Smartphone Makers Expand 'Right to Repair' for Consumers | Be Korea-savvy

Smartphone Makers Expand ‘Right to Repair’ for Consumers

Apple announced that certain iPhone models can now be repaired using recycled components. (Image courtesy of Apple)

Apple announced that certain iPhone models can now be repaired using recycled components. (Image courtesy of Apple)

SEOUL, Apr. 15 (Korea Bizwire) — Major smartphone manufacturers are taking steps to grant consumers greater “right to repair” their devices amidst growing demands. 

On April 11, Apple announced that certain iPhone models can now be repaired using recycled components. Previously, iPhone users had to undergo “part pairing” when self-repairing their devices, only allowing parts that matched the serial number to be used. 

If non-matching or used parts were installed, notifications would appear stating the components could not be verified. Certain features might not function even after part replacements. Apple had also faced criticism for its notoriously high repair costs. 

To address these issues, Apple will remove notifications related to used parts and no longer require providing serial numbers when ordering replacement components from repair shops. This move is expected to reduce overall repair expenses for users. 

The policy applies to the iPhone 15 and newer models. Additionally, Apple’s Activation Lock anti-theft feature, which prevents stolen iPhones from being used, will extend to individual components as well.

These changes align with the “right to repair” concept – allowing consumers to fix their own products and modify them as desired. Europe enacted related legislation in 2020, while the U.S. administration instructed electronics manufacturers to improve repair restrictions in 2021.

New York also implemented its Digital Fair Repair Act in December 2022, with other states likely to follow.

The trend towards device self-repair is projected to grow internationally, bolstered by rising ESG standards – prompting Apple’s embrace of part pairing removal and used component support.

However, in South Korea, iPhone users still cannot replace parts themselves, raising questions about the policy’s effectiveness locally.

Samsung Electronics is also expanding its self-repair program. After introducing it in the U.S. in August 2022, the service has extended to South Korea, Europe, and Latin America.

Models eligible for self-repair currently include the Galaxy S20, S21, S22 series, foldable Galaxy Z Flip5, Galaxy Z Fold5, Galaxy S23 series, S23 FE, Galaxy Tab S9 tablets, Tab A9+, Galaxy Book2 Pro, and Book2 Pro 360 laptops. 

Consumers interested in self-repair can access repair manuals and video guides on Samsung’s service website. After replacing parts, they can use the Self-Repair Assistant app to optimize new components and run self-diagnostics to check repair status.

“While self-repair demand may be lower in South Korea due to our extensive service network compared to Europe or the U.S., the program is necessary to uphold the right to repair and expand consumer choice,” explained a Samsung official.

“In addition to service centers, self-repair allows users to freely conduct repairs at their convenience while broadening their service options.”

Kevin Lee (

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