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Apple’s repair kill switch hasn’t been activated yet (ifixit.org)
235 points by ccnafr 11 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 160 comments





Apple is really undoubtedly the king of making their products impossible to repair. This doesn't bother me much since I have long abandoned apple. What bothers me is that everyone follows their bad example.

Not only is a modern phone impossible to open, everything is glued in. Even laptops are like this. I have even seen other manufacturers stop using underfill in their phones, just like apple. Probably to make broken phones useful as refurbs. This is leads to phones where chips come off easier (remember apples touch-ic issues and bend gate. That chip didn't have underfill, no proper soldering materials) and an increase in flexion damage.

A right to repair doesn't mean much if everything is glued and soldered into place anyway, and with everyone following apple I doubt anything will get better in that regard.


An iPhone is surprisingly repairable, and after the switch to the rounded chassis (with iPhone6) I’d consider it more repairable than the earlier iphone5 form factor.

The only part that is using any significant adhesive is the battery, it can’t be fit because it needs to be able to grow, so it is fit into a too large space using a piece of adhesive tape to not move around.

The phone is built to be quickly servicable by Apple technicians, so obviously no cables are soldered, everything is using easy to fit ribbon connectors.

I’d have no training and found it easy to replace many parts in iPhones such as e.g the screen.

There are parts that Apple have made harder to user replace such as the fingerprint/home button module but that at least has good reason.

I recommend the ifixit step by step repair guides that also make it obvious that repairing a modern smartphone is not much different if it says google or Apple or Samsung on the back. The only major difference is a user accessible battery in some models.


A major difference is that Apple does not sell parts to anyone who is not a licensed repair partner. All these screens you can put in your phone are fakes, refurbished or parts of stolen phones.

This is a good point: iphones are easily serviced physically but you may not get the parts.

There have also been rumors that some parts would not be replaceable unless you used original parts but I have never had any problems with “original” parts (eg refurb screen with new 3rd party glass), obviously if a phone required parts one could not buy it can’t be considered user serviceable at all.


Apple even issued an iOS update once to address incompatibility issues with 3rd party replacement displays...

MacRumors did a good write up on the “underground” repair ecosystem. Third party screens are almost always not color calibrated, etc.

https://www.macrumors.com/2018/08/14/inside-the-iphone-repai...


In the past, without warning, they bricked phones with refurbished screens. These are Apple manufactured screens, just ones not original to the phone (repaired by third parties). Using third party screens used to work, but the firmware now checks for this and disables brightness controls if it detects them. This also happened without warning after an update (I believe 11.1 or .2). It might not be hard to fix the phones, but in reality the software is going to have the final say.

That's incredibly misleading. The phones were bricked because the screen assembly included the TouchID sensor and the sensors weren't re-keyed. Apple, for security reasons, bricked phones that had TouchID enabled where the sensor didn't match the Secure Enclave. They didn't envision that people would want to replace the displays at the expense of losing TouchID functionality or device security. As soon as it happened, they released an update to simply disable TouchID and warn users that it was now disabled as opposed to disabling the entire phone.

Do you have any source where I can read more about this? Is this for particular models? Refurbished screens work well on iphone6 on latest iOS as far as I can tell

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/apr/10/iphone-8-...

They have tried to pull this stunt multiple times already. But have been forced to revert due to the amount of negative press it was getting. It's astounding that they tried it more than once.


Don't forget the latest one: SSD or memory change on iMac pros bricks them https://gizmodo.com/reports-newest-macbook-pro-bricked-if-no...

I get your point, but wouldn't it be nice if there was a user-removable battery, like you'd have in an old dumb-phone?

I know that modifies the engineering (aka, the phone must be thicker) but it's not clear to me that there's much a of a real benefit to a phone being especially thin?


I don't want a removable battery, and I do want a thinner and lighter phone. The market seems to show that making iPhones thinner and using embedded batteries doesn't hurt sales.

I don’t think it would make much difference. An extra mm wouldnt matter much but I wouldn’t want to sacrifice any water resistance for it.

Over the lifespan (ownership) of e.g 3 years I usually replace the screen at least once, usually also some other component. Having the battery user replaceable wouldn’t make much difference, it would be 2 services instead of 3 in case the battery died.

I never replaced a battery on any of my 3 smartphones nor on any of the 4 dumbphones before them.


Well, this isn’t exactly true. You can repair your own phones, you just need the right tools. China is well known for this. Repair shops that have the right tools (vacuum heating chambers, etc) are able to take apart and repair phones.

How many people are buying vacuume heating chambers to swap a battery vs throwing the phone in the bin and buying a new one.

You go to a repair shop that has one, which is what the parent poster was referring to.

Every time I have taken an apple device to a repair shop they have told me they can't get stock of the part or if I take it to an official repairer they charge more than it costs to buy a working second hand version of the device.

The option to repair exists in theory but in reality it may as well not.


