Environmental report accuses Apple of shortening product lifespan

Ifixit Macbook Air
Ifixit Macbook Air (Image credit: iFixit)

What you need to know

  • A new report accuses Apple of intentionally creating unrepairable products.
  • The report specifically calls out materials used to secure Apple products together.

Reported by The Guardian, an investigation by the Environmental Audit Committee is putting pressure on technology giants like Apple to decrease its impact on electronics waste. MPs in the United Kingdom have accused Apple of "built-in obsolescence" with its products, saying that the company intentionally makes its products nearly impossible to repair.

The report by MPs condemns the "built-in obsolescence" in many electronic products – which includes the practice of intentionally shortening the lifespan of products. The inquiry by MPs heard that tech companies such as Apple had been found to glue and solder together internal components, making any repair nearly impossible.

The report goes on to say that, for Apple products, in particular, repairs are so costly and complicated that it leads consumers to replace them instead.

MPs said consumers did not have control over the products they owned, they could not take components out to repair themselves and there were no access manuals on how issues could be fixed. "Instead, the charges proposed for repair by Apple, in particular, can be so expensive it is more economical to replace the item completely," the report said.

iPhone SE with taptic engine removed

iPhone SE with taptic engine removed (Image credit: iFixit)

Apple responded to the report, touting its commitment to the environment by pointing out consumer's options for repair and recycling as well as the recycled materials used in its recent product releases.

"We were surprised and disappointed with the Environmental Audit Committee's report, which does not reflect any of Apple's efforts to conserve resources and protect the planet we all share. There are more options for customers to trade in, recycle and get safe, quality repairs than ever before, and our latest Apple Watch, iPad, and iPhone lineup all use recycled material across key components. We will continue to work with parliament and the government to document Apple's industry-leading commitments and to support our common effort to leave a clean economy and a healthy planet for the next generation."

Apple has made small steps in repairability, recently expanding its Apple Authorized Service Provider program to allow more third-party repair shops get access to tools and internal resources to service customers.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.