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Apple Using Software to Block Unauthorised Repairs on MacBook Pro, iMac Pro Models: Report

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Apple Using Software to Block Unauthorised Repairs on MacBook Pro, iMac Pro Models: Report

Apple’s T2 chip integrates previously individual components in the computers

Highlights

  • The 2018 MacBook Pro, iMac Pro models have the T2 chip
  • The diagnostic suite was spotted in an internal document
  • Repairs from independent shops will result in “inoperative system”

Apple is reportedly using proprietary diagnostic software that effectively blocks certain third-party repairs for their latest computers that sport the new T2 chip - including the 2018 MacBook Pro models and the new iMac Pro. This information is reported to have been procured from an internal Apple document that also specifies that repair from an unauthorised repair outlet will result in an “inoperative system” and an “incomplete repair” after the parts are replaced. The reason of this development owes to the advanced security features of Apple’s T2 chip that might become vulnerable after a third-party repair.

For the 2018 MacBook Pro, this diagnostics software prevents the repair of parts including the display, logic board, Touch ID, keyboard, battery, trackpad, and speakers, reports MacRumors. For the iMac Pro, however, it is limited only to logic boards and flash storage. Additionally, the proprietary Apple diagnostic software is available internally only at Apple stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers. This will successfully eliminate independent repair stores from replacing the above-mentioned parts.

The MacRumors report claims that the new T2 chip integrates several components of the new MacBook Pro and iMac Pro models including the system management controller, image signal processor, audio controller, and SSD controller. For improving Touch ID, this Apple chip comes with a Secure Enclave coprocessor for authentication. This coprocessor also aids secure boot and encrypted storage.

Motherboard reports that the Apple diagnostic suite only functions when connected to Apple’s cloud-based Global Service Exchange (GSX) server and requires a valid Apple login to access.

While this seems like a preventive move from Apple, it could also be the company’s next move in creating a central command for all its products. Eliminating independent repairs from its current-gen lineup, and possibly all future models, will enable Apple to control the repair process for its desktop and laptop computers.

Interestingly, this development comes just weeks after certain researchers discovered a security flaw in which all modern computers could be susceptible to data theft even if the said data is fully encrypted. Apple, however, at the time, had claimed that its T2 chip already contains security measures to act against these "cold boot" attacks.

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Further reading: MacBook Pro, iMac Pro, Apple
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