Apple Locking Customers Out of iPhones

Published by: Dave Simmons on 21st Jan 2011 | View all blogs by Dave Simmons
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Apple Locking Customers Out of iPhones

iFixit, a San Luis Obispo, California-based firm that has become well known for performing “teardowns” of Apple devices, says the company has begun switching the screws on iPhones sent to it for repair to prevent anyone else from opening the devices.  The purpose of the new screws, says iFixit's top executive, Kyle Wiens, is to keep people out of the devices and prevent them from changing the battery.

Wiens says he began noticing the new, tamper-proof screws back in November.  “If you took your car in for service and they welded your hood shut, you wouldn't be very happy, “ he said about the switching of the screws.  According to anonymous sources with knowledge of the practice, when an iPhone user brings the device into an Apple store for repair, the Phillips screws which the device ships with are being swapped out for tamper-proof “Pentalobe” screws.

Customers are not informed of the switch, according to the sources, and it is not known how widespread the practice is.  One source said that Apple had begun shipping iPhones with the pentalobe screws in place in Japan.  Apple had no comment for this story, but it has had a long-standing practice of discouraging alterations of its products.

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