McFlurrys could be back after a tech repair firm wants to fix McDonald's ice cream machines

McDonald's, King's Mill Road East, Sutton. (Photo by: Google Maps)
McDonald's, King's Mill Road East, Sutton. (Photo by: Google Maps)

McDonald's ice cream machines may be fixed after a tech repair firm wants to fix the machines.

The company, called iFixit, is best known for fixing smartphones and has long been associated with Apple gadgets. The company also partners with Samsung and Google to provide replacement parts.

The company is also known for posting "teardown" videos online, where products are disassembled to show people how they work and how they can be repaired at home.

In one video, iFixit made for a McDonald's ice cream machine, it is calling for a change in US copyright law that would allow them to be fixed more easily.

During the video, iFixit said the machine spat out numerous error codes that iFixit says “are nonsensical, counterintuitive, and seemingly random, even if you spent hours reading the manual.”

This law is called the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and it is designed to stop people from fixing commercial equipment protected by copyright law.

The machines are made by the company Taylor, an agreement it has with the fast food chain means only it is allowed to fix them.

A company called Kytch attempted to fix this by creating a product to read ice cream machine error codes. But iFixit says McDonald’s “sent a letter to all of the franchise owners” instructing them not to use the device.

To be able to do something about it, iFixit needs to apply for an exemption to the copyright law for ice cream machines - which it has already successfully for devices like smartphones and games consoles.

iFixit also wants the US Congress to reintroduce a law called the Freedom to Repair Act, which would let it distribute any tool it makes to mend the ice cream machines.

Now, the company is working with non-profit called Public Knowledge to campaign for the law changes. Kathleen Burke, the group's policy counsel, said: "In principle, copyright should not prevent anyone from repairing a device they own regardless of whether that device is consumer or commercial."

If Congress makes these changes, the ice cream machines will be up and running.

The Taylor C709 Soft Serve Freezer breakages are likely driven by the machine's tendency to overheat, according to the iFixit teardown video.

According to Taylor's website, the countertop machines are capable of serving 350 ice creams per hour and can operate safely for two weeks before a full disassembly and clean is required.