Apple has effectively restricted third-party repairs of its recent Mac models due to the need to use a proprietary diagnostic tool to work with Appel's T2 chip used to manage system and Touch ID security, reported The Verge.
As such, repairs the involve replacing a MacBook's logic board or a Touch ID sensor will need to be carried out at authorised Apple repairs dealers rather than third-party firms.
A leaked document acquired by MacRumours and Motherboard in October suggested that the T2 chip regulated repairs on the MacBook Pro's display, logic board, Touch ID and top case which includes the keyboard, battery, trackpad, and speakers which would shut out any third-party repairer or DIY attempts. If any of the aforementioned components are replaced without running Apple's diagnostic tool, the system would be rendered inoperative.
The devices sporting the chip include the iMac Pro and all Mac Mini, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models from 2018 but it's not certain the extent to which these devices are affected. Apple could not provide a list of repairs that required this or what devices were affected.
The T2 chip is "a guillotine that [Apple is] holding over" their customers, said iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens to The Verge. Wiens also goes on to speculate that the reasoning behind this could be due to Apple attempting to control a greater market share from third-party repair providers or it could be a threat to keep their organised network in line.
According to an iFixit blog post, it's unclear how many devices are affected as they bought a 2018 MacBook Pro model over the summer and were able to replace the logic board without issue.
"To our surprise, the displays and MacBooks functioned normally in every combination we tried. We also updated to Mojave and swapped logic boards with the same results," said iFixit's Adam O'Comb on the blog.
The T2 chip previously exclusive to the iMac Pro, arrived in the latest generation of devices only recently, allowing the devices to process Touch ID fingerprint data and securely boot up the system, among other things.
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Connor Jones has been at the forefront of global cyber security news coverage for the past few years, breaking developments on major stories such as LockBit’s ransomware attack on Royal Mail International, and many others. He has also made sporadic appearances on the ITPro Podcast discussing topics from home desk setups all the way to hacking systems using prosthetic limbs. He has a master’s degree in Magazine Journalism from the University of Sheffield, and has previously written for the likes of Red Bull Esports and UNILAD tech during his career that started in 2015.