In addition to protecting security, Apple confirmed that the new chip will also prevent third-party maintenance.
Issue Time:2018-11-14
Last month, MacRumors and Motherboard got an internal Apple file. Apple's new MacBook Pro, the new iMac Pro and the Mac mini in 2018 were equipped with homemade T2 chips, which would prevent users or third parties from replacing some of the Mac's accessories.

On November 12, Apple confirmed this claim through TheVerge. However, Apple will not provide a complete list of components affected by this policy, nor will it announce that this is a new policy, as this has been implemented since the launch of the iMac Pro last year.

The T2 chip is a custom 64-bit ARMv8 chip running an operating system called Bridge OS, which is an upgrade of the T1 chip on the 2016 version of the touchbar MacBook Pro.

Apple originally added T2 to the iMac Pro in December 2017 for a variety of security purposes, including protecting boot processes, device keys, and handling system-level features such as forced shutdown of the microphone and hardware-level shutdown. When the device's lid is closed, even if the hacker cracks the system, it can't stop the microphone from turning off.

The document mentions that for Mac computers equipped with T2 security chips, you must run the AST2 (Apple Service Toolkit) system configuration software to perform maintenance inspections on the hardware and system, and submit maintenance inspection reports by connecting to Apple's cloud server. Complete the entire repair process. If you skip this step, the system will automatically lock the computer and the Mac will not run.

This AST2 software is only available from Apple and Apple Authorized Service Providers (ASPs). This means that users will not be able to repair new Mac computers at home or have third-party repairs, only to the Apple Store or official repair shop.

At that time, in order to verify this statement, the disassemble website iFixit specifically purchased a 13-inch 2018 new MacBook Pro to test whether this statement is true, and the results show that Apple has not implemented the system lock function.

But in an November response from Apple, the new Mac did need to perform software checks after repairing certain components, including the motherboard and Touch ID sensors. It's unclear why iFixit can still boot after replacing the motherboard. One possibility is that iFixit uses components that have been verified by Apple. AST2 may only target new, unused components.

iFixit speculates that the software may only be used to check whether third-party repair shops are using genuine components, rather than using cheaper parts to make money.

Apple has always disliked the maintenance of opponents outside of their own mobile manual feet.

In 2016, the British Guardian revealed that many iPhones that had been repaired by third parties, especially those that had replaced parts, had an Error53 error when upgrading to iOS9. This is mainly because Apple has enabled the core component verification mechanism in iOS9, especially after the iPhone6, the Touch ID is integrated into the screen, and the Touch ID is paired with the motherboard, so the iPhone with the replacement screen or Touch ID is upgraded to iOS9. You will get an error message "Error53".

In 2017, Apple used software locks to prevent certain components of the phone from being repaired by third-party repairers. In the iPhone 7 series, if you change the Home button at a third-party repairer, the Touch ID and the function of returning to the main interface will be locked by the software.

Excluding hardware and software interventions, it is already difficult to open Apple's products. Apple modified the screw fasteners in the iPhone accessory, which allowed the iPhone to be opened only with a special-shaped screwdriver. These accessories look inconspicuous, but the screwdrivers are rare and expensive, and the Mac-in-one settings make it difficult for many maintainers.

Apple does this on the one hand for "safety" reasons. On the other hand, according to iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens, it is hoped to further control the profitable maintenance business.

Apple's own maintenance costs are generally higher than third-party maintenance costs on the market, and some remote areas do not even have Apple-designated repair shops. For these reasons, 19 states in the United States are considering “maintenance rights” legislation, requiring equipment manufacturers such as Apple to provide the public with detailed repair parts, tools, maintenance guides and some diagnostic software, but Apple has always wanted to stop this. The bill landed.

Last year, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) filed a lawsuit alleging that Apple used software updates to damage split-screen iPhones that had been repaired by third parties. In June this year, Australian courts stated that Apple’s actions violated national consumers. Law, was fined more than $6 million.

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