If you thought Apple's dictatorial stranglehold over the devices that you bought and paid for only extended to the company's vice-grip control over its operating system and its app store, think again. According to the hardware hackers over at ifixit, Apple is switching to new kind of tamper-resistant screw that aims to keep you from dismantling your iPhone or Macbook at home, ensuring that the only person who can get at the guts of your device is wearing "Genius Bar" insignia.
The new screw is similar to a Torx screw, but rather than six points it has five, and they are rounded rather than sharp. Service manuals refer to them as pentalobes (that means they're pentalobular), and the tool that extracts them is expensive, rare, and more or less only readily available behind the repair counter at the Apple Store. See how that works?
These screws first showed up on the mid-2009 Macbook Pro apparently, and since has shown up on the Macbook Air and in several non-U.S. iPhone 4 editions. New editions of the iPhone 4 will have them as well, and—and this is the real icing on the cake—if you take your phone to Apple for service, they will replace your standard screws with the new pentalobular versions, reportedly even if the service you require doesn't require the screws to be removed.
In other words, Apple doesn't want you to be able to modify your phone in any way without the company's explicit permission and oversight (and a nominal service fee).
What will save us from this kind of technological tyranny? One thought generated at PopSCi HQ: more technology. Such "security" shenanigans may soon be rendered obsolete by technologies like 3-D printing, which would allow tinkerers to scan the shape of a screw head into their workbench console and quickly custom-print the proper tool for any task. Until then, ifixit will happily sell you a rather inexpensive iPhone 4 Liberation Kit.
So there's already a "Liberation kit" which comes with the necessary tool available for cheap? Sounds to me like Apple spent money for nothing.
That is theft. If I get a new tire someone can't just give me different lug nuts; stealing my other ones.
I hate apple if you buy something you should have the power to do whatever the heck you want with it, including taking it apart, I pray Microsoft never does this crap
With the 3d printers, whey don't they create something that is unscrewable, in other words remove screws.
... And *that's* why I use Linux.
They must not have seen the sonic screwdriver article a few weeks back.
I don't think that apple is trying to squeeze more money from its users; that, I think, is just a convenient side effect. Apple has continued to show that they just don't trust their customers not to break their product. I think that people have a right to tinker with their toys all they like, but these days people will likely as not blame the manufacturer, at least by word of mouth, for anything that goes wrong. Apple's brand image is all about tech that "just works." By having uncommon fasteners, Apple ensures that if somebody want's to get into the device, they REALLY want to get into the device. I don't know how sound my logic here is, but if somebody takes the time to procure a pentalobe driver or a "liberation kit" that person either (a) took the time to find out what they are doing or (b) is a part of a social group that will make fun of that person for screwing up their device and blaming the screwup on Apple.
Apple thinks we be Dumb
In a world where duplicate IPhones are manufactured with more features then a normal IPhone ,apple is expecting a screw head will save them from hacking/cracking..
whats the harm in letting people explore their devices??this is what money oriented corporates do and customer oriented corporates dont...
waiting for ban on kinetic hacking next for sure,once all the good hacking is done by the hackers offcourse..so that these can be used for money making...
why, mr. Anderson, why, why do you persist?
Because I Choose To...
exactly why i have always and will continue to dislike apple
I remember when Apple tried to promote itself as the nice guy, what a fake that was, it's just another exploitative cynical megacorp:
- proprietary software
- proprietary music formats
- proprietary music distribution channel
- DRM on music you buy
- a history of restricting product supply to drive up prices
- restricting their hardware to only run their OS
- their OS forcing you to only download apps from their app store and not from the internet
- over zealous app censoring rather than parental controls
- products that cannot browse the web using HTML 5 and flash
- iphone batteries that cannot be swapped out by the owner
...and now proprietary screws!
In a tech world that has moved to "open" internet standards in the sense of access to content and standardisation of web display technologies, with open sourced software and freedom to pick and choose hardware, OS, browser, and where you buy your music from - Apple stands for the opposite of all that.
I've always thought that if you buy a produce, socks, shirt, car, in a democratic country, it belongs to you to do with as you please...I guess I was wrong. I don't think Apple should retain control over something you buy from them unless they want to give it to you free when you buy a pack of cigarettes or a box of detergent.
I like how there is an automatic assumption that the reason Apple is changing these screws is for some diabolical plan to keep anyone from taking apart their phone. I don't think Apple is stupid, I think they know no matter what screws they put in, the tool will be made available to take them apart.
Has anyone stopped to consider that these screws could potentially just be less prone to stripping and that Apple has made this change to make repair easier due to fewer stripped screw-heads?
If there is anything diabolical behind any of this, it would be that Apple might have some investment in the company that makes these screws and their respective screwdrivers, providing Apple with a new source of income, hackers buying screwdrivers.
Aah, I bet I could get a Phillips to work...
won't take long for pentalobe screw driver bits to become a dime a dozen, and no contrary to Apple's hopes and Popsci's imagination it won't take a 3d printer to manufacture them, any decent machine shop could set up to produce bits in less than an hour and be churning them out like hot cakes.
Just one more way Apple screws its users I guess.
Hey wait a minute depending on the diameter of the lobes couldn't you just like jamb 5 paperclips or something else round that fit into these screws then turn them?
Lucky for Apple people like me run PCs huh? Using Linux for the past 15 years no less too! It took me scrolling back and looking at the silhouette picture for about 20 seconds to think of it. Well I was thinking about the inane comment another user left about how any machine shop could be spitting out the tooling, and how said tooling would be made when the rods idea dawned on me.
I can make any type of screw remover by: taking a casting of the screw, Then making a casting of the casting with the length of the shaft for the new screwdriver kept in mind, The next step is to pour molten steel into the final casting and let solidify, after that you clean up the casted screwdriver shaft on a lathe to clean up imperfections on the shaft itself (cosmetic), acid bath to give the steel a smooth finish. You could chrome plate it to prevent oxidation. Finally you make a handle for it, unless you want it to be a bit.
Pfft. Weak. Just got my screws out using an alan wrench and carefully applied pressure. Had that failed, my dremel has turned many an odd shaped screw, ie. Torx, into easy to use flathead screws. Grind a slot into the top, simple. Next!
I feel one day theses types of malicious acts done by these mega cooperations i.e. Apple Microsoft will go to the High court... i hope anyways
Is there any reason why PC users are getting so upset about a product they are not using? Just askin'. :-|
Yes. I wish I could see an Apple tech's face when they open a phone to find their precious screws have a slot cut across the top of them. lol
This is when 3-D printers come in handy lol
Couldn't Apple do this:
When they put the screws in fill the holes with sodering metal. The only problem is when you want to get it repaired.
Dremmel + flathead = h4x0r3d
Amazon sells the Pentalobe TS1 screwdriver to fit these for less than $5. I found many hits under Google for Pentalobe screwdriver sets at various sites including the home improvement chains. Any sort of security bit such as these will only keep out those who don't know they can buy the bits to fit ALL these kinds of screws easily.
like other stupid things which apple does, this will be overcome(if it has not been already), I have learned that when you deny people of something they will find a way around it or a way to defeat it