The company has been accused of knowingly causing MacBook computers to stop functioning if you use a third-party repair store
APPLE has allegedly designed its new MacBook Pro computers to becoming “inoperative” if they’re fixed at an independent repair shop.
It potentially means that MacBook owners can’t shop around for the best repair prices – and have to rely on Apple instead.
Apple devices are famously difficult to repair.
Tech blog iFixit regularly cracks open Apple products to rate their “repairability’ and with some MacBook models earning a lowly 1/10 score.
That makes it near-impossible for users to repair their own devices – and now one report suggests Apple is making it difficult for genuine repair shops to help solve your gadget woes too.
Vice’s Motherboard claims that Apple has introduced software onto new MacBook Pro models to make them useless if repaired by an independent store.
Instead, fixes will reportedly only work if they’re performed at an Apple Store, or by an Apple Authorised Service provider.
Motherboard says it obtained a document provided to official repair outlets detailing the new policy.
It allegedly affects any Apple computer with the new T2 security chip – which is built into 2018 MacBook Pro models, and the iMac Pro.
So how does it work?
According to the report, Apple’s software is alerted when certain components are replaced.
For MacBook Pro laptops, this includes the display assembly, logic board, top case, keyboard, touchpad, internal housing, and Touch ID board.
For the iMac Pro, it includes the logic board and flash storage.
If these are replaced, Apple’s software reportedly sends the computer into lock-down.
And it will only start functioning again if Apple runs its own custom Apple Service Toolkit 2 diagnostic software.
This software is said to be only available to Apple and its authorised service centres.
A leaked document is quoted as saying: “For Macs with the Apple T2 chip, the repair process is not complete for certain parts replacements until the AST 2 System Configuration suite has been run.
“Failure to perform this step will result in an inoperative system and an incomplete repair.”
It’s generally good practice to get your Apple products fixed by Apple itself.
The company is famous for its customer service, and will generally have the best and quickest methods of repairing your product.
But Apple customers might want to shop around, and this software potentially makes that impossible.
That could lead to Apple customers paying more for their repairs than they might otherwise.