Apple's diabolical plan to screw your iPhone

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95 Responses to “Apple's diabolical plan to screw your iPhone”

  1. Isoko says:

    Yep. This seems about par for the course for Apple. Another reason to feel good about my jailbroken, secondhand iPhone: I’m still stickin’ it to the man!

  2. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    Quoting from the Maker’s Bill of Rights:

    Special tools are allowed only for darn good reasons. Profiting by selling expensive special tools is wrong and not making special tools available is even worse. Torx is OK; tamperproof is rarely OK.

    http://makezine.com/04/ownyourown/

  3. WeightedCompanionCube says:

    It’s all about the warranty. Keeps the casual tinkerer from attempting to replace things like moisture stickers or the battery (there’s a moisture dot right over the battery connector screw in the iPhone).

    Apple isn’t going to put a big, ugly sticker on their products, so they use non-standard screws.

    This isn’t true anti-tamper. Anti-tamper would be some mechanism by which removing the cover disables the device until an authorized service center resets it. Come to think of it, that would be remarkably easy to do on any product with an internal battery… there’s no way to de-energize the tamper circuit without triggering it.

    This technique is commonly used to protect “secure” hardware and even some consumer goods (many televisions have a photocell somewhere on the HDMI board. If the set is powered up with the photocell exposed to light,the HDMI ports are disabled. Sometimes even the HDCP keys are wiped!)

  4. Modern Jess says:

    And then along comes iFixit to the rescue! For a fee, of course. Because harnessing other people’s outrage is a time-honored part of capitalism.

    • mark zero says:

      “And then along comes iFixit to the rescue! For a fee, of course. Because harnessing other people’s outrage is a time-honored part of capitalism.”

      You take offense at them doing this? Really? Or are you just trolling?

    • Padraig says:

      Seems reasonable that if you want to pay extra to be restricted in what you can do with a device, then you should have to pay more when you realise what a sucker you were!

      It would seem that some people wouldn’t learn the important lesson otherwise.

  5. TabulaRasa says:

    I wonder why there is a patent for a universal screwdriver from 1969, but i was never able to buy one… just had this same idea when i read the article:
    http://www.freepatentsonline.com/3674070.pdf

  6. Anonymous says:

    The best way to stick it to apple is to stop buying their crap. Sure they lead the charge in the advancement of tons of technology design, but they also lead the charge in abusing users and obsolescence. They charge fortunes for their products and limit nearly all the potential functionality so you’re forced to buy the next version. I know it’s hard, but stop giving Apple power to continue to screw it’s customers.

    • Anonymous says:

      Obsolescence isn’t a problem for me. After working in a PC-dominated school board in the Technology Dept. for 6 years, my boss offered me a brand new PC to replace my 11-year old Mac. I said, “No thanks. Macs don’t need to be replaced every two years like yours.” I’ll take a Mac any day.

  7. Anonymous says:

    plus shipping is less than 14 bucks. i looked into becoming apple certified and there are just too many apple specific tools and holders and whatnot that it isn’t worth it.

  8. toxonix says:

    She’s sexy! I didn’t pay any attention to what she was saying because she’s just brimming with sexual energy. I don’t give a shit what Apple does with its screws or customers.

  9. Emo Pinata says:

    This is the same shit that keeps me from buying Sony products.

  10. travtastic says:

    Again. Just don’t buy their locked-down crap. None of it really offers anything that you can’t get for a third of the price, running better and more open software.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Why do companies still pull this crap?

    Nintendo has been using their ridiculous “triwing” for so many years you can buy the drivers almost anywhere, so it’s definitely not just Apple.

    They keep protecting themselves against an amorphous ‘middle’ group that once they disassembled a unit, would probably be unable to reassemble it properly, leading to an additional sale.

    Instead, you have two groups: the majority who were never consider such a thing for many reasons, and a dedicated group of tinkerers who will build their own driver on a CAM if necessary. These people cannot be stopped, and will drill out rivets if necessary.

    So use rivets and be done with it. It’s a lot cheaper.

    NVM, I just figured it out. It’s not to prevent tampering, it’s to indulge some engineer’s theory.

  12. regeya says:

    If they limited this sort of thing to leased devices like the iPhone, I wouldn’t mind as much, but I’ve dealt with oddball, proprietary screws on a variety of Apple computer hardware. Fortunately, so far it’s been possible to use a Phillips, straight, Torx, or hex head.

