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  • Liberate Your iPhone 4


    If you've recently had an iPhone 4 serviced or replaced, you might have notice a tiny - very tiny - change in how the device is put together. Apple has switched over to a new tamper-resistant screw impossible to remove with anything but a proprietary tool. Now iFixit has come out with what they call the "iPhone 4 Liberation Kit" including a tool to extract the new screws so you can replace them with easy-to-remove Phillips screws.

    Kyle Wiens at iFixit noticed something odd when he flew to Japan to do the first iPhone 4 teardown. Rather than the standard #00 Phillips-head screw on the case, there was a mysterious, never-before-seen screw that's similar to the one used in the new MacBook Air. These screws were not used on US iPhones, but are starting to show up on devices returned for service. Wiens says that Apple calls this a "Pentalobular" screw in their service manuals. Unable to resist the obvious pun, he recently wrote a blog post calling the new tamper-resistant screw "a diabolical plot to screw your iPhone." Apparently Apple is also replacing the outer screw with the weird, flower-shaped Pentalobular in new MacBook Pros, iPhone 4s and MacBook Airs, and older computers are also getting the Pentalobular treatment when they are sent in for service. "We've spoken with the Apple Store geniuses tasked with carrying out this policy," Wiens writes, "and they are ashamed of the practice." Only the bulwark screws are Pentalobulars, so the intent is clearly to prevent third-party repair.

    In response, iFixit put together the iPhone 4 Liberation Kit, consisting of a driver that will let you extract the Pentalobular, standard #00 Phillips screws and a driver to go with them. The extraction tool is not a true Pentalobular driver, which is only available directly from Apple to authorized repair centers. It may damage the screw head when you remove it, but the intent is to get the Pentalobular out, throw it away, and replace it with a #00 Phillips to you can actually get back in if you need to.

    Apple partisans have attempted to defend this policy, suggesting that it's just Apple's desire for quality control, and that people could otherwise open their iPhones and mess them up, then "go to the Apple Store, complain that it stopped working, and demand a free replacement." But it's not a difficult thing to determine when someone taps a factory-installed screw: look at any product with "no user-serviceable parts inside." There's either a warranty seal or something on the screw itself that makes it tamper-evident. There's no need to use special hardware if all you want to do is determine if a piece of equipment has been opened.

    The motivation, as should be obvious, is financial. Apple takes a percentage of all service work done at authorized service centers, and using the Pentalobular means that all service work in iPhone 4s now has to be done by authorized service technicians who are the only people allowed to have Pentalobular screwdrivers, which they are prohibited from re-selling. "Apple sees a huge profit potential," Wiens notes. "A hundred dollars per year in incremental revenue on their installed base is a tremendous opportunity." The iPhone 4 Liberation Kit is just $9.95 from iFixit.

    Source: iFixit
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Liberate Your iPhone 4 started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 31 Comments
    1. frail1's Avatar
      frail1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by The Maestro View Post
      The extra 16GB of space he "stole" cost them like $25, I'm sure this billion dollar company is going to cease over that it's not that bad
      it's not really about the cost, not that it's insignificant. even if it was a dollar, if everyone did the same thing it would make a significant impact. there are also more consequences than monetary. theft also leads to changes and policy and is generally not good for everyone in the long run.
    1. The Maestro's Avatar
      The Maestro -
      Quote Originally Posted by The Maestro View Post
      The extra 16GB of space he "stole" cost them like $25, I'm sure this billion dollar company is going to cease over that it's not that bad
      Only theft here was them charging me $2000 for a computer
    1. rkswat's Avatar
      rkswat -
      Quote Originally Posted by zeroskater61 View Post
      lol
      This is funny cause I fix a lot of iPhone, 3G, 3Gs, and iPhone 4 for some friends of mine who crack there screen or what ever... And just recently about 3weeks ago I fixed a friends iPhone 4 for her she had a 16GB by the way... But after the repair she demanded I damage a cable cause she wanted a completely new one so I just loosened up the speaker/chager cable AND I switched my iPhones 4 32GB sim card tray with her 16GB tray... Took it back told them the device wasn't or didn't want to charge... So right away he said we would get a new one took out the sim read the SN# off the tray an my i4 info came out he went to the back and came out with a fresh new 32GB not 16GB set it up added the sim and that was it lol... So we got away with getting a 16GB replaced for a 32GB.... (^,^) take that apple... Don't really care about my sim tray either since I will be selling my i4 once the i5 ever comes out...
      So basically you're a criminal and you came here to brag about it. What a piece of ****. How is that any different than someone walking up, punching your POS thief *** in the face and stealing your phone?

      Quote Originally Posted by The Maestro View Post
      The extra 16GB of space he "stole" cost them like $25, I'm sure this billion dollar company is going to cease over that it's not that bad
      So by your justification if you only had $25 stolen from you it would be no big deal. How about $25 stolen by lets say 100 people, is that a big deal to you?
      Quote Originally Posted by trigun989 View Post
      quit being an apple fanboy. iphones are overpriced
      So because you spend the money for an "overpriced" phone, you feel it's ok to steal?
      Quote Originally Posted by The Maestro View Post
      Only theft here was them charging me $2000 for a computer
      If you're dumb enough to spend that much on a computer then how is that Apple's fault?

