Apple pulls iFixit app from App Store, bans developer account over Apple TV teardown

“The electronics repair site iFixit says that after it published its detailed teardown of the upcoming Apple TV hardware, Apple reached out to say that the company had violated the developer agreement and revoked the account that was used to obtain the device,” Mike Beasley reports for 9to5Mac.

Beasley reports, “The iFixit app, which was previously available on the App Store for free, was tied to that developer account, meaning the app’s listing was removed along with the account.”

Read more in the full article here.

“Not too long ago, we tore down the Apple TV and Siri Remote. The developer unit we disassembled was sent to us by Apple. Evidently, they didn’t intend for us to take it apart,” Kyle Wiens writes for iFixIt. “But we’re a teardown and repair company; teardowns are in our DNA — and nothing makes us happier than figuring out what makes these gadgets tick. We weighed the risks, blithely tossed those risks over our shoulder, and tore down the Apple TV anyway.”

“A few days later, we got an email from Apple informing us that we violated their terms and conditions—and the offending developer account had been banned. Unfortunately, iFixit’s app was tied to that same account, so Apple pulled the app as well,” Wiens writes. “Their justification was that we had taken ‘actions that may hinder the performance or intended use of the App Store, B2B Program, or the Program.'”

Wiens writes, “Live and learn.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Should have waited to post the teardown until the Apple TV and Siri Remote were released to the public.

Now, who at Apple approved sending out a pre-release Apple TV developer unit to a company best known for tearing down Apple products?

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]

38 Comments

        1. Yes, but they violated the terms of their developer agreement. They’re lucky if Apple doesn’t sue them for the violation. The hardware and software are provided under a non-disclosure agreement you sign as a developer. It matters not one bit what the iFixit does for a living. They still can’t publicly disclose information that has not been released to the public. They would have been fine if they waited until release date. Apple didn’t kill their app because they tore down the device. Apple killed the developer account that disclosed the material under NDA. The apps were signed by that account. They could apply for a new account and recompile the app using the new account’s credentials or have a third party do it if Apple decided to blacklist the company from further participation.

    1. Read the article you are commenting on. It is a developer unit of an unreleased product which is only to be used for testing apps. iFixit wasted this opportunity in order to sell a few more screwdrivers and they violated the terms of an agreement they signed.

    2. iFixIt has been criticizing Apple for as long as I have been aware of them and that dates back to when MJ was their spokes person doing videos. If iFixIt had their way, we would have iPhone with components mounted in 19 inch racks and every component in a ZIF socket and every pixel being completely replaceable.

      iFixIt deserves much worse than they got. They play loose with Apple Dev accounts and constantly put Apple down. I hope they never touch another Apple product again.

      1. LOL. Your hyperbole is not funny, though I guess you got a lot of love from the tech know-nothings who don’t care about repairing their own devices. I can’t understand the cheers for dependency, but I guess some people just want a teat to suck on all their lives.

        iFixit makes the case that Apple has moved to engineer their devices so that they are not user-repairable or modifiable. iFixit is right. We have a lot less freedom as involves Apple products now. That is sad. As a result, Apple products are a lot less fun than they used to be, when you could hotrod the internals easily when you needed to.

  1. “Now, who at Apple approved sending out a pre-release Apple TV developer unit to a company best known for tearing down Apple products”

    Perhaps apple sends prerelease units to select large repair shops so that they can get a heads up on how to fix damaged units before launch (?) .

    iFixit probably got detailed NDA on what they can do with the unit.

      1. ?

        not sure what you guys are arguing about,
        MDN is saying that Apple sent the device.
        I’m saying that if that is so the reason was probably because apple wants repair shops to get ready and they probably included a NDA (non disclosure agreement) and iFixit violated that.

        I get down voted for that?

        1. Down voted because you’re incorrect. Yes, Apple did send some (not all) developers a pre-release AppleTV so they could _develop software_ for it and test on a real device. It didn’t have anything to do with being a repair shop, and they had agreed to NOT disclose the contents of the device before release. They violated an NDA, and paid the price.
          I’m not saying it was necessarily a dumb move, based on their motivations – maybe it was worth it to them. But, I have a hard time believing they didn’t expect this was likely to happen. Seems more likely that they thought “we know we aren’t allowed to do this, but maybe we won’t get in trouble, and if we do, it’s still worth it.”

    1. Typically Apple proves re-shipping instructions, if iFixit had any hesitations on tearing the device apart and sending it back, they should have asked – prior to do in so. Second, if iFixit just received a parcel with a iPhone 6s that they did not request would they assume its theirs? Order shipments do get mixed up…

      1. ?

        how is this in response to what i wrote
        I said iFixit probably had a NDA from apple if Apple sent the device and by implication they violated it.
        Did you actually understand my post?