  13. kmoser says:

    I’ll be impressed when an iPhone owner re-taps the threads in the screw holes to prevent Apple techs from swapping out the screws with these.

  14. A.Lwin says:

    Ok so a ‘Pentalobe’ screwdriver head basically looks like a 5-leaf-clover? I think somewhere in my collection of Victorinox Swiss Army knives there may be something that can turn a ‘Pentalobe’ screw. No need to spend money on iFixit or any thing else.

    Oh and btw, as technology to secure something advances, so too the technology to break that security…or something along those lines. Can’t remember the actual quote.

  15. BookGuy says:

    What I don’t get is the money angle in this. Presumably it costs more money for Apple to buy, use, and tool up their employees for these when compared to garden variety philips. What do they get in return? I can’t imagine most users have any inclination to get inside these themselves anyway. Is deterring the people trying to replace their own batteries really worth it? I’m as distrustful of corporations as the next guy or gal, but in my experience, the scumminess always serves the bottom line, not just cartoony villainy.

    • jordan says:

      Imagine your device goes out of warranty and you want to attempt the repair yourself. In this scenario, you’d have to pay Apple (or an authorized repair shop) just to unscrew the device, even if they do nothing else to it. That’s what Apple is going for, but it’s a pretty blinkered move.

      I preferred the case for the iPod Mini, which you remove with a hair dryer and a thin screwdriver or plastic wedge.

  16. BikerRay says:

    Do Apple have the legal right to modify your phone like this? Well, I guess it’s in the fine print, somewhere, when you get something fixed.
    Ran into a similar annoyance with a hydraulic pump on a log-splitter… Even the guy at the store that supplies all the hydraulic bits had to make his own wrench to fit the bizarre screws holding it together.

  17. jaypee says:

    To be fair to Apple, I’ve dealt with plenty of laptops that were damaged further when their owners tried to “fix” them.

    • Padraig says:

      …but that’s the right of the person to wreck if they see fit. Whether accidentally (because normally their quite skilled) or accidentally (because normally they’re clueless).

      These are not jet engines in personal jet…okay, my point there is not really well made because EVEN if it WAS a jet engine, once I’ve bought it I can pull it apart if I see fit.

      Guess that is my point – I bought it, I should be able to pull it apart if I wish.

  18. syncrotic says:

    And this is why I’ll never buy an Apple product. In both their hardware and software, there is the pervasive design criterion that you will do things the Apple way or not at all. Maybe it’s done to lock in revenue streams, even minor ones like out-of-warranty service, but I think it’s actually just a firm belief that the manufacturer knows best and the user has no business opening the product, much less fixing or enhancing it.

    It’s patronizing, arrogant, and it’s what makes Apple a complete shitbag of a company.

    • mdh says:

      Sounds like you have a lot in common, actually. I’d estimate you’re at least 1/3 of the way to switching, pretty close to 2/3.

  19. mdh says:

    Beware! Jiffy Lube does (or used to do) this same thing to your car!

  20. EdCS says:

    This is the same reason I’ve never purchased an Apple product in my life (well, that and them constantly ripping of UK customers because they think we’re not smart enough to do currency conversion). I will never let private companies retain ownership of items I purchase, or at least I won’t until it becomes standard in which case I’ll have to (because capitalism equals freedom).

  21. Zac says:

    For shame Apple.

    I know you want your products to look pretty, and some times that means they are tough to get into, and I’ve accepted that explanation and let a lot of your shenanigans go but this . . .

    What, don’t you think your products are strong enough to stand on their own? 99% of people are already replacing their iPhones and iPods in two years just because the new stuff you came out with is so awesome. Let this one go. Let the 1% of geeks who want to fiddle with their phones do it with ease. The prols are going to keep upgrading to new products regardless.

  22. uzziboy says:

    Puuullleeezzzz, Although, I have no idea whay you want to get into one. You can easily sand down a torx plus bit to fit. It may take a few minutes but worth it.

  23. Zadaz says:

    I’m always surprised that Apple gets the Super Villain Award for this. I’ve encountered the “high security” star screws on everything from Samsung to Cadillac. This just looks like iFixit trying to sell screwdrivers.

