Apple Proprietary Software Can Brick These Macs After Undergoing Third-Party Repairs

Apple is often frowned upon in the tech world for many reasons, one of the major reasons being its famously closed ecosystem. Apple has often gone out of its way to ensure the use of approved accessories and software as well as ensuring if your device needs repair, you have to come to an Apple authorized service center. Apple's policy means you can’t simply order parts and fix your Apple gear, in many instances, as you would if you were using a Windows machine or Android smartphone. Apple famously did this with iOS 11.3 when it bricked iPhones with third-party screen repairs.

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Apple is now using proprietary software that will end any chance of independently repairing a new MacBook Pro or iMac Pro. This diagnostic software must be run on any 2018 MacBook Pro or iMac Pro after a repair, or the notebook will be inoperative. An internal Apple document obtained by Motherboard reads, "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."

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The document was reportedly distributed to Apple Authorized Service Providers late last month. The policy applies to any Apple computer with the T2 security chip. Other than the new MacBook Pro machines, that security chip is also found inside the iMac Pro. Components that will trip the diagnostic software and brick MacBooks include replacement of the display, logic board, top case (with the keyboard, touchpad, and internal housing), and Touch ID board.

On the iMac Pro, replacing the logic board or flash storage will brick the machine without the proprietary software. The software required to be run on the machine is called Apple Service Toolkit 2. That software is only available to people working for Apple-authorized service facilities. Apple Service Toolkit 2 reportedly performs a health check of software and hardware that includes checks on memory, display, power adapters, cooling, and other components. This move will certainly rankle lawmakers in the 19 states that are considering "Right to Repair" legislation and give Apple detractors one more reason to despise the company.