      2. I think there is a postal regulation that any unsolicited item sent to an addressee becomes the addressee’s property on receipt w/o requiring payment. Some people are just courteous enough to send it back.

  2. From Apple:
    “the company had violated the developer agreement and revoked the account that was used to obtain the device”

    From iFixit:
    “We weighed the risks, blithely tossed those risks over our shoulder, and tore down the Apple TV anyway.”

    Obviously iFixit knew there were risks and basically said “Fu@k You Apple”. They should have been grateful about getting a free TV in advance. What morons!

    1. iFixit is a lifesaver for may people. It shows you how to take apart your MacBook Pro when you spilled coffee and need to replace that keyboard; or how to upgrade an unupgradable RAM (or HD) on an iMac. They provide a very valuable service and they just got a bit too excited with the yet-to-go-on-sale AppleTV.

      1. Like you, I really like iFixIt. I happen to think that Apple deserves to seek recourse on this matter, but in a different way. Imagine that, requiring “permission” to program a computer!

        This is a quarrel between them and Apple, but whither the customer who wants to get the iFixIt App.

        Again, as per our prior conversation, this is censorship, and in this case, it’s Apple serving Apple’s interests, in a totally autocratic fashion, and not the customer’s.

        1. They aren’t being punished for tearing it down. They violated the terms of their NDA. Apple’s recourse is deleting their developer account. The app was tied to it and so it died. They could have a third party reissue it under their dev account. Assuming Apple provided the hardware free of charge (unlikely) they also would demand it back in its original condition, which would be impossible and could incur expense to iFixit. It’s more likely iFixit paid for it, so they were entitled to tear down, but they couldn’t legally disclose what they found until the info is public (the product is released).

  3. Well I, for one, would be fascinated to see the gubbins inside these devices, wouldn’t you?

    Someone at Apple made a boo-boo sending them out to a tear-down outfit (also a regular developer).

    Sure, iFixIt should’ve waited to publish too, fair enough. They were too enthusiastic.

    Personally, I hope Apple will forgive their over-excitement quite soon but somehow I doubt it. Once you break their T&C’s, you’re off the list.

    Have mercy, O Great Apple!

    1. No, even if Apple purposely sent the device to iFixit, it gave them no right to tear it down. Nor the right to post the process of tearing it down online. Stupid move by iFixit.

  4. My understanding is that Apple held a lottery to select the developers that could have a pre-release Apple TV. It was a bad method, and I’ve heard a lot of developers complaining that the wrong “developers” obtained hardware. This account about iFixit verifies those claims. Apple had a limited number of TV units to supply. I’m sure they were trying to be fair, and avoid perceptions of favoritism, but a lottery that does assure that the limited resources get into appropriate/valuable hands is just stupid. iFixit it should have held on to that story until the TV is publicly released, but Apple was really dumb to give them a unit.

  5. iFixit is a great resource. Their business is essentially tearing down every piece of Apple hardware and showing you how to do it yourself. If you ever need to disassemble ANY Apple device, iFixit.com will have step-by-step instructions, complete with list of tools you’ll need (and links to buy them, if they are specialised).

    The only sin iFixit committed here was publishing the teardown before the device went on sale. This is THE thing that got Apple pissed off.

    1. Wrong. They violated the terms of the agreement which was that the apple tv was only to be used for testing apps. They knew they violated it and did it on purpose. So screw them.

  6. Before anyone criticizes Apple for this, remember that iFixit was bound by their developer agreement with Apple. This Apple TV was a developer unit, not the final released product. They broke the rules, and Apple responded properly. iFixit is awesome. I have two of their toolsets, and I used their repair manuals, but they screwed up. They deserve this. They should not be allowed to simply disregard their agreements because they wanted to.

  7. Apple acquires a lot of companies and ought to just buy iFixit.

    That will “fix it.”

    Apple needs to provide the instructions, tools and parts that iFixit sells.

    Entirely logical to me.

    1. Apple wouldn’t need to buy the company. They could simply decide to supply tools and it’s pretty obvious that they already know how to take apart their own products. There was a time when Apple’s official service manuals could be downloaded and they offered extremely clear and detailed instructions that could be followed by anyone with a little experience of that sort of work. It’s obvious that comparable manuals already exist for all modern Apple products.

      However I very much doubt that Apple would want to imply that customers should open up Apple products and tinker with them.

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