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iFixit Indicates Third-Party 2018 MacBook Pro, iMac Pro Repairs Still Possible For Now

Earlier this week, MacRumors obtained an internal document from Apple stating that Macs with the Apple T2 chip, including the iMac Pro and 2018 MacBook Pro, must pass Apple diagnostics for certain repairs to be completed.


The document states:
For Macs with the Apple T2 chip, the repair process is not complete for certain parts replacements until the AST 2 System Configuration suite has been run. Failure to perform this step will result in an inoperative system and an incomplete repair.

• For notebooks: Display assembly, logic board, top case, and Touch ID board
• For desktops: Logic board and flash storage
Apple's diagnostic software is limited to internal use by Genius Bars at Apple Stores, Apple Authorized Service Providers, and qualifying institutions, suggesting that independent repair shops without Apple certification would be unable to repair certain parts on the iMac Pro and 2018 MacBook Pro going forward.

Moreover, the document reignited a debate about planned obsolescence, as there were concerns that when Apple stops servicing the iMac Pro and 2018 MacBook Pro, repairs through alternative channels might not be possible.

The news was quickly opposed by "Right to Repair" activists who believe that Apple and other device manufacturers should be legally required to make replacement parts, repair guides, and tools available to the public. Apple has and continues to actively oppose "Right to Repair" legislation in the United States.

Those activists will be delighted to hear that, for whatever reason, what Apple said in its document isn't actually the case right now.

After our report was published, the repair experts at iFixit swapped out the display and logic board on a 2018 MacBook Pro, and the notebook remained operational without being subjected to Apple's diagnostic software.

iFixit swapping out parts on 2018 MacBook Pro

iFixit is not an Apple Authorized Service Provider, so at this time, it appears that independent repair shops should remain able to repair the iMac Pro and 2018 MacBook Pro without issue. It's unclear why Apple's document suggests otherwise, but it's possible the requirement could kick in at a later date.

iFixit:
So why is Apple doing this? It could simply be a mechanism for tracking parts used by their authorized network, to check quality or replacement rates. It's possible that units with swapped parts may operate normally, but still report a failure in Apple diagnostic tests for having 'unauthorized' components installed—much like earlier units did on earlier versions of AST for third party HDD/SSD, RAM and batteries.
Apple did not respond to our request for comment.

Related Roundups: MacBook Pro, iMac Pro
Tag: iFixit


Top Rated Comments

(View all)

10 weeks ago
The activists are right on this one. Apple should be forced to make their products repairable.
Rating: 50 Votes
10 weeks ago
Yet another "lovely" "benefit" of the T2 chip. In the name of "security", you only get to repair your machine on Apple's watch. Thereby making it a paperweight if anything goes wrong once it's deemed obsolete in 5-7 years. "But think of the security benefits!" People will seriously embrace all kinds of stupid in the name of security.
Rating: 42 Votes
10 weeks ago

I keep reading this about “paperweight” for a machine that’s 5-7yrs old.

What kind of performance do you expect a computer to have in 5-7yrs from now? Web technologies most likely will change, software component requirements not to mention security updates may no longer be available by Apple in this case for a machine that old.

Back in 2008 I purchased a Ti_Book (PowerBook titanium) G4 at 450Mhz with 1GB RAM and 50GB HDD as a primary machine to refresh my skills in OSX after 2yr a sense from that OS at that time. Safari could not be updated and it was VERY evident that surfing pages using Flash was a serious pain! Performance in loading the page was super slow like AOL 1997 painfully slow!! This was just web browsing; email worked yet again very slow 10Mb/speeds (I’m not sure it had 100mb/s connectivity).

I love that machine which was heavily damaged while moving. I’ll buy another in mint condition if I come across it again for nostalgic reasons but I’m NOT expecting anything more than email capability with it. I can’t even imagine back in 2002 what performance early FCP admins got out of it ... it’s unfathomable.

Of course software and web HTML5 technologies seems to be stabilizing and not jumping about as fast as early 2000’ but I have to ask you what kind of performance do you expect out of a 5-7yr old machine with what is unknown in that timeframe?

I don't know buddy, have you seen the Mac Mini that they still sell at full price with 4 year / 5 year old hardware?.