It's a lie. Re-sell price of iPhones is about 70-80% of the original price, and the most expensive repair (full replacement of the unit) costs 46% of the price.

Consumer electronics steadily decline in price. Its a category error to define a curve as a point.

Example 3 years ago the Iphone 6S was released. The 64GB was priced initially at $750 US. You can now find them for 235.

This is aprox 1/3 the original price.

Since labor is a relatively stable price, replacement parts don't tend to get much cheaper, and the cost of a used model is constantly going down its not shocking that devices that aren't cheap to repair rapidly become trash.

You already see this on everything from cars to fridges.

You would do well not to assume bad faith and call people liars without good cause.


Price of the new (not refurbished) iPhone 6s on Amazon.com is $299, so the most expensive repair (replacement) will be $137.

$235 is 78% of the price. As you can see, nothing of my words is a lie, so yes, try to do well and don't call me a liar.


This was a macbook that was about 4 years old and failed because of a known faulty ssd.

I still don't believe you, because I have an experience of repairing MBP too. In my case it was damaged keyboard. They decided to replace entirely that half of the notebook. It was surprising approach and price was high, but still lower than price of the new MBP with the same CPU/RAM/SSD characteristics.

In fairness to the previous poster, replacing a keyboard should be cheaper than replacing an SSD (which is soldered into macs, requires a more expensive replacement part then needs an OS reinstall which a keyboard wouldn’t).

Apple intentionally builds their keyboards in such a way that it is incredible difficult to replace, the amount of skilled labor required doesn't make it profitable to just replace the keyboard. Its eye opening seeing a keyboard replacement being performed: https://youtu.be/4KuVvb9DTaU?t=309

Who is to blame for letting it get so far? I think its not just Apples fault, its governments fault not regulating them and consumers fault for still buying and even defending their practices (which you can very well observe in this thread).


They are replacing whole half of the notebook. It's everything except the monitor. So price is the same.

It’s not that difficult to swap an iPhone battery. You need a spudger or a guitar pick to break the adhesive around the edge, and then it’s open. A few screws to undo the battery cable, then use the pull tabs to stretch/pull most of the adhesisve our from under the battery. It’s about a half hour job and the battery + toolkit is less than $10 on eBay.

I don't have the tools to repair the fuel injectors on my car, should they become clogged with carbon. I take my car to a repair shop, where the cost of the tools (and the skills) are amortized across a number of customers.

You don't need to seriously.. the only thing you need is the right screw drivers (apple keeps changing them), battery glue strip to replace the glue after ripping it open and leak proof sealing rubber strip (you get from Aliexpress for 1$) for newer water proof models. Just watch YouTube videos

I've found my Lenovo and Alienware laptops to be easily modified. I have the latest Alienware 15 and I can access everything that's important which regular screws. Same for the Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga.

Well, if every manufacturer is doing it, there are probably good reasons for it. I doubt they've all gone mad at the same time.

Manufacturers are a lot more interested in manufacturability and reliability than repairability. The result is things that are relatively cheaper and less likely to break than in the past.

Another interesting aspect in electronics is that things like memory can run faster if you solder it down -- connectors eat into your signal margin.

Just imagine the chaos if the technique that Apple and everyone else uses to marry the SOC and RAM is outlawed because it's less repairable than the way it used to be done?

I'm a fan of repairability, and low prices, high reliability, and high performance. It's not a one-dimensional problem.


No removable batteries, no expandable memory, no headphone jack and now the notch. All undeniable evidence on manufacturers copying(?) Apple's choices at least in phones. As a user, I strongly feel these are not in my best interests. And I realize I am not alone in this.

Apple being the magnitude that it is now, cannot afford to make choices to attract folks like me with their 'reimagined' and 'breakthrough' innovations (?!).

This opens up an interesting segment for products that can afford to make design choices/offerings orthogonal to Apple.

Can you imagine a phone with 3000 mAh removable battery, an external memory card support for upto 128 Gb, a proper 3.5mm headphone jack and a proper rectangle screen capable of > 500ppi under 5 inches to fit your palm ? Let me sweeten the deal and price it at about $499 USD for this 'dated' tech.

Now, look around and tell me there isn't a market for this phone.


They aren’t targeting people like you and me. They’re targeting the next generation who won’t grow up with repairable things, and China is their target market right now with several hundred more million people than the West.

India manufacturers will be the next to look for, unless Apple changed gears.


Either it’s impossible to build or indeed there is no market for this. If there is, feel free to start selling these magical unicorn phones.

I hate the sentiment, but I think you're right. Modern technology is fashion, given that it's so widely adopted. Fashionable pants are intentionally expensive and impractical: this is an intentional feature.

> no expandable memory

I always buy the max storage iPhone, and every time I fill up maybe a third of it - after years of use.

The vast majority of people really don't care about this.


So you've now paid for more storage than you need. Upfront. You can't swap it and if the phone dies, you've probably lost everything or it's going to cost you dear to get that data out.

Apple's solution is to go sync those gigs on Apple's cloud and keep paying a monthly fee for it.