    A better idea: Do a product search for “Torx Tamper Resistant” or “Torx 5 point”. You can easily find a full set of drivers of all sizes for less than iFixit’s 2 screwdriver kit.

    What do I need the screws for if I have the screwdriver?

    • imag says:

      You might want to reread this: “It is not a standard Torx, and there are no readily available screwdrivers that can remove it.”

      • Pantograph says:

        They say they managed removal with a five sided phillips head screwdriver and are willing to sell you one to do the same. A five sided torx would work just as well, probably even better.

      • Zadaz says:

        Yes I know it’s not a standard Torx, (Those have 6 points) it’s a “Secure” Torx, with five. Some even have a pin in the middle.
        If you do the giggle search I prompted you’ll find a $5.99 driver set that can take care of all of these in all products.

  24. Chanfan says:

    OK, iFixit, you are the evil ones here. You assault my geek senses by:
    1) Distracting me with a pretty face;
    2) Distracting me from 1 with a hardware geek girl;
    3) Distracting me from 1 and 2 by showing the iMac suction cup in the background we recently purchased from iFixit (worked like a charm along with their guides, thanks iFixit!)
    4) Distracting me from 1–3 by showing the Red Robot figure in the background.

    Now I can hardly focus enough to be mad at Apple.

  25. eviladrian says:

    Pfft, I didn’t need any special tools to fix my Classic!

    http://img833.imageshack.us/img833/8899/ipood.jpg

  26. Nadreck says:

    T’was ever thus. I remember taking apart a TEAC tape deck in the 80s where the main circuit board was on a glass plate. It was secured with four screws: three turning the normal way and one reverse screw. If you turned that last screw anti-clockwise it would tighten and shatter the glass.

  27. Anonymous says:

    If Apple were the *only* company we could buy such devices from, then this would be a big problem. But it’s not. Granted it is the only company we can buy Apple-OS products from, but that doesn’t seem to be the main issue here. If you want something you can open up, adjust, and fix yourself, we do have many other options — the majority of PCs can be easily opened and hacked apart and back together (even I have done it). I don’t know about the range of PC laptops or Android phones, but if you want a smart phone you can software hack, you get an Android. I think it sucks if you want an Apple product *and* you want to be able to open it up, but Apple isn’t serving that part of the market. Sadly such intrepid people will have to go elsewhere. In the past I have also opened up Powerbooks and Mac desktops, but I can see why with the iPhone and Air they might not want people, even with my skill level, opening those up — they are so small, with everything packed in just so. (I could point out the humor in how we can complain about actually having an iPhone compared to, say, living in Haiti… I’m not saying we should just thank Company X for whatever goodie they decide to allow us to have, I’m saying we have choices about our technology, and a lot of people would love to be in our shoes. Can you complain about it? Sure. Just do it with some perspective.)

  28. imag says:

    Why Apple is supposedly the geek’s choice, I will never understand.

    • Rajio says:

      Huh? when did apple become the geek’s choice? Trustfund hippster’s choice at best. Geeks like things they can do with as they please. Open architecture, et al.

    • Padraig says:

      I know. It’s not.

      It’s the people who are more like the character in “Pretty Fly For A White Guy”.

      Wannabees.

      I know a few geeks who have iPhones, but they admit it’s for the glossy element – there’s nothing geeky about owning an iPhone or any Apple product.

      However, it certainly carries a large NERD factor – and not an intelligent nerd factor at that, more the sad anorak :))

  29. Utenzil says:

    aH HA! this is the *real* reason Jobs took a leave of absence: Pentalobegate.

  30. jerry_t says:

    OK, I’ll say it just ’cause nobody else is saying it. I’m glad Apple used these stupid screws so I could watch that beautiful girl in the video!

  31. whisper dog says:

    Does ifixit have an area where their videos are collected? I could watch MJ all day.

  32. Stephen says:

    So the makers of Leatherman multi-tools must be even more evil for using the special, even more tamper resistant pentalobe screws with center posts?

    Get a grip. This is all about buying a $4 screwdriver.

  33. lou1970 says:

    Diabolical? That’s it. I now officially hate the Apple haters more than the fanboys.

  34. Thorzdad says:

    So the twelve people in the country who would actually want to open their iPhone are inconvenienced? Meh.

    • MattF says:

      My view too. Once upon a time, in an earlier epoch, the first thing to do when getting a new computer was take it apart. But, folks, computers these days have basically two pieces: a big battery and a tiny logic board. What is there to take apart?