      I see criminals like some of you all the time at work, they also try to justify their criminal actions. I can't wait for the post some of you make crying because someone kicked your *** and stole your iPhone. Karma is a beotch.
    1. gehjl's Avatar
      gehjl -
      Quote Originally Posted by The Maestro View Post
      Only theft here was them charging me $2000 for a computer
      So I suppose that Rolex are thieves for charging 20k for a watch. Or bentley charging 100k for a car. No one is forcing you to spend 2k on a computer and no how does it justify stealing from a company just because they charge more for a pc. Don't like it? Buy a Dell and move on.

      Quote Originally Posted by zeroskater61 View Post
      lol
      This is funny cause I fix a lot of iPhone, 3G, 3Gs, and iPhone 4 for some friends of mine who crack there screen or what ever... And just recently about 3weeks ago I fixed a friends iPhone 4 for her she had a 16GB by the way... But after the repair she demanded I damage a cable cause she wanted a completely new one so I just loosened up the speaker/chager cable AND I switched my iPhones 4 32GB sim card tray with her 16GB tray... Took it back told them the device wasn't or didn't want to charge... So right away he said we would get a new one took out the sim read the SN# off the tray an my i4 info came out he went to the back and came out with a fresh new 32GB not 16GB set it up added the sim and that was it lol... So we got away with getting a 16GB replaced for a 32GB.... (^,^) take that apple... Don't really care about my sim tray either since I will be selling my i4 once the i5 ever comes out...

      And what do you suppose will happen when apple receives the 16gb iPhone instead of the 32gb? Chuck it aside and call it a loss? Hell no, they will investigate the employee who did it. I know an apple employee who had to drive to someones house because they gave them a 32gb instead of a 16gb.

      So good job on creating an employees life unecessarily harder and maybe jeopardizing their job. I hope someone comes to your job and steals from you.

      Hope apple catches up with you!
    1. marko009's Avatar
      marko009 -
      hi guys, i have a problem with my new iphone 4, i think this has to do something with this new screws mentioned here.
      my iphone is only few days old, and i have problems with losing 3g signal when holding it in my hand. also it suddenly shuts itself down. i live in Europe. i wanted to replace the iphone, but local apple resseler refuses to do so. this isnt the first case of their behaviour.
      reading this thread, i looked at my iphone and guess what, it has this weird screws. does this mean that it was already returned by someone and refurbished, and somehow i got this iphone as a new one?
      according to serial number the phone was produced in december 2010 and it came with iOS 4.2.1 preinstalled.
    1. AUZambo's Avatar
      AUZambo -
      Now that I think about it, I remember seeing this back when the iPhone 4 first came out. I had just recently replaced the cracked screen on my wife's 3G, so when I saw this picture I immediately noticed the different screws:



      That pic is from the Apple site (go to iPhone, then "gallery"). I was surprised when I got my iPhone 4 and it had standard phillips head screws in it. I wonder why they ever used the phillips head if they had pics of this pentalobe screw on their site from day one.
    1. obtrunco's Avatar
      obtrunco -
      Quote Originally Posted by marko009 View Post
      hi guys, i have a problem with my new iphone 4, i think this has to do something with this new screws mentioned here.
      my iphone is only few days old, and i have problems with losing 3g signal when holding it in my hand. also it suddenly shuts itself down. i live in Europe. i wanted to replace the iphone, but local apple resseler refuses to do so. this isnt the first case of their behaviour.
      reading this thread, i looked at my iphone and guess what, it has this weird screws. does this mean that it was already returned by someone and refurbished, and somehow i got this iphone as a new one?
      according to serial number the phone was produced in december 2010 and it came with iOS 4.2.1 preinstalled.
      Dude, if it's only a few days old don't waste your time here. Take it back and exchange it.
    1. marko009's Avatar
      marko009 -
      Quote Originally Posted by DRFP View Post
      Get online now with Apple, they will help you but do it now, the reseller is probably scum
      thanks for your answer, but here in Croatia T-Mobile is in charge for Apple handsets, they sell it and repair it. there is no Apple office here. so i would be very grateful if someone could point me how to contact Apple.
    1. EskimoRuler's Avatar
      EskimoRuler -
      thats stupid, i would get why special screws are made for security purposes in other types of applications but this is a little ridiculous
    1. TheBattman's Avatar
      TheBattman -
      Since when does a product's price (over priced or not) justify theft. Heft by breaking in and stealing, theft by gunpoint, theft by deception, or theft by omission of an error- are all theft. But folks don't look at it that way until someone rips them off. They look at Apple (or any other deep-pocket company/business) and figure "they make enough money". But it really is no morally different than ripping off the poor old fellow that lives around the corner.
    1. jasvncnt10's Avatar
      jasvncnt10 -
      Its amazing how many "perfect" people are here and do no wrong.
      I have a few friends i work with on this forum. They will talk about how bad piracy is and cracked apps blah blah blah just to keep good face on here.. But ya look at their phone and what do ya know. Cracked apps all over. And you know who you are..lol. Sorry PMSing today