No thanks.

I paid Apple for making choices for me and building products for my wants and needs. Now, its made for the 'vast majority'.

I know more people like me and I see a niche market emerging that I hope someone addresses.


> So you've now paid for more storage than you need. Upfront.

It's like an extra $150. Stretched out over 24 monthly payments. Big whoop.

> Apple's solution is to go sync those gigs on Apple's cloud and keep paying a monthly fee for it.

This is exactly what I do. Totally worth it.

> You can't swap it and if the phone dies, you've probably lost everything or it's going to cost you dear to get that data out.

You can download and back up your cloud data onto physical drives. All of my photos and music are stored on multiple redundant drives. And because it's also on the cloud, when I get a new phone all of my data is available instantly. It's seamless.

> I know more people like me and I see a niche market emerging that I hope someone addresses.

I see commercials for Android phones with SD card slots, so it's already being addressed.


Did Apple have to kill the card slot to support iCloud ?

No. Why then? Lock-in, that's why.

Like someone else on this thread rightly said, Impracticality is the feature here and clearly intentional.

Apple may have gained customers like yourself. They sure have lost customers like me.


Apple didn't "kill" anything. No iPhone has ever had an SD card slot.

And to the best of my knowledge, the main reason wasn't lock-in or planned obsolescence: it was Steve Jobs' desire for as little as possible to get in the way of the aesthetic and design of the iPhone.

Sure, you may find that to be a dumb reason, but it's a far cry from the cartoon villain a lot of people seem to enjoy making Apple out to be, rubbing its hands together with a cackling laugh as it sits on its mountain of money. (...Well, the mountain of money part is true, actually.)


I re-use the same SD card so my phones, so I don't pay extra for large storage.

It’s really easy to fill an iPhone up with photos and videos

iCloud Photo Library dramatically changed the equation on this for most users. I test the iOS betas on an old 5S 16 GB, and it’s remarkable how much easier it is to use now than when it was new. Apple Music Library is the other big factor here for a lot of people.

If there's a market, why isn't anyone addressing it? As geeks, we love the idea of upgrading and repairing computer hardware, but the majority of the market HATES it. They just want something that works. So much of the desire by geeks for removable batteries reminds me of someone wanting an engine crank (like on the Model T) in case the starter fails...

I just had Apple replace my battery on iPhone 6S Plus for $30. Took them roughly an hour to do so. Phone feels like new with this battery.

So I think the new tech can be a pain in the ass for regular users to repair. Their authorized shops have all the tools to do so. I bet the unauthorized shops have all the same tools required too.


Why would I want a rectangular screen for something that goes in my pocket? The removable batter and headphone jack might be nice, but as I understand it part of the reason these kinds of things have been removed is to make waterproofing easier, which is something I'd rather have.

Sony had pretty much perfected the water proof phone with a headphone jack in their Z series, but for some reason decided to get rid of it with the latest revamp. This was also the first year since the release of the original Z where I didn't buy a Sony phone when I needed to upgrade.

That's simply not true. My Samsung Galaxy S5 has a removable battery and headphone jack AND it's waterproof.

@foota says 'easier', not 'possible'. And the S6 doesn't have a removable battery, so what does that tell you about how Samsung felt about the engineering compromises they had to make with the S5 and all the rubber grommet-ing around its removable battery?

It's still pushing the "loss of features a,b... that are actually useful to users enables features x,y..." narrative, which is rather frustrating. The S5 isn't some marvel of modern engineering that is incredibly expensive to produce.

> And the S6 doesn't have a removable battery, so what does that tell you about how Samsung felt about the engineering compromises they had to make with the S5 and all the rubber grommet-ing around its removable battery?

And I haven't bought a Samsung (or other mobile phone) since the S5, so what does that tell you about the quality of the recent mobile phone offerings?


Since Samsung is a corporation, it tells me that grommeting cost more than $0.

> Can you imagine a phone with 3000 mAh removable battery

If you are willing to make it a bit thicker than current phones...about 10% thicker than the original iPhone, you could use 5 NiMH AA batteries [1].

3000 mAh is about what the iPhone XS Max has. If you can get by with around 1900 mAh (about what an iPhone 7 has) you could get that down to 3 AA batteries, or 7 AAAs.

For people who are already using a lot of AA and AAA rechargeable batteries, this gives them a phone that easily fits right in, and as a bonus in an emergency you can use non-rechargeable batteries that you can buy from any convenience store.

[1] 3000 mAh x 3.7 V = 11100 mWh. 11000 mWh / (2000 mAh x 1.1 V / NiMH AA) = 5 NiMH AA.


NiMH can't withstand the power draw (especially the spikes), and can't keep providing the same voltage as it discharges. You'd need extra circuitry to be able to run a smartphone off of them.

I don't know how many registered users there are on HN, but I seem to recall my user number was about 1000. Maybe there are about 3000 on the site now? I don't think you could break even with those numbers.

