Apple Says Used iPhone Parts Will Be Permitted in Device Repairs, Unless They Are Stolen

Apple, in a press release that does not once contain either of the words “Oregon” or “regulation”:

Today Apple announced an upcoming enhancement to existing repair processes that will enable customers and independent repair providers to utilize used Apple parts in repairs. Beginning with select iPhone models this fall, the new process is designed to maintain an iPhone user’s privacy, security, and safety, while offering consumers more options, increasing product longevity, and minimizing the environmental impact of a repair. Used genuine Apple parts will now benefit from the full functionality and security afforded by the original factory calibration, just like new genuine Apple parts.

Apple goes on to say that parts calibration will soon be done on-device, and goes further to provide a genuinely good use of pairing: if parts are scavenged from iPhones with Activation Lock enabled, they will be “restricted” in some way.

This all sounds pretty great and, it would seem, entirely triggered by regulatory changes. But it also seems to me that it is designed to challenge the parts pairing section of Oregon’s right-to-repair law (PDF). Specifically, this portion:

(b) For consumer electronic equipment that is manufactured for the first time, and first sold or used in this state, after January 1, 2025, an original equipment manufacturer may not use parts pairing to:


(B) Reduce the functionality or performance of consumer electronic equipment; […]

A clause a little later in the same section does not oblige manufacturers to “make available special documentation, tools, parts or other devices or implements that would disable or override, without an owner’s authorization, anti-theft” features set by the device owner. It looks like the total meaning of the law is that Apple’s anti-theft features would be prohibited in Oregon because doing so would reduce their functionality. That is my non-lawyer reading, anyway: it creates an understandable reason for pairing, and grounds for Apple to fight it. Just a guess, but I bet this comes up later.