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A French environmental group has filed a complaint against Apple because the company restricts the use of “non-approved” parts in iPhone repairs.
The complaint concerns a practice Apple uses for its devices called pairing. It links component serial numbers to a specific iPhone to make sure replacement parts are genuine.
The Halte L'Obsolescence Programmee (HOP) says Apple is restricting repairs, especially from unauthorized repair providers. In some of the cases documented in the complaint, faults were found when the device was repaired using a non-Apple approved part.
As an example, the group mentions that the iOS 16 update made the iPhone XR unusable due to the touchscreen fix.
“If Apple wants to prevent self-repair and recovery development, justice must prevent these anachronistic, irresponsible and illegal actions,” said Samuel Sauvage, co-founder of the association.
In a similar case filed with the French Consumer Protection Authority, Apple agreed to pay 25 million euros ($26.32 million) to slow down some older iPhones with a dead battery to prevent crashes. This has resulted in dozens of lawsuits, an official apology from Apple, and an inexpensive battery replacement program.
According to a Reuters report, French law prohibits intentionally shortening a product's life to increase its replacement rate. However, it is not clear how this happens when the parts are connected.
In April 2022, Apple launched a self-repair program in the US, which created a dedicated store for ordering official iPhone parts.
In early December, the program expanded to eight European countries, including France. The self-service store includes over 200 parts, tools and manuals — and, if necessary, includes pairing of parts.