So, no. There is no market for this phone.


There isn’t a very large market for this phone.

Add a metal back (not glass!), a matte screen, and an easily-rootable OS and I'll buy it yesterday.

A metal back will compromise radio reception.

How did early smartphones use them..?

I will totally own that !

What's good for manufacturers (the bottom line) is not necessarily good for consumers (or the environment).

But it is very good for manufacturers (their bottom line) to make what consumers demand.

If no one is making the products you'd want them to make, it's probably because no one is buying them, after all.


Lock-in is a real thing.

What lock-in?

Contacts/calendar/email can easily be synced to a new device and all the big utility apps are on both phone OSs.


The reason I can see is to make more money. I have bought a Macbook Pro with more RAM than I needed at the time only to be sure to have the RAM in case I need it later. Otherwise I would have waited and bought the RAM later. I am sure I am not alone.

With closing off everything they have more control and can cut out third party competition. It looks like they are successful with IBM's Micro Channel architecture strategy of the 80s.


“Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it.” ― Leo Tolstoy

Yes, but the reasons are it damages the second hand market and reduces product lifetime -- the outcome for society/environment is worse, the profit for the company is greater.

Is that really true? Say Apple uses a manufacturing technique that makes the product more reliable, but less repairable. Eventually, the two criteria meet an equilibrium where the device is no longer useful because its apps aren't supported, or it's too slow.

Not every manufacturer is doing it. Purism does not.

User upgradeable, no planned obsolescence

Solid aluminum with regular screws—not screws designed to screw you and prevent user servicing, repairs or experimentation [0]

[0] https://puri.sm/learn/why-purism-computers-are-better-than-p...


Literally just pure marketing. Let's see Purism make a phone comparable to what's in the iPhone X, and have that be user-serviceable with a screwdriver and suction cup.

If being "comparable to iPhone X" is more important to you than being repairable, then Librem 5 is not for you. It does not indicate that it's "pure marketing" in any way.

Hey as long as we're on the same page that they're not at all comparable phones, with comparable hardware, or comparable manufacturing requirements, get whatever phone floats your boat.

Companies act like sheep more often than not. It's why someone like Apple had to come into the market and revolutionize smartphones when everyone else was too busy studying how to best clone Nokia's phones.

Market movements like that can often be kind of like viral internet memes, they can be really really popular, but ultimately stupid.

Popularity is not strongly correlated with "sensible and good"


I managed to open and repair my phone with a $15 heat gun from Lowe's, an exacto knife and a sheet of plastic cut out of an egg carton. It's definitely doable.

Screen glue is necessary for waterproofing but I agree with what you’re saying.

Yes, and no:

- Yes in the sense that the glass needs to be glued (or rather taped as a double-sided tape is used) to create a waterproof seal as the small size of these devices does not allow for a more traditional clamp fit using a rubber gasket.

- No because it does not have to be the main body of the device to which the glass is glued/taped. I use the Motorola Defy+ [1], an 8 year old water/dust/shockproof Android device which shows a phone can be both waterproof as well as repair-friendly: the glass is glued to a frame which in turn is attached to the phone using screws. Disassembling the device is easy and quick, all it takes is a small Torx driver and a guitar pick. Assembling it is just as easy, the result will still be waterproof as long as all the rubber gaskets are fitted. I have 5 of these devices in use for different purposes ranging from 'dangerous work phone' to trailer camera and remote-controlled media player (using MPD for Android).

In short, it is possible to create waterproof devices which can be repaired without needing to break one-time seals.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motorola_Defy


> the glass is glued to a frame which in turn is attached to the phone using screws

I think it would be tragic if the iPhone looked like those Motorola devices. That thing looks hideous. This is strictly against Apple's design philosophy, and for good reason.


I think it’s tragic that so much emphasis is placed on the looks of a phone. Most people put them in cases anyway, and the only thing that really matters is the screen and physical button placement.

I always thought modern smart phones should have started as a black slab like the 2001 monoliths and just stopped there.


But I like my pink aluminum rectangle.

Put it in a pink case! Sky’s the limit!

iPhones of similar vintage* (1, 3G, 3GS) looked somewhat similar IMO.

(* Technically I guess it's the iPhone 4 that came out same year as Defy, but arguably close enough)


Tragic? Haha...wow.

Wow. This is everything that's wrong with modern electronics and consumerism.

Apple doing this should bother you because they are destroying our planet for personal gain.

This is really misinformed. Apple has a VP position for environment which is staffed by former head of the EPA Lisa Jackson. At the last keynote event she got a prime time on stage to talk about Apple’s major initiative to make their devices last longer. IOS 12 is running on the 5S, which is a 6 year old phones, and not only that but a major focus for this version was to improve performance on older devices. I use a 5S for travel and as a test device and it is still perfectly usable, maybe more so than ever.

There is no other manufacturer of computer equipment that comes close to maintaining service and usability on older devices than Apple at this point, and this has been shown over and over again by the resale value that their older devices still command. Many Android phones, even Nexus and Pixel devices only received updates for 1.5-2 years after their last sell date.

