Apple’s Proprietary Software Puts Restrictions on Third-Party Repair Options for 2018 MacBook Pro and iMac Pro

It isn’t much of a surprise that Apple would like its customer base to use its own retail stores to handle repairs of its hardware when necessary, but sometimes third-party options are the only ones readily available for customers.

In corresponding reports on Thursday from MacRumors and Motherboard, it sounds like Apple is implementing new rules to put new restrictions on independent repair outlets, which could lead to even more headaches for customers down the road. Both publications got their hands on internal documentation from Apple that outlines the company’s proprietary software diagnostics tool that, if not used in key repairs, will lead to an “inoperative system and an incomplete repair”.

This means that if a repair is required for the logic board, Touch ID board, display assembly, the keyboard or trackpad on the 2018 MacBook Pro and it is not checked by this proprietary software diagnostics tool, it can render the repair moot. For the iMac Pro, though, the lock will engage if the logic board is replaced without the diagnostic tool being run, and it won’t be accessible again until the machine is checked by the new diagnostic tool at an Authorized Service Provider.

The name of the tool is “Apple Service Toolkit 2”.

The goal appears to be keeping a tight lid for security purposes. There is no doubt that Apple’s own proprietary chipsets now handle quite a bit of the handling of data and other essential routines on the current Mac lineups, which includes disc encryption and the secure enclave in these machines. Apple requiring an Apple-approved diagnostics check is certainly not out of the realm of possibility for the company.

Our Take

Considering hardware vulnerability and security is in the news today, this revelation in Apple’s efforts to help keep things secure is timely, to say the least. Will it go over well with everyone? Of course not. But Apple trying to keep its hardware locked down is nothing new.

[via MacRumors; Motherboard]