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Apple Taking Heat for Switching to Custom Screws on iPhone 4 and Portables

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Kyle Wiens of repair site iFixit published a blog post today outlining Apple's increasing usage of custom "pentalobular" screws on the iPhone and other devices, with the company presumably making the shift in order to make it more difficult for users to open up their devices for repair or modification purposes.
Apple is switching to a new type of tamper-resistant screw. This is not a standard Torx, and there are no readily available screwdrivers that can remove it. This isn't the first time they've used this type of screw - it first appeared in the mid-2009 MacBook Pro to prevent you from replacing the the battery - and Apple is using a similar screw on the outer case of the current MacBook Air. This screw is the primary reason the 11" MacBook Air earned a lousy repairability score of 4 out of 10 in our teardown last October.

Apple chose this fastener specifically because it was new, guaranteeing repair tools would be both rare and expensive. Shame on them.
Wiens notes that there "isn't a single reputable supplier" offering the screwdrivers used by Apple technicians to handle the pentalobular screws.




Apple has used the pentalobular screws in iPhone 4s sold in some international markets since the device's release, although iPhone 4s sold in the U.S. have for most of the device's history used standard Phillips screws more accessible to users. But numerous reports have surfaced from users who have taken their iPhones in for service only to discover that Apple has replaced their Phillips screws with the new pentalobular ones.

In order to assist customers interested in opening up their iPhone 4s, iFixit is offering an "iPhone 4 Liberation Kit" priced at $9.95, containing a screwdriver that will fit the new pentalobular screws (although not an exact fit), two replacement Phillips screws, and a regular #00 Phillips screwdriver.

Article Link: Apple Taking Heat for Switching to Custom Screws on iPhone 4 and Portables
 

147798

Suspended
Dec 29, 2007
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And this is really lame! If you can't get the appropriate driver, then you should stay out of the case!
 
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wordoflife

macrumors 604
Jul 6, 2009
7,563
34
I guess it doesn't really matter on the iPhone 4 because you can't replace the screen yourself anyways but there are people who replace their batteries. Also, that would suck if they do it on the Mac. Say you have a broken water damaged MBP and you have nothing to lose while opening it up ... well now you can't.

I'm sure people are going to start making screw drivers for this screw if Apple continues with this.
 
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nikhsub1

macrumors 68020
Jun 19, 2007
2,144
1,182
mmmm... jessica.'s beer...
Waiting for people to start defending this move. I mean, it's one thing to ship ALL phones with these screws but quite another to replace regular screws with these in customers phones. I would be pissed.
 
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darkplanets

macrumors 6502a
Nov 6, 2009
853
0
I find it hard to believe that people are having a hard time with these screws due to lack of tools... manufacturing an appropriate screwdriver shouldn't exactly be a challenge, I mean really, this is a mass produced basic fabrication part that's not complicated at all...
 
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macus3r

macrumors regular
Aug 30, 2005
105
28
This prevents a lot of illegal/unauthorized repairs from happening. It also ensures users are going to the retail stores or authorized repair centers for repair.

For each and every iPhone manufactured, i'm sure apple wants to keep a running record of all and any repairs... illegal repairs do not add to a manufactured unit's service history.

apple wants to build a flawless device. when other people are servicing the product w/o providing the manufacturer a diagnosis and repair history, apple loses this vital information. This information is extremely valuable for any kind of manufacturer.
 
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grapemac

macrumors regular
Jul 10, 2008
107
0
Yeah, those screws have been used in the UK marketing photos since the phone was announced. I always thought they were quite pretty myself. I'd just assumed Apple had used them for aesthetics.
 
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geko29

macrumors 6502
Nov 10, 2008
290
1
Now that I look, the replacement iP4 I got back in november has these pentalobular screws, whereas my original one had the Philips.
 
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Thunderhawks

Suspended
Feb 17, 2009
4,057
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Shame on them?

What business is it of anybody to tell Apple what to do?

They don't want people to open their stuff.

For the few technically inclined this is not a problem, (we'll get in there).

For the rest of all the users it's a non issue.
 
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VanMac

macrumors 6502a
May 26, 2005
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Rampaging Tokyo
I think they look kinda cool. I'd rather they be torx, as I have those tools, but no big deal to pick something up if you needed it.
 
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jav6454

macrumors P6
Nov 14, 2007
16,972
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Apple can do what they please on the device before it gets to my hands. If they want to change something when repairing it, then they have to ask me first before they do it.

That's the point the video makes. The silent changing of the screws without telling people.
 
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inket

macrumors regular
Dec 23, 2009
142
39
"Boohoo, Apple is bad! Why don't you go ahead and buy our $10 screwdriver it'll fix all your problems !"

You guys realize they're trying to make a story out of nothing just to sell their "Liberation Kit" right ?
 
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shen

macrumors 6502
Jun 19, 2003
390
0
thank god! I know i need to open my phone, 7 maybe 8 times a day average. Mostly to replace the battery and reset it after bad jail breaks.....

this is about as important as DRM. the people who want to get past it usually can, the people who can't, don't know about it, don't care, and likely shouldn't....
 
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tagy

macrumors regular
Feb 3, 2003
227
18
UK
This prevents a lot of illegal/unauthorized repairs from happening. It also ensures users are going to the retail stores or authorized repair centers for repair.

For each and every iPhone manufactured, i'm sure apple wants to keep a running record of all and any repairs... illegal repairs do not add to a manufactured unit's service history.

illegal repair? what law is being broken?

This is a non-story really, anyone can have a tool machined to fit any screw head.
 
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Stridder44

macrumors 68040
Mar 24, 2003
3,971
170
California
This prevents a lot of illegal/unauthorized repairs from happening. It also ensures users are going to the retail stores or authorized repair centers for repair.

For each and every iPhone manufactured, i'm sure apple wants to keep a running record of all and any repairs... illegal repairs do not add to a manufactured unit's service history.

apple wants to build a flawless device. when other people are servicing the product w/o providing the manufacturer a diagnosis and repair history, apple loses this vital information. This information is extremely valuable for any kind of manufacturer.

Jesus you sound like a walking PR representative. I love Apple too guys, but there is some serious brainwashing going on around here.
 
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Soundburst

macrumors 6502a
Oct 4, 2006
691
20
I'm confused:

Pentalobe screw drivers aren't available?

Erm. . . you can buy them on that very site! You can buy them in hardware stores :D:D:D:D

Anti Apple Story Fail.
 
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j-a-x

macrumors 68000
Apr 15, 2005
1,533
251
Houston, Texas
Give it two days and there will be a $2 screwdriver on the market that will work. I don't really care because I never had the need to open an iPhone up, and by the time I do, these things will be easy enough to find.
 
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Journojulz

macrumors 65816
Oct 6, 2008
1,077
4
Hmmm. One group of uppity geeks complaining about other geeks being uppity - and both making extra cash out of it. Meh.
 
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Fuchal

macrumors 68020
Sep 30, 2003
2,467
719
I think the point is: When my phone is out of warranty, I would like the option to replace a part myself, instead of chuck it in the trash and run to the Apple store to buy a new phone.
 
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Tones2

macrumors 65816
Jan 8, 2009
1,471
0
"Not an exact fit". Jeez. How hard would it be be to design a screwdriver that fit the shape exactly when you have the actual hole dimensions and pattern right in front of you?

Tony
 
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