You’ll find very few companies that focus as much on environmental impact, and Apple recycles any product they have ever manufactured at their own expense. See here: https://www.apple.com/ca/environment/


I used my Nexus 5 for 5 years with updates, then put LineageOS on it for another year. Then it broke because of a faulty home button switch. However, I could have purchased a replacement mainboard to still keep it running.

More generally, I'm not sure 1.5 years vs 6 years is the correct order of magnitude when talking about environmental impact. Call me back when I can use a phone for 20 years.


Sounds like we need more laws around manufacturing things to make them possible to repair and the prohibition of stopping 3rd party repair. Hell the EU should pass something along these lines. It's pretty much necessary at this point.

Eh, I'd rather have the option to choose than have the government force it down everyone's throats. Believe it or not, most people never repair their devices for the entire time the own them.

Most people will also don't care about the environment. "We should not force the market to do something because the market doesn't do it itself" is a circular argument.

It's easy for me to buy iPhone repair services where I live, despite it being less repairable.

A simple scale of build quality and repairablity that must be glued on the box, similar to the energy class (at least in the EU) would be a good start.

Interesting idea. iFixIt releases repairability scores for laptops [1] and phones [2].

As an avid tinkerer, it is shocking and disheartening to see the most popular products on both lists with the least scores !

What is the next generation of tinkerers going to muck their teens around ?

[1]: https://www.ifixit.com/laptop-repairability

[2]: https://www.ifixit.com/smartphone-repairability


A mandatory list of tools for full disassembly, sufficient that they can be sourced.

I don't know about phones, but there are laptops which are relatively easy to disassemble and have replaceable parts. I, personally, would buy only those laptops if I would need one.

That is, until Lenovo decides that they want to have a say in what WiFi cards you can install.

Fortunately IDA 7 Free and a Buspirate fixed that. Would be a shame if any PCIe cards would be accepted, wouldn‘t it...

FYI, the patch was less than ten bytes long. Inconvenient non the less.


Lenovo stopped the whitelusting with the 50 Models. I tried two internal wifi m2 ngff cards that are not listed as compatible in my x260 and both were working.

Like a dope, I dropped my iPhone Xs a week after I bought it and the back glass shattered. Everything is glued together on the back, so they had to replace the entire phone.

With AppleCare+, that's $99 plus tax. Without, it's $549 plus tax—half the cost of the phone.


The original Mac Classic had the CMOS battery soldered to the motherboard.

It also had a sealed case, voiding warranty.

The iPod was "sleek", and being able to open the case to replace the battery "would have made it less sleek".


You're not familiar with the Surface Book or Surface Pro manufacturing then. Everything is glued in and there's not even screws in the bottom.

> What bothers me is that everyone follows their bad example.

This is probably what they're talking about.


And you're not reading his comment, where he said other manufacturers are following suit

Given Apple's strong stance on privacy and not making backdoors for encryption, etc-- could they possibly be trying to prevent supply chain interdictions from the likes of the NSA? [1]

Or be trying to detect things like we saw this week? [2]

[1] https://techcrunch.com/2014/05/18/the-nsa-cisco-and-the-issu...

[2] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2018-10-04/the-big-h...


No, they're trying to make sure they get their pound of flesh any time one of 'their' devices needs to be repaired. If the NSA (et al) are really serious about having hooks into Apple products they'll make sure to get them [1], glued screens and batteries and firmware kill-switches notwithstanding.

If it were about privacy and security Apple could have the device display a warning when it detected tampering and leave it to the user how to act on this, a bit like some Android devices react when the bootloader is unlocked. They could also sell OEM spare parts which could be used by third-party repair shops to repair devices and use a verification routine to re-certify the device (which then would not display a 'tampered' warning, instead showing a 'repair log' in some hidden settings screen).

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PRISM_(surveillance_program)


Pound of flesh? They're offering battery replacements at $29. That's probably a loss leader since it's 30 min of labor plus parts.

They only started offering it at that price after great public outcry when it was exposed they were purposefully slowing down older devices..

...in order to allow them to continue to run.

C'mon, at least finish the damn sentence. They were slowing down older devices to make sure that they wouldn't just literally shut down when the aging battery could no longer supply enough power for spikes of usage.


..by the new OS/kernel they forced you to install, without writing it to be friendly to the old phones they're forcing it onto.

Forced you to install?? No one forced you to install the newest version of iOS.

Do Apple keep security updates over the old versions? That could be an easy way to be forced to update.

Theses 2 relatively recents vulnerabilities are pretty good reason to have to update. https://www.krackattacks.com/ https://www.armis.com/blueborne/


I doubt that state actors would find it much of a hindrance; they could route targeted phones through Apple-approved repair organisations for modification.

it's to prevent chop-shop theft.

Yes, because taking one of their repair kits would be naught impossible?

The technique has nothing to do with security.


