Surprise: Apple’s Vision Pro Gets an ‘F’ for Repairability

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It probably isn’t all that shocking that Apple’s Vision Pro is the least repairable device the company makes. However, it seems the US Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) has made that official, scoring it at the bottom of a list of 21 popular consumer products.

The PIRG Education Fund released the report this week in light of New York State’s Right to Repair laws for consumer electronics. New York was the first state to introduce broad legislation forcing companies to make their devices easier to repair for end users. PIRG decided to take a closer look at some of the products covered under the legislation and see how well they’ve complied.

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The results are a pretty mixed bag. Under New York’s Right to Repair rules, manufacturers must provide end users and independent repair shops with full access to the same parts, tools, and service manuals used for first-party repairs. So, PIRG looked at 21 popular devices the laws apply to and scored how well they complied in each category.

In this report, we identified 21 devices covered by New York’s new law. The devices include laptops and computers, tablets, VR headsets, smart phones, gaming consoles, and digital cameras. We then graded these devices based on the quality and accessibility of repair manuals, spare parts and other critical repair materials. US Public Interest Research Group

As PIRG notes, some products are excluded because they’re “unfixable by design.” For example, the law doesn’t require Apple to share repair materials for AirPods because Apple doesn’t actually repair these — it just discards and replaces them. That’s something else PIRG has a problem with, but it’s separate from the Right to Repair issue.

The 21-device roundup included Apple laptops and other brands like HP, Dell, Acer, and Microsoft; the iPhone and competing smartphones from Samsung, Google, and Motorola; and the Apple Vision Pro and Meta Quest 3. Several cameras were also on the list.

Each device was given two scores from 0 to 10 each, with the first reflecting the ease of accessing service manuals and the second representing how easily parts can be obtained for the device. For example, a company that makes its service manuals easily downloadable from its website would score higher than one that requires a person to contact customer service. The quality of the manuals was also assessed to determine how easy they were to follow.

PIRG then combined the two scores to come up with a letter grade, with an “A” representing a perfect 20.

Smartphones were the highest-ranking devices on the list, but only the iPhone 15 and 2023 Motorola Razr Plus received a full A grade. Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Google’s Pixel 8 weren’t far behind, scoring 18 out of 20 for an A-, while the Galaxy S9 FE — a much older phone, to be fair — came in with a B- score of 12 out of 20.

Unfortunately, the M3 MacBook Pro didn’t fare nearly as well, getting a 10/20 “C” grade. It received full marks for manual availability and clarity but zero for the parts score. That’s unusual as Apple added the M3 Macs to its self-serve repair program earlier this year; however, PIRG doesn’t say when it conducted the study, so it’s possible parts may not have been readily available at the time.

As for the Vision Pro? It scored a flat zero on all counts: no manuals, no parts, no nothing. Again, unsurprising as it’s not part of the Apple Self Serve repair program. The Meta Quest 3 didn’t do much better; it managed to eke out a single point for manuals and two points for parts, but it’s unclear why since PIRG noted that Meta bluntly told them that “we are not offering repair as of this moment” and that “we do not replace parts of the device.” By that standard, it should have received the same zero score as the Vision Pro.

Neither product had any available service manual or spare parts, despite being covered by the New York Right to Repair law.US Public Interest Research Group

PIRG also highlighted problems with company support representatives telling customers that self-service repair options weren’t available. For example, the iPhone 15 got its perfect score because PIRG’s researchers were able to find all the information they needed on Apple’s website; Apple Support was no help at all, telling them that “only trained Apple Technician[s]” could replace an iPhone screen or battery. PIRG chalked this up to a lack of communication, although it wouldn’t be surprising to find that Apple prefers its support reps to avoid discussing the Self Serve Repair program.

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