    • wygit says:

      Seeing as how there are at least three different companies that make replacement backs for the iphone 4, I’m guessing it’s probably a few more than 12 people who are interested in taking those screws out.

      I did it, just because I LIKE taking things apart and modding them.

      I got this one, http://bit.ly/gTxPdC and it’s kinda nifty. The first-gen models had the same logos and text as the iPhone glass back, but the newer ones don’t.

  35. Anonymous says:

    I own a cell phone repair business and we discovered this recently.

    1) Search eBay for “iPhone Pentacle” and you’ll find drivers for 99 cents with free shipping.

    2) I actually used a #000 Phillips driver and the screws just came right out. Perhaps they weren’t in that tight on this phone but I suspect that you don’t even need the correct driver.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Nobody is considering that this is not exactly effective.
    The “casual” user who owns a screwdriver set wont be opening their phones anyway.
    The pentalobe based screws are more than likely less prone to stripping than their philips / torx counterparts. This is important considering these systems are put together by a big machine.

    If you’re making millions of devices and can put one together 4-5% faster that adds up to serious money.

  37. notavegan says:

    There are lots of places that you can get both 5 point screws (not to be overly rude) and 5 point screw drivers.

    This is not a magical thing here, merely an example of excess paranoia.

    Oh, and perhaps a marketing plan for the people selling the tool kit

  38. Anonymous says:

    I have had a set of Pentalobe heads for my screwdrivers for many years, easily found at almost any auto parts store.

  39. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    When people have been taking apart potentially dangerous assemblies, I install them with cheese head Phillips screws, then drill out the screw slots so a screwdriver won’t fit. To take out the screw I slot it with a 1mm cutoff disk on a Dremel and extract it with a straight bit. This is only done for user safety when there has been past tampering in spite of warning labels.

  40. lava says:

    I understand that these screws are only being used while Steve is away on sick leave. Once Steve is back the screws will be swapped back to phillips.

    What? You don’t lock your house while you are away?

    • Ugly Canuck says:

      I know people who NEVER lock their doors, and over seventy years, nothing bad has ever happened to them because of it…people both rural and urban.

      Some people really don’t live in fear: and my friends living with unlocked doors in urban areas don’t own any guns, either.

      But I always lock my doors: for I watch way more TV and movies than they do, I think.

  41. Anonymous says:

    Apple’s sins, like most of all battery operated devices are the difficulty of recycling their batteries.Making the phone/ipod difficult to open has lead to most folks simply throwing their devices away. Ewaste prevention/battery recovery should be INCLUDED in the price. Apple’s pursuit of “slickness” is evil.

    I have a bag of batteries, some of them ripped out of ipod stereos that await return to a battery recycler.

    • thepatrick says:

      Actually Ewaste prevention/battery recovery is included in the price – it’s called take it back to Apple, see http://www.apple.com/recycling/ (stick your country code in before recycling, e.g. /au/recycling/ if outside the US to see if they have a program in your country, they do here in AU).

      In fact not only do they take their own phones back, they’ll take any mobile phone.

      Computer-wise (at least here in AU) they’ll do it only if you’ve bought a computer from them recently, but then computers are a lot bigger.

  42. CastanhasDoPara says:

    This is just the sort of nonsense that sets my teeth to grind. A while back I had an important meeting that I had to dress up for. I went to iron my shirt that morning and the damn thing wouldn’t heat. So I thought, hell this thing is just a rheostat and LED and a heating element, basically. So I grab my tools and rip the sticker off the back. That is when I realized that I was screwed, literally. Those f#cktards had used some obnoxious triangle head BS. So I couldn’t open it to see if it could be fixed at all.

    I learned a few lessons that day. One, never trust your iron or the dipshits that make things like that. Two, iron your shirt the night before your big meeting (or discover that your iron is crap and then try to fix it and discover that the manufacturer is a dick.) Three, borrow one from a parent and marvel at the standards of a by-gone era (my mother lent me one that was older than me and it still works like a champ).

    Overall, I can’t stand this user/fixer-hostile corporate crap. If I can’t open it then I don’t own it and I don’t want it. Also, most people wouldn’t think about fixing their own gear and the few that do shouldn’t have to be burdened with some crazy proprietary nonsense. Remember the days when an “Opening this device will void your warranty” sticker was enough? ARGHGHHH!!1!1!!