I expect a computer that I bought to be repairable even after Apple or another company has released new ones. Nobody really needs the latest and greatest computers. I am using a 6 year old MBP with NO ISSUES right now.
Why am I using a 6 year old MBP? Because Apple's new MBP is really a piece of garbage. I want a return to common sense "PRO" computers at the very least. Pros should be able to fix their own computers, even if it requires special tools and software, as well as the ability to upgrade ram and storage AFTER the purchase of the device.

Apple has extremely poor "business ethics", especially now that Steve is gone [not that he was a saint, because he wasn't]. Apple could certainly use his innovation to release a quality computing product though, not everybody uses phones and tablets. Developers need a quality keyboard and don't need a paper thin computer. Who here has tried to replace a MBP keyboard recently?

Also who has seen the hassle Linus has had to go through to get his iMac Pro repaired. Apple refused to repair and it and said he needed to buy a new one. He ended up getting Louis Rossmann to help repair the computer. Apple does not want the customer repairing devices, they want to be able to force customers to constantly upgrade their computers that really have out of date poor quality hardware.
*Awaits the political slaughter from fanboys that I must have certainly ignited*
I miss the iBook days to be honest.
Rating: 27 Votes
10 weeks ago

I keep reading this about “paperweight” for a machine that’s 5-7yrs old.

What kind of performance do you expect a computer to have in 5-7yrs from now? Web technologies most likely will change, software component requirements not to mention security updates may no longer be available by Apple in this case for a machine that old.

Back in 2008 I purchased a Ti_Book (PowerBook titanium) G4 at 450Mhz with 1GB RAM and 50GB HDD as a primary machine to refresh my skills in OSX after 2yr a sense from that OS at that time. Safari could not be updated and it was VERY evident that surfing pages using Flash was a serious pain! Performance in loading the page was super slow like AOL 1997 painfully slow!! This was just web browsing; email worked yet again very slow 10Mb/speeds (I’m not sure it had 100mb/s connectivity).

I love that machine which was heavily damaged while moving. I’ll buy another in mint condition if I come across it again for nostalgic reasons but I’m NOT expecting anything more than email capability with it. I can’t even imagine back in 2002 what performance early FCP admins got out of it ... it’s unfathomable.

Of course software and web HTML5 technologies seems to be stabilizing and not jumping about as fast as early 2000’ but I have to ask you what kind of performance do you expect out of a 5-7yr old machine with what is unknown in that timeframe?


Well, I upgraded my dad’s 2011 MBP with an SSD and it runs like a champ.
Rating: 23 Votes
10 weeks ago

I keep reading this about “paperweight” for a machine that’s 5-7yrs old.

What kind of performance do you expect a computer to have in 5-7yrs from now? Web technologies most likely will change, software component requirements not to mention security updates may no longer be available by Apple in this case for a machine that old.

Back in 2008 I purchased a Ti_Book (PowerBook titanium) G4 at 450Mhz with 1GB RAM and 50GB HDD as a primary machine to refresh my skills in OSX after 2yr a sense from that OS at that time. Safari could not be updated and it was VERY evident that surfing pages using Flash was a serious pain! Performance in loading the page was super slow like AOL 1997 painfully slow!! This was just web browsing; email worked yet again very slow 10Mb/speeds (I’m not sure it had 100mb/s connectivity).

I love that machine which was heavily damaged while moving. I’ll buy another in mint condition if I come across it again for nostalgic reasons but I’m NOT expecting anything more than email capability with it. I can’t even imagine back in 2002 what performance early FCP admins got out of it ... it’s unfathomable.

Of course software and web HTML5 technologies seems to be stabilizing and not jumping about as fast as early 2000’ but I have to ask you what kind of performance do you expect out of a 5-7yr old machine with what is unknown in that timeframe?



The things that most people do with computers:

Web, games, email, spreadsheets


Have not fundamentally changed in 10+ years.

Not have computers.

The web browsing experience on an XP desktop in 2008 was exactly the same as Win 10 on a desktop today.

There is zero reason to obsolete old hardware today.
Rating: 23 Votes
10 weeks ago

What kind of performance do you expect a computer to have in 5-7yrs from now? Web technologies most likely will change, software component requirements not to mention security updates may no longer be available by Apple in this case for a machine that old.

My 2011 MBP still works fine and is currently still my main work machine because I was able to add an SSD. Not supported by Mojave but High Sierra and Windows 10 still run fine on it.

You really are blowing things up out of proportion. There's an Apple-certified course to become an accredited repairer. It costs $150.