It's pretty obvious when an iPhone X is repaired. Apple's strict stance on security means it's not impossible that this was done for security.

A kill-switch on unauthorized modifications has a massive positive impact for device security.


I mean this seems very reasonable from Apple's perspective. They're trying to avoid their brand being tarnished by bad repair shops with questionable repair skills cutting corners with cheap and unsupported parts. Given how large the resale market is for Apple products I would even say that this is an extremely positive policy because as long as the machine boots you can be pretty darn sure your MacBook is just like you would get from an Apple store.

However, I think there's a happy middle ground here for people that want to use those cheap and unsupported parts. When the OS boots just make sure the user is made aware that they're running on unsupported hardware and recommend taking it to an authorized Apple repair shop if they want fix that.


In your first paragraph, if you swap Apple for John Deere, do you still believe what you wrote?

The general consensus around right to repair that was discussed during the John Deere incident favored users. But now that Apple is (planning on) doing the same thing, it's reasonable?


This is a tricky subject, imo, because even if Apple is just being money grubbing, there is a positive outlook on this. Finding reliable 3rd party parts for Apple products, even without Apple's meddling, is like cartwheeling through a mine field. My first post-university job was a lot of end user hardware support, and finding reliable parts that worked as advertised (for all brands) was a nightmare. Even previously reliable sites would switch inventory and suddenly get cheap knockoffs, which fit and looked like the real thing, but did absolutely nothing.

With iPhones in particular, this is horrible -- replacing a battery is a terrible experience just from a purchasing point of view. The actual process itself is not bad (and well documented by sites like ifixit), but you don't know about the issues until you have the part in hand and it sucks.

This is a mess for Apple since in a lot of places, third party shops do not care about the parts they order. They put in a replacement part as asked, and now the machine works even worse. As an individual, I'm willing to put out money to a company like ifixit to ensure I've got a working part and I have someone to point to when it doesn't work. For a lot of mom and pop shops that have margins to worry about, suddenly the part actually working isn't that big of a deal.

I don't want Apple to have this much power, to be clear. The right answer is instead to open up the official supply chain to third party resellers and drop the anti-competitive price fixing. But I do get their image concerns with regards to the third party ecosystem -- it's not Apple locking out third parties, it's third parties just making terrible products.


So Apple directly responsible for the state of the after-market of Apple replacement parts, but you'd rather just blame everybody else instead?

Not in the slightest. For much of the older hardware, there either are trivial or non-existent blocks from Apple in place, and the hardware market surrounding things like iPhones is littered with fly-by-night shops intentionally obscuring the truth of the products' origin. On Amazon, eBay, aliexpress, etc, a good majority of iPhone batteries are simply mislabeled in terms of their capacity, in some cases you can just peel the label they attached to the battery off to find the real capacity -- so you get what you paid for, but you were promise something with a much higher capacity or different performance.

That is my complaint, and that isn't Apple's fault. Apple is not making these poor knock-off manufacturers lie about their quality and capabilities of their replacement parts. I've bought plenty of third-party parts for Apple products (fans, reproduction heatsinks, panels, SSDs) that were just fine. But there is still a large market for cheap parts advertised as being equivalent to the OEM parts, but actually being significantly worse. I'm not sure how that is Apple's fault that the third party manufacturers decide to lie about their products. Apple is no saint in my mind, as much as I like their products, but this just isn't a fair accusation.


>I mean this seems very reasonable from Apple's perspective. They're trying to avoid their brand being tarnished by bad repair shops with questionable repair skills cutting corners with cheap and unsupported parts. Given how large the resale market is for Apple products I would even say that this is an extremely positive policy because as long as the machine boots you can be pretty darn sure your MacBook is just like you would get from an Apple store.

Apple's stance on "right to repair" is exactly about that. Introducing third parties into the ecosystem would drive down secondary market value for their products in a Gresham's law kind of way.


Unless they own the computer, it's not reasonable to disable it because their service is not used. Taking steps to actively, for no technical, or ( for me ) functional reason is such an customer hostile idea, that I can't really understand how it can ever be seen as reasonable?

Their brand being tarnished is of no concern to me as a consumer and user of their product, and neither should it. They do with their brand as they wish, and I with the product I bought as I wish. If a producer wishes otherwise, they simply can't say, or claim that they are selling the product.

It's really just a simple case of Apple trying to have the cake, and eat it too.

That, and that Apple these days seem to be doing everything in their power to make their brand into a luxury brand, and you obviously can't have a luxury brand that the less well off can actually buy, and afford to use, even second hand. Some satire yes, but nevertheless how luxury brands mostly works.


> and you obviously can't have a luxury brand that the less well off can actually buy

I think you're missing something. Apple could very easily make mid range devices at lower prices but there's not much point. Apple's mid/lower tiers are the previous year's high-end models. Apple's engineers are very open about this if you ever get the chance to talk to them. I think it's a pretty slick system -- Apple has to design and manufacture fewer models, everyone gets a high-end device, nobody can really tell you got yours cheaper, and their devices remain luxury goods while being available at low price points.