  43. neilwalker says:

    Turns out I don’t own my own damned dog! Something goes wrong, I can’t just open it up and fix it. Have to take it to some kind of expert to fix. Apparently I’m not qualified or something?

    • Padraig says:

      I think may not have the right tools either :)

    • Padraig says:

      Made me laugh.

      However I don’t agree with you comparing a dog with an iPhone though. One of them smells, can’t do more than one thing at a time and you have no control over it. The other is a dog.

    • travtastic says:

      lolololol, I get it!

      A hyperbolic extreme example means that the reasonable example is foolish!

      Right on, dude!

      • neilwalker says:

        What I mean is that I can live with some things I can open up and some things I can’t. I can open up my PC and fiddle. I can’t open up my phone, but I couldn’t do much with it if I could. My rights (such as they are) as a consumer extend to balance my options against a price. I make that choice on a case by case basis. That’s how consumer decisions work. No more, no less…

        • travtastic says:

          But we shouldn’t have to make elaborate decisions based on ease of access. If they want to void my warranty, that’s fine.

          But it’s just, well, mean. If I want to take something apart, I shouldn’t be stopped or hassled. I take apart a lot of things out of curiosity, even if I’m just going to put it back together.

  44. |R says:

    So uh, buying a crappy info-ad kit to “liberate” you from the evil Apple screws will somehow free your phone from it’s already slave-state of software control?

    This has to be the stupidiest video I’ve seen here in a while!

    • Kyle Wiens says:

      @PaulR You’re right, those are similar screws. They’re not nearly small enough, though. The very smallest one *might* work on the MacBook Pro’s battery screw, but you’re just as likely to strip it in the process. Trust me, these screwdrivers are *hard* to find. After today they should get a lot easier.

  45. eatingbeets says:

    boingboing hating on Apple… again… move along folks, nothing to see here.

  46. Joshman says:

    As far as this video is concerned, several valid points, but just the way it was done, Apples diabolical and insidious plans, sabotage? Anything companies can do to whip customers in a frenzy to get them to remember their products I guess. Not a respectable move for iFixit, but they make money when people want to do things like open up their Apple gear. Another point that irritated me on this video, MJ mentions that Apple is doing this without permissions and explanation. Explanation I can see Apple being light on, they don’t have to explain why they made the change, it’s not deemed user serviceable, you shouldn’t be opening it according to Apple and your warranty, this is something you agreed to when purchasing the phone and starting using it. Permission to change it comes when you sign the repair authorization when you take your iPhone in for service. It gives the Apple authorized service agent permission to repair or replace anything necessary to complete the service. Further, if you take a consumer device like an iPod or iPhone in for service, it is likely going to be replaced, and if Apple decided to change the screws in production, you’ll get whatever is coming off the line for a replacement.

  47. Anonymous says:

    Why do would most people ever need to open up their iPhone? The phones have never been user-upgradeable. I can imagine that Apple may be switching to these screws because of the number of people who do open the phone mess something up and then take it into an Apple Store to fix their mistake. So it’s a cost issue for them. Replace the screws that people can easily get at with something a little more difficult and their maintenance costs go down. Or perhaps the phillips screws had a tendency to wiggle out over time? Who knows. This is a non-issue for probably 98% of iPhone users.

  48. Marcus says:

    This story has spread like wildfire across this internet in a just a day because it had something to do with Apple.

    “OMG! I have a problem I didn’t know I had! And it’s something that will likely never affect me! I must give iFixit $9.95 right away!”

    iFixit is a marketing genius.

  49. debaser42 says:

    I get it – Apple keeps trying to lock things down. But does it ever work? No. This is why I still have an iPhone, and I still use mostly Mac products (except my Ubuntu machines). They work – if I really needed to “free” it, I would. I don’t know why they use these over torx – lets be honest, the average owner doesn’t own a set of torx drivers that small, but it probably has something to do with the fact that you can get those torx out with a phillips if you never want to use them again. This creates problems – so keep the people who don’t do their homework out.

