comScore

Apple Quietly Starts Tamper-Proofing Devices with Obscure Screws

Apple has always been known for their “Walled Garden” approach to software, locking out anything they don’t see fit, but have now begun to prevent users from tampering with hardware as well. When visiting Japan for the release of the iPhone 4, the chaps at iFixit — a company well known for their gadget tear-downs — noticed that Apple had begun to replace the standard #00 Phillips screws with peculiar “Pentalobe” screws. That name sounds unfamiliar because the screws are one-of-a-kind, and (as far as anyone can tell) are only being used by Apple.

Many iPhone 4s being shipped from Apple seem to have this unique screw, and customers who bring their device into the Apple Store to be repaired are being bamboozled as well, since techs are replacing user friendly Phillips-head screws with vile Pentalobes. A variation of the offending screw has also been found on mid-2009 MacBook Pros and the new MacBook Air.

iFixit has created an “iPhone 4 Liberation Kit” for users who want to reclaim their devices, which includes a Pentalobe driver, replacement Phillips-head screws, and a Phillips driver. Apple devices rarely need to be cracked open, but repairing a broken screen with parts from eBay is much cheaper than being gouged by Apple.

Apple — nor any other company — should be able to dictate how customers use their gadgets. Car hoods pop open with zero effort, and electronics shouldn’t be any different.

iFixit breaks it down:

(via iFixit)

Have a tip we should know? tips@themarysue.com

Filed Under:

Follow The Mary Sue: