Apple confirms T2 security chip affects third-party repairs of new Macs

Apple’s annual October hardware event wrapped last month with the announcements of a new MacBook Air and a revamped Mac mini. Both computers, like the newest MacBook Pro and last year’s iMac Pro, come with Apple’s security-focused T2 chip. The T2 chips introduction to Mac devices creates concerns & issues for third party repairs.

The T2 is “a guillotine that [Apple is] holding over” product owners, iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens told The Verge. That’s because it’s the key to locking down Mac products by only allowing select replacement parts into the machine when they’ve come from an authorized source — a process that the T2 chip now checks for.  “It’s very possible the goal is to exert more control over who can perform repairs by limiting access to parts,” Wiens said. “This could be an attempt to grab more market share from the independent repair providers. Or it could be a threat to keep their authorized network in line. We just don’t know.”

Apple using a software diagnostic tools to repair MacBook Pros and iMac Pros that, if not used on key part repairs, will result in an “inoperative system and an incomplete repair,” reads a document distributed to Apple’s Authorized Service Providers.

Recent revelations about the T2 have Apple critics concerned that it could be used to further shut out third-party repair services. First revealed last month by MacRumors and Motherboard, both of which got their hands on an internal Apple document, the T2 chip could render a computer inoperable if, say, the logic board is replaced, unless the chip recognizes a special piece of diagnostic software has been run. That means if you wanted to repair certain key parts of your MacBook, iMac, or Mac mini, you would need to go to an official Apple Store or a repair shop that’s part of the company’s Authorized Service Provider (ASP) network. If you want to repair or rebuild portions of those devices on your own, you simply can’t — at least, according to this document.

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