    I was musing about a similar coincidence at MIT this past weekend – some buildings are locked from the outside if you don’t have a key card, but completely accessible from other buildings if you just look at a map. At 2am on a Saturday I was able to walk from one side of the campus to the other completely indoors and partially underground out a building that was locked from outsiders. People could get in – you just had to know how. And “knowing” was really just caring enough to read a map that was plainly posted. So is apple “diabolical”? No – I think they’re just trying to keep the average joe from causing havok by taking his phone apart on a whim and then realizing that he now voided his warranty without “warning”. Saves a lot of hassle for them for a pretty cheap change.

  50. tyger11 says:

    Since Apple makes the iPhone without a user-replaceable battery, and without a microSD card slot, I’m not sure what you’d want to be digging around in there for, anyway. Can the SIM card be replaced without opening the thing up? If not, then that’s a big issue for all the SIM-replacers out there. Not going to be an issue for the Verizon iPhones, of course.

  51. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    Two points of view here. IFixit is a great bunch. I got to deal with them at Maker Faire Detroit this summer and they’re totally committed to allowing consumers to actually OWN what they buy. Their tools are top quality and I wouldn’t hesitate to pay them what they’re asking for this kit.
    OTOH, I fix commercial equipment for a living and a lot of my repairs are correcting botched user ‘fixes’. Often people make a small problem into an expensive one by attempting repairs themselves without adequate knowledge.
    So by all means take charge of your consumer electronics. But get the right information first and proceed with caution.

  52. KNHaw says:

    Not really out of keeping with their historical character. I worked in a “gray market” Mac repair shop back in 1986-87 and even then there were plenty of features to discourage self repair. That’s why they used torx screws (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torx) on the cases – pre-internet and pre-Home Depot they were actually pretty hard to find. The fact that they were unstripable was secondary.

    It went further, though. Apple dealers risked their franchises by having us do board level repair instead of Apple. They did it anyways because we could turn around boards in hours instead of weeks and could do it for less. Given that the first Apples were assembled in Woz’es garage and grew out of the kit building culture of the 70′s, Apple’s stance was ironic even then.

    *SIGH* Sometimes I miss through hole parts…

  53. Wally Ballou says:

    People who knowingly buy devices that they can’t open, with batteries they can’t replace, with OSs that are jailed, and with walled gardens of applications, and who work within those limitations = knowledgeable consumers.

    People who knowingly buy devices that they can’t open, with batteries they can’t replace, with OSs that are jailed, and with walled gardens of applications, and then continually bitch and moan about it = Christ, what assholes.

    • travtastic says:

      Everyone does their research to find the most locked-down, restrained products possible. That’s what consumers like, a complete lack of choice.

      • Wally Ballou says:

        It is just fewkin’ hilarious to read all the articles here from people who view the latest smartphones and tablets practically as objects of erotic desire, and then find themselves betrayed by the corporate connection of their new loves.

        My two year old netbook and four year old flip phone are my employees, not my soul mates.

  54. gabroll says:

    I went to high school with the speak in the video, which was a nice surprise upon viewing. Oh and, um, HOW DARE APPLE!!1!

    • Anonymous says:

      I told myself I wouldn’t respond to comments, otherwise I’d get sucked into the fray. But I’m SO curious: we went to high school together? Did we know each other? Do tell!

  55. Anonymous says:

    5-point star Torx screws aren’t all that uncommon.

    They are used in some European cars and they are used in some Enterprise Disk storage solutions.

    I already had the driver bits for work on the hard drive storage systems for Computer Tech work..

    Granted, there are only a few sources out there, but not impossible to find.

  56. kevinsky says:

    Are we addressing the camera or responding to an off-screen interviewer? The two formats don’t mix well; She’s either talking to you or she’s talking to someone else, cutting the two together doesn’t mix well. Well, I find it distracting anyway.

  57. traalfaz says:

    Silly, you still think you OWN mobile devices? You lease it, regardless of what the fiction on the contract says.

  58. Shaddack says:

    Whoever makes a decision to use nonstandard screws, without a real good technical reason, should be unceremoniously hanged; such scums are a waste of good bullets.

    That said, there are ways to remove proprietary-crap screws without a proprietary-crap screwdriver.

    You can cut a flat groove in the screw’s head. A Dremel cutting wheel does the job, though you may have to damage the casing. Sometimes it is worth it.

    Other option is milling a groove in another way. Takes a lot of work using a handheld mill; takes less work using x-y table tools, but not everybody has access to these.