So for consumers in the market for a secondhand Apple devices I see this change as extremely positive.

Again, I think the right middle ground would be allowing you to whatever you want to your device but at the cost of having it be unbranded.


> When the OS boots just make sure the user is made aware that they're running on unsupported hardware and recommend taking it to an authorized Apple repair shop if they want fix that.

You mean like Nexus phones or Surface tablets shout out to the world on the boot screen that their bootloader is unlocked when you had the audacity to install a different OS?


I mean to be fair unlocking the bootloader pretty much destroys the security of the phone so if anything that message should be louder.

That could be easily fixed by allowing me to re-lock the bootloader with my own keys.

I don't disagree with this at all. But warning users that their bootloader is unlocked seems more important in this case though.

Depends what your threat model is.

Repair shops have also parts from other products, so say an old Macbook is unfixable but some parts are salvaged like say a screen, this parts are original Apple parts. Same for phones there are original parts too in the repair shops not only third party.

> I mean this seems very reasonable from Apple's perspective. They're trying to avoid their brand being tarnished by bad repair shops with questionable repair skills cutting corners with cheap and unsupported parts

Okay, but instead they're tarnishing their brand by being hostile to consumers. I'd say that segment is quite a bit larger than any segment that experiences a shoddy repair job.


> They're trying to avoid their brand being tarnished by bad repair shops with questionable repair skills cutting corners with cheap and unsupported parts.

Got any sources to back up that claim that secondary Apple computers are being plagued by "cheap unsupported parts" and thus effectively causing a market for lemons [0].

[0]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Market_for_Lemons


> Given how large the resale market is for Apple products I would even say that this is an extremely positive policy because as long as the machine boots you can be pretty darn sure your MacBook is just like you would get from an Apple store.

"Extremely positive" might be a bit of a stretch, especially if you consider that we all share a planet with finite resources and finite ability to absorb pollution.


Does the environmental aspect bother you at all?

I dropped my iPhone X with a front and back cover yet glass still broke on both sides. It happens, but thanks to the rear glass being welded to frame and new front glass technology it costs $828 to replace. Repair shops are charging more than Apple store.

$279 for Front glass

$549 for Rear glass


The good news is that the back glass price should change here in the next few weeks. I run independent repair shops (not affiliated with Apple) and literally today we did our first test on a new back glass removal tool we bought. We successfully removed the back glass on an iPhone 8 housing we purchased broken.

These devices just hit the US a few days ago, so give it a few weeks and I would expect independent shops to offer back glass replacement in the $99-$149 range.

This is also why Right to Repair is so important. These tools are not built or sanctioned by Apple, but the demand is there, so third parties build, test, and verify them to help reduce prices for iPhone owners like you.


The issue is Apple are not going to start use this 3rd party tool and drop their glass back repair price from $549 to $149. People will need to still take their phones to 3rd parties to get a reasonable price. This is why we need 3rd party repair options so badly

Last time this happened to me - (I dropped my iPhone 5 on a ride and a car subsequently ran over the device) Apple simply quoted me $299 to replace the device.

Also carrier insurance/replacement programs are also good options.


That's part of the deal when you buy an Apple device.

Meh, the iPhone X is still very new. As more are stolen and stripped for parts the prices should come down. Great for the consumer!

It's not a rent, it's purchase - I should be able to do whatever I want with the purchased item. It's absolutely not Apple's right to tell me what to do after they got the money.

Where's that "private property" rule, I thought it's kind of holy testament in the USA.


You mean "ownership is nine-tenths of the law"?

That’s possession, not ownership. That’s what I always understood to be the meaning of the saying “possession is 9/10s of the law”: The person with physical possession of an object has an enormous advantage, regardless of its actual ownership.

The leader in making repairable equipment that I’ve messed with is Mazzer. Their coffee grinders are fantastic and repairs consist of opening the unit with standard tools, unplugging the broken bit then buying a new part off the dealer or plugging in some other thing I want. Grinders 30 year old are readily repaired and parts are interchangeable with new machines. Upgrades are modular and plug on to the base chassis. Some units have a security screw but it’s only ever been finger tight when I’ve found them. I’m some sort of Mazzer evangelist now and live in fear of them ever changing.

KitchenAid, Miele, and Numatic spring to mind also.

Let’s put a different take on this. What if the kill switch is presented as an option to the customer upon purchase? So if your preference is security over repairability you enable it, vice versa you don’t?

I understood the “kill switch” to be a “warranty (i.e. AppleCare) void” switch more than a literal kill switch.

You can, with enough work, make any computer—even one that’s not from Apple—into a working Mac. But there’s no amount of effort you can go to that will make Apple suddenly decide to offer warranty coverage on your Hackintosh.

I imagine the point here would be to effectively treat computers cobbled together out of externally-sourced Apple compatible parts (i.e. parts where the computer doesn’t “know” it’s not a Mac) as equivalent to Hackintoshes from a warranty standpoint.

