposed such efforts. To protect against intellectual property theft, they've created rigid rules that forbid fiddling with hardware or software.

Proponents say right to repair laws would benefit consumers and the environment alike by ensuring devices last longer, thus reducing electronic waste.

But Apple's representative and a lobbyist from the tech trade group CompTIA have shown lawmakers the internal components of an iPhone, Motherboard reports. They told lawmakers that consumers trying to repair their own handset could hurt themselves by puncturing the lithium-ion battery, anonymous sources told Motherboard.

However, there have been signs things may be changing. An internal Apple presentation from last year, leaked to Motherboard, details how the iPhone maker plans to allow outside technicians access to diagnostic apps and more parts for its devices. The result, according to the report, would be that owners of Apple devices wouldn't have to send their gadget to the company's repair centers for complex work.

Apple and CompTIA didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.