When your computer breaks, it’s always recommended to go back to the manufacturer before trying other repair options. They are likely to have a guaranteed fix and sometimes can do it free of charge, with third-parties coming in handy if the fix is simple or if the manufacturer is charging too much.
For users of Apple’s iMac Pro and 2018 MacBook Pros, however, the manufacturer and its authorized service partners may soon be the only option.
According to documents received by MacRumors and Motherboard, the computers will need to run a proprietary piece of Apple diagnostic software once parts are replaced before computer can be used again, locking users out otherwise.
The new policy affects repairs for the 2018 MacBook Pro’s display, Touch ID fingerprint sensor, casing, keyboard, battery, trackpad, speakers and internal logic board, MacRumors said. On the iMac Pro, the site says the new policy only applies to repairs for the logic board and for flash storage.
As Motherboard notes, Apple has done something similar in the past with replacing the Touch ID fingerprint sensor on iPhones, requiring them to go through a machine before the sensor, which doubles as the home button, could be replaced.
Apple did not immediately respond to a USA TODAY request for comment.
Apple’s “walled garden” system of control is nothing new, not just with its software but also with its hardware. The company has also long taken a hard-line stance on security and privacy, making it possible that these precautions are in place to protect users from unauthorized parts that can damage the computer or impact the user’s data, something that resurfaced in the news this week in a recent Bloomberg BusinessWeek story.
The story said that Apple and Amazon were both subject to Chinese spying with tiny microchips found on their respective servers. Both companies have denied the claim, with Amazon calling the report “erroneous” and Apple expressing its displeasure at Bloomberg.
“We are deeply disappointed that in their dealings with us, Bloomberg’s reporters have not been open to the possibility that they or their sources might be wrong or misinformed,” read Apple’s statement.
The move to control repairs could also potentially be a problem for Apple with legislation in the works in 19 states that would require device makers to make repair details available to the public, including third-parties. California was the latest state to introduce a bill in March.
Apple, Verizon, Toyota, the Consumer Technology Association are among the groups who have opposed the legislation and lobbied against it and the bill in New York last year.
Unfortunately for cost-cutting consumers, regardless of Apple’s reasoning, it seems that for the time being if your MacBook Pro or iMac Pro needs repairs, you’ll have to follow Apple’s process.
Follow Eli Blumenthal on Twitter @eliblumenthal
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