Resolved We own the hardware, but not the software

revmacian

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 20, 2018
752
676
USA
I see many people complaining about how their Apple gear isn’t performing as expected and I think it might help if more people understood one very important aspect of their Apple device.

When you buy an Apple device and go through the setup procedure you will be greeted with the software license agreement at some point. This software license agreement outlines important information about the device and its operating system. Apple has made their various software license agreements available online, and they can be found by following the link at the bottom of this post, but they all begin by making one thing very clear; we own the hardware but we do not own the software.. Apple always retains ownership of the software. As an example, I will post the first paragraph of the iPhone software license agreement:

1. General
(a) The software (including Boot ROM code, embedded software and third party software), documentation, interfaces, content, fonts and any data that came with your Device (“Original Apple Software”), as may be updated or replaced by feature enhancements, software updates or system restore software provided by Apple (“Apple Software Updates”), whether in read only memory, on any other media or in any other form (the Original Apple Software and Apple Software Updates are collectively referred to as the “Apple Software”) are licensed, not sold, to you by Apple Inc. (“Apple”) for use only under the terms of this License. Apple and its licensors retain ownership of the Apple Software itself and reserve all rights not expressly granted to you. You agree that the terms of this License will apply to any Apple-branded app that may be built-in on your Device, unless such app is accompanied by a separate license, in which case you agree that the terms of that license will govern your use of that app.

(b) Apple, at its discretion, may make available future Apple Software Updates. The Apple Software Updates, if any, may not necessarily include all existing software features or new features that Apple releases for newer or other models of Devices. The terms of this License will govern any Apple Software Updates provided by Apple, unless such Apple Software Update is accompanied by a separate license, in which case you agree that the terms of that license will govern

(c) If you use the express setup feature to set up a new Device based on your existing Device, you agree that the terms of this License will govern your use of the Apple Software on your new Device, unless it is accompanied by a separate license, in which case you agree that the terms of that license will govern your use of that Apple Software. Your Device will periodically check with Apple for Apple Software Updates. If an update is available, the update may automatically download and install onto your Device and, if applicable, your peripheral devices. By using the Apple Software, you agree that Apple may download and install automatic Apple Software Updates onto your Device and your peripheral devices. You can turn off automatic updates altogether at any time by changing the Automatic Updates settings found within Settings > General > Software Update.


What this is saying, as I understand it, is that we buy an Apple product and we own the hardware but we do not own the software.. we own a license to use the software. Apple retains ownership of the software, it is their property and they can do what they wish with their own property. There is a big difference between owning property and using someone else’s property. We can do whatever we wish with our own property but there are certain stipulations we must follow when using someone else’s property.

I don’t always like everything that Apple does, but knowing the above information helps me to be more flexible and understanding.

**********​

TL;DR version: We own our devices but we don’t own the software. The software on our devices is owned by someone else and they can do with it as they wish.

All of Apple’s software license agreements can be found here: https://www.apple.com/legal/sla/
 

revmacian

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 20, 2018
752
676
USA
Isn't that the way it is with pretty much all software? You don't own the software; you have a license to use it.
Yes, it is indeed. But, I think many people lose sight of that and others don’t even understand it because they simply click “Agree” without reading the license. I see it all the time, people saying “this is my device, I bought it and I can do what I want with it”.. they don’t understand that part of that device (the software) isn’t theirs.
 

ejb190

macrumors 65816
This is the "new frontier" of non-ownership rights and it extends way beyond just software for computers. The auto industry (Tesla, namely) and farm equipment manufacturers are also in this game. The dirty secret about anything with a motor is that you practically give away the equipment so you can make your money on parts and repairs. So you use planned obsolescence (quit supporting your own equipment), limit access to software so you have to get a trained technician, and choke third-party access to parts and you have a surefire way to keep your customers under your thumb.

It's almost like they are stealing the subscription based business models from Apple, Netflix, Adobe, Pandora, Microsoft, etc.
 

StellarVixen

macrumors 68000
Mar 1, 2018
1,957
3,178
Earth
Even the the GNU GPL doesn't make you the owner of the software, only the user. You are free to share and modify, but the original author is still the copyright holder.
 
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mmomega

macrumors 68040
Dec 30, 2009
3,159
1,369
DFW, TX
The bold text states they may download and install automatic updates, etc immediately followed by -> you can disable this.

People don't have to understand they do not own the software. Is that important?
They can, for all intensive purposes do whatever they want with their phone, laptop, car, shoes, so on and so forth unless they break laws and are caught.
 

revmacian

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 20, 2018
752
676
USA
People don't have to understand they do not own the software. Is that important?
They can, for all intensive purposes do whatever they want with their phone, laptop, car, shoes, so on and so forth unless they break laws and are caught.
But that’s just the point, part of it is NOT theirs and never will be. Some people get upset when updates break things and they blame Apple for breaking their phone. I think they wouldn’t get so upset if they actually realized that the operating system isn’t theirs, it belongs to Apple and Apple can do what they want with it. But, they usually avoid this type of subject because their minds don’t want to accept the discussion/material.
 
Last edited:

MacUser2525

macrumors 68000
Mar 17, 2007
1,773
195
Canada
When you own the hardware you get to do with it what you wish. I cannot put a different operating system on the phone, ipad or any of them other gadgets they are locked from doing so. Only on the computer do you have the ability to do this. With the computers you are locked out from replacing parts due to the way they deliberately designed and are built ensuring when a component fails the computer is useless to you. No ownership their either.