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French law forces Apple to reveal some intimate iPhone details

Apple is now posting the repairability scores for its iPhone and MacBook products in order to comply with French law.

The independently adjudicated scores, posted for all currently available smartphone and laptop models, are available on an Apple Support page in France and summarised on the actual product page.

So, French consumers are able to check on how fixable the iPhone 12 Pro Max is, for example, before hitting the buy button. That particular handset has an overall repairability score of 6/10, but shoppers can also look at all aspects of the phone. The new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Apple’s M1 chip only has a 5.6 out of 10 score.

Related: Best iPhone

We wouldn’t expect the practice to be repeated elsewhere, but it’s interesting given the discussion around the repairability of Apple’s products, which has raged for years.

For the longest time, Apple tightly guarded who could repair an iPhone without voiding the warranty. Only Apple or one of its authorised service providers could handle the repair using official parts, if users wished to hang on to their warranties. However, many felt the practice was discriminatory against those who needed to find more affordable ways of repairing broken screens or replacing ageing batteries.

In 2009, Apple was criticised for telling iPhone users their battery required a service if an unofficial battery was installed, or if an official battery was installed outside of the Apple repair ecosystem. The company defended the practice, saying it wanted the replacements done properly.

In a statement, the company said: “We take the safety of our customers very seriously and want to make sure any battery replacement is done properly. There are now over 1,800 Apple authorized service providers across the United States so our customers have even more convenient access to quality repairs.

“Last year we introduced a new feature to notify customers if we were unable to verify that a new, genuine battery was installed by a certified technician following Apple repair processes. This information is there to help protect our customers from damaged, poor quality, or used batteries which can lead to safety or performance issues. This notification does not impact the customer’s ability to use the phone after an unauthorised repair.”

Later in 2019, Apple revealed it would finally allow iPhones to be repaired at independent third-party stores.

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