Whether it’s the need to protect their products’ security and integrity, or just a slimy business practice, Apple is one of the most prevalent of modern tech companies that are clamping down on third-party repairs of their devices. Proponents of the “right to repair” were alarmed earlier this week when leaked Apple service documents indicated that the latest MacBook Pros and iMac Pro would be left inoperable after repairs from unauthorized service providers.
Reports detailed that computers using Apple’s new T2 security chip — specifically the iMac Pro and 2018 MacBook Pro — would need special diagnostic software if certain key components are replaced. If these repairs are performed by someone other than an authorized service center, which wouldn’t have Apple’s proprietary tools, the machines will be left in a locked state without the software.
Apple has yet to comment on these reports directly, but the teardown and repair experts at iFixit have some good news: this new diagnostics and repair software has not yet been released or activated, and third-party repairs on the 2018 MacBook Pro are still possible — for now. The company brought a brand-new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and successfully opened and replaced the display without issue.
The part swap was made with an identical MacBook Pro model from earlier this year, which also saw its logic board replaced and then updated to the new macOS Mojave, and this machine also continue to work without problems.
This is good news, as the “secret repair kill switch” is said to kick-in if the new MacBook Pro’s display, logic board, top case, or Touch ID have been replaced. There are already repair limitations for replacements or repairs to TouchID and FaceID sensors in order to protect their security, but for now it seems Apple hasn’t imposed restrictions on self or third-party replacements of other key components.