This is partially justified—as it stands, a repair shop can actually take 50% of the parts from a Mac, replace them with compatible parts, then build a new computer from the 50% of parts you took out and other compatible parts, and end up delivering two Macs that would both be considered to be under warranty. (Not that they have AppleCare registrations, but that they’re under legally madated first-year warranty coverage in many jurisdictions.) The software Apple has developed circumvents this problem.

You might not agree with it, and it might have some other negative consequences... but what other solution is there to this particular problem? (I mean, besides eating the repair costs of—and even assuming legal liability for!—these “faux” Macs.)


>but what other solution is there to this particular problem?

I don't know, letting the machine run despite having a voided warranty would be a good start.


In which jurisdiction is this actually a thing that happens? I don't see how Apple's scope of liability is extended to parts they (or an authorized partner) haven't put into the machine. (and I'd suspect they'd generally not be responsible for parts moved to a different machine either, since the warranty to covers the device, not an extracted part)

And how would you a describe something that stops the system from being used not as a "literal killswitch"?!


The thing is that you actually can't prove that Apple didn't put those parts in there, if they're sourced from the same suppliers Apple sourced them from. They're literally "the same" parts, so no regular inspection would find them.

That's what I meant by "the computer thinks it's a Mac": Apple already has code in place to detect when you've used parts that don't belong in Macs, in your Mac. (That's DSMOS — "Don't Steal Mac OS X", a kernel extension that verifies the hardware on boot.) But if Apple used some random IC from Samsung or Broadcom, and then the repair shop replaced it with the same random IC from Samsung or Broadcom, but not sourced through Apple, then Apple can't tell—at least through any traditional means—that that computer has been tampered with.

And it's important to tell, because Apple does QA (burn-in testing, etc.) on the parts they install. So a random Samsung or Broadcom chip might be a lot more flaky than the same Samsung or Broadcom chip that has survived through Apple's testing gauntlet. And if Apple can't tell that the chip has been replaced, then they can't void your warranty—which means the flakiness of the replaced part becomes negative media coverage about Apple, rather than just being a story about third-party repair shops using non-QAed parts.

(Remember when Apple used those GPUs in old 2011-era MBPs that would overheat enough to de-solder themselves? Imagine if that wasn't Apple's fault, but rather the fault of repair shops replacing Apple's shipped discrete GPU with "the same" discrete GPU that hadn't been through Apple's QA.)

The verification software can detect this specific problem, by comparing lot numbers for each part in the system to lot numbers Apple's factories have actually received. Thus, even a lot of parts that Samsung created exclusively for Apple, but never shipped to Apple, and instead sold to some reseller, would show up as "invalid" here. As it should—because Apple hasn't picked out the bad parts from the lot.

Now that I think of it, a potentially-useful analogy is the 2007 mortgage crisis. People were buying CDOs (income from mixtures of mortgages, that pay out when people pay their mortgages) endorsed by respected institutions, who gave them high ratings. But the mortgages that went into these CDOs weren't actually verified in the way that the institutions promised, and so they failed a lot more often than they should have for the quality ratings they were given.

In this analogy, Apple products are like highly-rated CDOs; and the verification software being discussed here is what's required to actually check that the parts in the computer (i.e. the mortgages in the CDO) belong with that quality-rating slapped on them.


Approximately nobody is saying Apple isn't allowed to track and detect this (although they might not be legally allowed to deny all service based on this). Just that they shouldn't make a killswitch that bricks devices based on it. If the "killswitch" isn't one, all is well, but the initial reports claimed otherwise (citing Apple documents as saying "will result in an inoperative system,")

There is a difference between voiding the warranty and effectively bricking the device though.

I wonder if the kill switch will only be activated once you report the phone stolen or lost with find my phone?

That would prevent chop-n-sell of parts...


It's interesting, whenever it comes to Apple, the average HNer is willing to go incredible lengths and suffers extreme cognitive dissonance in order to defend practices they would blast other manufacturers for.

I don't see how criminal law will not also be activated after them if they try.

Isn't this "kill switch" Apple's solution to the server attack that they claim never happened?

No, it's two completely different stories.

I know. I think the server event spurred this solution for their consumer products.

While macbook is top notch hardware and MacOs is the best *nix os out there, this is the last straw. I will not being giving anymore money to apple with its anti-consumer business practices.

Can some one recommend a good cloud MacOs vm solution for ios development? Or better yet, a rock solid hackintosh build that won't go to shit every update? I don't mind paying good money for a good product but this is ridiculous.


Your best bet with Mac OS X virtual machines is giving it a dedicated gpu using pcie passthrough with linux as the host.

I just tried running macos within vmware and I am excited to see it working with some patches.

MacOs is a nice *nix OS but I am not willing to shell out for the apple tax when ubuntu is a perfectly good workhorse.


Another choice is to build a hackintosh, not that bad these days



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