Apple’s T2 chip bricks MacBook if finds unauthorized hardware change

new MacBook Pro
new MacBook Pro

We all know how desperately Apple wants people not to go at third-party repair shops for any Apple product. It has also filed legal cases on third-party repair services in some countries. But it seems the company has found a way to block third-party repair option for consumers.

We all know that Apple has included T2 security chip in recently launched MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac Pro, and Mac mini models. This chip is essential for several features like “Hey Siri”, Touch ID and security. Now it has been reported that this chip also gives Apple a control over its hardware to block third-party repairs.

The chip performs a series of diagnostics on the first boot after a certain component has been changed. If it finds an unauthorized hardware, the chip bricks the whole device.

According to the official Apple document, replacement parts much be within the ASP network and the person replacing a part needs to run a software diagnostics tool. Only ASP centers or Apple Store have access to this tool. So, third-party repair shops cannot repair new Apple products or replace a part of it.

Reports confirm that the components involved display, logic board, top case and Touch ID for the MacBook Pro and flash storage for the iMac Pro. These are the key components that you cannot replace outside Apple-authorized service centers.

The teardown experts at iFixit tested the new 2018 MacBook Pro and he was able to replace its display from an online MacBook. He was also able to swap logic boards. Every combination we tried worked fine.

Later Apple confirmed that the display assembly should not require the diagnostic tool. But didn’t provide detail for logic boards swap. iFixit speculates that the software could only check the brand-new, unused components. As both the logic boards were already from validated by Apple, iFixit was able to perform the changes.

Apple devices are always the hardest in the industry to repair due to custom screws, unibody enclosures and design of things in a way to make removing certain components needlessly difficult. So, most of the Apple customers go Apple authorized centers. But Apple repairs are always more expensive than third-party ones. After this change, Apple will have no meaningful competition and it could make repair cost higher.

It is not clear what products need the diagnostics software to run after repairs. If you are planning to buy a new Apple product, you need to think about this new change in Apple’s repair strategy. Apple devices’ official repair cost is too high. Many times there is an easy fix but they charge for a while logic board change.

Source: The Verge