Apple switches screws to discourage third parties, tinkerers

Verizon iPhone 4“Apple is switching to a new type of tamper-resistant screw to discourage end users and third party services from opening its devices,” Jason D. O’Grady reports for ZDNet.

“iFixIt notes that, although it looks similar, it’s not a standard Torx screw. Worse, there are no readily available screwdrivers that can remove it,” O’Grady reports. “Even iFitIt’s own 54-bit driver kit doesn’t have the pentalobe-head screwdriver, adding to the frustration.”

MacDailyNews Take: Actually, iFixtit’s US$9.95 “iPhone 4 Liberation Kit” allows users to to replace Pentalobe screws with Phillips screws (which, of course, is why this story is likely being floated in the first place.)

O’Grady reports, “Pentalobular screws first appeared in the mid-2009 MacBook Pro to prevent you from replacing the the battery and Apple is using a similar screw on the outer case of the current MacBook Air. Obviously, it’s Apple perogative to do as they choose, but it’s like DRM and copy-protection before that, it’s not going to stop a determined individual. So, what’s the point?”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple simply strives to be cutting edge, right down to the screws. wink


  1. Let’s also note that the “reason” given for the switch is O’Grady’s opinion or iFixIt’s opinion. Apple has said no such thing.

    Besides, if the true intent was to stop end users or third parties from opening Apple devices, it’s a pretty bad plan. Those screwdrivers are apparently already available (see iFixIt’s kit), or would be very soon due to demand. So the entire plan is based on no one having a pentalobular screwdriver.

    That’s what Chrysler did in the 1970s. They changed oil pan drain plugs to Allen wrenches instead of standard hex heads so people would have to get their oil changed at the dealer instead of doing it at home or their local shop. The result? At their next oil change, people just switched out the drain plug for a standard one, and never went back to the dealer again because they were pissed.

  2. Apple does this because they offer us awesome warranties. If we start tampering away, we make it harder for them to continue issuing such warranties. We’ll be stuck with lame 90 day kinda warranties.

    Yeah, it is our stuff to mess around as we please but don’t go trying to fix it yourself during the warranty period or during the Applecare period.

    Now do you get it?

  3. …or maybe they choose this rarer fastener because the Chi-Com factory where Apple products are made replaced high quality phillips head screws with cheaper knock offs so Apple is trying to keep control of their product. Because we all know that Chi-Com electronics assembly companies would never replace a specified component with a cheaper version…never ever. The Chi-Com factories have the best interest of American companies in mind…always.

    just my $0.02

  4. Because it doesn’t give pandering writers the opportunity to describe a minor product revision as “cutting edge”.

    “MacDailyNews Take: Apple simply strives to be cutting edge, right down to the screws.” Pathetic.

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