I Won’t Buy Another iPhone Until Apple Supports Right to Repair
Why one longtime Apple fan is giving up on the company
I have been a loyal Apple customer since 2003, when I met the woman who became my wife. When Abigail and I got together, she had an iMac, a blue bubble of a thing that looked cutting-edge for its day. I have fond memories of staying up late into the night, buzzing on whatever substances, typing my undergraduate senior thesis into its glowing azure modernity. The future was then. That iMac was followed by iPods, MacBook Pros, iPads, iPhones, and various iWhatsits and iThingamajigs.
During my long relationship with its products, Apple often did things that frustrated me. I thought their efforts to prevent music copying by putting Digital Rights Management controls on music purchased through iTunes — a practice discontinued in 2009 — was insane and near-authoritarian. The company’s penchant for changing the ports on its devices seemingly just to get its customers to buy new dongles and adaptors was maddening. And I find the iPad’s “sandboxed” nature — in which apps can only access their own data, not data from other apps — needlessly and annoyingly controlling, especially when combined with the company’s drive to keep devices constantly and exclusively tied to its App Store. These frustrations never mounted to the point that I decided to leave behind my iStuff though.
During my long relationship with its products, Apple often did things that frustrated me.
I am one of three co-directors of The Maintainers, a global, interdisciplinary network that draws attention to the importance of maintenance, repair, and the ordinary work that keeps our world going. Initially, my efforts with the network focused on infrastructure and the workers we call “maintainers” — the people who repair and sustain society, who go unrecognized and are often too poorly compensated. But more and more, I started to think about the way maintenance impacts our private lives—including whether we can repair our property.
Manufacturers often construct technological and legal barriers to prevent consumers and independent technicians from fixing their products. Repair restrictions can take many forms…