The system combines software security locks, various diagnostic requirements, and Apple’s T2 security chips. They mean that Macs stop working if they’re operated on by someone not using Apple’s proprietary repair tools.
ut Motherboard, in a report published Monday, points out that it has made it more difficult to “breathe new life into old MacBook Pros that have been recycled but could be easily repaired and used for years were it not for these locks.”
The report quotes a recent tweet by John Bumstead, a MacBook refurbisher and owner of the RDKL INC repair store. “The irony is that I’d like to do the responsible thing and wipe user data from these machines,” Bumstead wrote. “But Apple won’t let me. Literally the only option is to destroy these beautiful $3,000 MacBooks and recover the $12/ea they are worth as scrap.”
The locks mean that people who don’t reset their Macs before selling them essentially render them useless. “Recyclers are obviously prohibited from selling computers with user data on them,” Bumstead told Motherboard. “But now they literally have to scrap the boards because Apple is giving them no way to remove user data if they don’t have passwords, as they most often don’t.”
T2 security chip: Apple and the Right to Repair
Apple introduced the T2 security chip in its 2018 MacBook Pros. It has since rolled them out to other models. The T2 security chip makes it impossible to replace a faulty part on a Mac without the correct software.
In some ways, this is entirely in keeping with Apple’s proprietary approach to technology. In the early days of the Mac, just opening it up would void your warranty. Apple has also spent money lobbying against Right to Repair legislation. This included opposing a proposed Right to Repair bill in Nebraska. Apple said giving users and third-party repairers access to Apple components and service manuals would make the state a “Mecca for bad actors.” When it comes to Apple hardware, the company frequently glues components in place. This makes Apple devices notoriously tough to upgrade.