    Perhaps the easiest way is using a high-strength epoxy and gluing something to the screw’s head; a piece of six- or four-sided metal stick so it can be screwed out with a plier, or a head of a standard screw (or an entire screw).

    If the bottom of the screw turns out to be nonstandard, you can cut off the glued attachment and mill/cut a standard slit into the head.

    Another possibility is making an impression of the screw head and casting a driver tip from a suitable metal, or perhaps a composite resin. Experimentation is needed here to find a suitable alloy that can be melted with a torch while being sufficiently hard; a suitable brazing filler metal may be a good candidate. Some resins with a suitable filler (alumina powder? metal? glass or carbon fibers?) could perhaps be also worth of being tested.

    There must be a homemade-able technical solution for the proprietary screw head problem, applicable to all such screws, and taking less effort and time than sourcing the “needed” screwdriver…

  59. Yurko says:

    Torx screws are quite normal. They are all over my VW, they hold the pocket clip onto my Benchmade pocket knives, and I use them to hold my license plate onto my car.

    They are used partly as a security feature, but also because they don’t strip as easily as a philips screw will. In my opinion this is a wise move by Apple.

    FYI you can get tiny-ass torx bits at your local ace hardware, and I would assume home depot and lowes.

    I’m honestly surprised that a site like this ifixit is that ignorant.

    • wrybread says:

      Torx screws are quite normal. They are all over my VW, they hold the pocket clip onto my Benchmade pocket knives, and I use them to hold my license plate onto my car . . . FYI you can get tiny-ass torx bits at your local ace hardware, and I would assume home depot and lowes. . . I’m honestly surprised that a site like this ifixit is that ignorant.

      Oh come on, isn’t it obvious to you that the whole point is that you CAN’T get these particular Torx screws or bits at your local hardware store? From the very first line of the article:

      “It is not a standard Torx, and there are no readily available screwdrivers that can remove it.”

  60. bob cooley says:

    “Apple’s Diabolical Plan”? When did BoingBoing turn into FOX News??

    Nice fear-mongering :)

    Pentalobe heads are actually much better for extremely small screws, they strip out less frequently than phillips. Its one of the reasons that german auto manufacturers use them on precision parts.

    News flash – pentalobe drivers aren’t rare, nor are they expensive. Anyone who is a serious tinkerer, should have a full set of Torx, and a pentalobe driver if you do any work on automotive electronics (in addition to the other various drivers used). They are easily and inexpensively obtained from automotive repair stores and suppliers, and I’m sure there will now be a booming business selling them on ebay as an “iPhone specialty tool”.

    Nice ad for the overpriced kit at iFixit, though; WHICH by the way DOES NOT include a pentalobe driver (your summary is incorrect); they include a five-flange phillips so you can remove (and possibly destroy) the pentalobe screw, and give you replacement phillips screws to put back in their place.

    The screws aren’t tamper-resistant, either – they are precision screw-heads. If you you are the type of person who has torx or penta drivers, you are likely the type of person who would be taking apart your iPhone for self-repair. If you have a ‘normal’ toolbox, you are probably better off taking your phone into the ‘genius’ bar, anyways.

    Sorry if this comes off crass, but this is a non-story (its really more of an ad for ifixit’s kit).

    It would be better just to buy the correct tool, than to come off like chicken little…

    • wrybread says:

      Um, you realize that this tool *isn’t available*, right? As in, its not a regular Torx screw? That’s kind of the whole point of this discussion?

      From the first line of the article:

      “It is not a standard Torx, and there are no readily available screwdrivers that can remove it.”

      Amazing how many people on this thread have absolutely no reading comprehension.

      If you think iFixit is lying or just wrong, that’s another matter. But unless you’re saying that, this appears to be a dick move by Apple.

      • bob cooley says:

        Please re-read my comment – I am fully aware that its not a torx head/driver.

        Penta drivers are available at automotive stores. The automotive industry has been using them for years. Pentalobe drivers are readily available – the video is incorrect. It is a similar tool to the torx, and many people who have a torx set are likely to have a penta in their toolkit as well.

        So before you go off about my reading comprehension, please check yourself and your evaluation of not only my comment; but the reality of what is available in the market – and not just assume because someone posted a video about it (and one that profits them) that it is true.

  61. Anonymous says:

    So this is what “updating to the latest drivers” means nowadays?

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