That course doesn't get you access to Apple's diagnostic software as explained in the article.

Apple's diagnostic software is limited to internal use by Genius Bars at Apple Stores, Apple Authorized Service Providers, and qualifying institutions ('https://www.apple.com/lae/support/programs/ssa/'), suggesting that independent repair shops without Apple certification would be unable to repair certain parts on the iMac Pro and 2018 MacBook Pro going forward.

Rating: 19 Votes
10 weeks ago

I keep reading this about “paperweight” for a machine that’s 5-7yrs old.

What kind of performance do you expect a computer to have in 5-7yrs from now? Web technologies most likely will change, software component requirements not to mention security updates may no longer be available by Apple in this case for a machine that old.

Back in 2008 I purchased a Ti_Book (PowerBook titanium) G4 at 450Mhz with 1GB RAM and 50GB HDD as a primary machine to refresh my skills in OSX after 2yr a sense from that OS at that time. Safari could not be updated and it was VERY evident that surfing pages using Flash was a serious pain! Performance in loading the page was super slow like AOL 1997 painfully slow!! This was just web browsing; email worked yet again very slow 10Mb/speeds (I’m not sure it had 100mb/s connectivity).

I love that machine which was heavily damaged while moving. I’ll buy another in mint condition if I come across it again for nostalgic reasons but I’m NOT expecting anything more than email capability with it. I can’t even imagine back in 2002 what performance early FCP admins got out of it ... it’s unfathomable.

Of course software and web HTML5 technologies seems to be stabilizing and not jumping about as fast as early 2000’ but I have to ask you what kind of performance do you expect out of a 5-7yr old machine with what is unknown in that timeframe?


5-7 years is a reasonable timeframe to be worried about in terms of the lifespan of a computer. You quote your example of a G4 computer (slow and old tech at the time of release, a whole different architecture behind what we use now).

My example is that my laptop is a late 2008 15” MacBook Pro. The battery doesn’t last and I’ve had to replace the charger. It has an SSD now though and for browsing, Netflix, Word/Pages, Excel and coding, it’s still perfectly up to the task. It will be ten years old next month.

My desktop is a 2009 Mac Pro upgraded with the 2010 firmware and some hexacore processors to be a 12 core machine. It has a GTX 970, so is on a par or faster than the current gem Mac Pro in most things. It’s a 8-9 year old machine.

My monitor is a 2007 30” Apple Cinema Display because it’s taken over a decade for a monitor that has both a higher resolution and a larger physical size to be released (the Dell 8k one which is out of my monitor budget for now).

The improvements in processor speeds and overall computational power is happening at a much slower pace these days so people upgrade less frequently. In order to force more frequent updates, planned obsolescence is a tactic that Apple appears to be using to get around this.
Rating: 18 Votes
10 weeks ago
The reason they are doing this is to protect the parts in case somebody is trying to break the encryption. It doesn't take a rocket scientist. Im a bit disappointed that this didn't get more overtly mentioned as a valid reason in the article.
Rating: 17 Votes
10 weeks ago

The reason they are doing this is to protect the parts in case somebody is trying to break the encryption. It doesn't take a rocket scientist. Im a bit disappointed that this didn't get more overtly mentioned as a valid reason in the article.



While nobody is faulting them for protecting the encryption aspects, including the "Top Case" which includes, keyboard, trackpad, SPEAKER, in the list of things you can't repair is ridiculous. How does replacing a speaker or trackpad have anything to do with protecting the encryption and user data?
Rating: 16 Votes
10 weeks ago
If Apple want to have a problem in EU go for it. Pseudo "eco friendly" company where cost of iPhone case repair is $550.
This is a shame that fully functionally iPhone need go to the trash or be recycled while glass might be easily replaced by cheap 5$ matte plastic part that can be recycled. Greedy company that pollute Earth and think that recycling works everywhere. This woman in ecorags from keynote lives in some isolated Hollywood bubble like Jetsons. The most advanced company like Apple cannot (in fact they do not want) build a slim laptop with two memory slots and pcie ssd slot like HP EliteBook 1050 or Lenovo X1. They even cannot design a keyboard that might be easily replaced. Maybe time to ask Space X how to design a top case where keyboard cost 35$ and can be replaced easily assuming the same dimensions. Elon will bring a product ready to production after one week.
Rating: 16 Votes

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