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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...
01-21-2011, 10:05 AM #1
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.
01-21-2011, 10:17 AM #2
old news. they've been using those screws for at least 3-4 months. posted a thread about this 2 months ago. and the new screwdriver has been available for at least a month from other vendors
Last edited by trigun989; 01-21-2011 at 10:21 AM.
01-21-2011, 10:18 AM #3
Yet why not just sell a "screw" driver piece that fits apples money grabbing screw as a separate item and 'coincidentally' sell a driver that fits perfect with the piece for apples screw.
Screw apple over.
Everyone will feel better.
01-21-2011, 10:29 AM #4
Noticed this the other day when working on an apple-replaced iP4. I just filed down a tiny flathead and it worked fine.
01-21-2011, 10:32 AM #5
Yeah... not cutting edge news
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Here's another breaking news story! Apparently, if you hold the iPhone 4 with a certain grip, you may suffer from signal degradation! Maybe someone should post something about this.
01-21-2011, 10:34 AM #6
Either way someones getting paid, I say rip it apart caveman style!
Then demand a free replacement
Last edited by Dragonx151; 01-21-2011 at 10:34 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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01-21-2011, 10:42 AM #7
Dunno bout anyone else but the screws on my ip4 are torx screws dunno wot size but their tinyNo Sig Spam..
01-21-2011, 10:55 AM #8
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...
01-21-2011, 11:02 AM #9
01-21-2011, 11:09 AM #10
I'd like to see a picture of these proprietary screws. Are we sure they're not just simple T6 torx screws? My MBP is riddled with them, but they are far from proprietary.
It just seems the cost in designing and producing a completely unique screws would not be worth it. I mean, how many people voluntarily open up their iphones?
01-21-2011, 11:35 AM #11
If apple is that worried about people opening up merchandise that they legally own, then maybe they should go back to the case design of the first gen iphone. It was no gray area to know when someone opened one of those. It was also a major PITA to do it properly.I write Mac only tutorials for the iPhone and own every model. My iPhones run on the following SIMs/networks: AT&T, GoPhone, H2O, O2, SimpleMobile, T-Mobile and Verizon.
01-21-2011, 11:46 AM #12
I recently got an iPhone 4 replaced and it came back with those screws as well.
01-21-2011, 11:50 AM #13
As above - its the same screws as the Macbook Air has. I work in an Apple repair center, and we've ordered a couple of these 'magical' screwdrivers from Apple for this purpose.
01-21-2011, 11:51 AM #14
Clever, but devious.
01-21-2011, 11:52 AM #15
I love the technology today..... one company tries to stop people from doing things and another one makes a way for people to do what they want to do... its never going to end!
"Always remember your special and unique!"
01-21-2011, 12:39 PM #16
01-21-2011, 12:43 PM #17
Umm, we have 10-20 of these drivers in every store...They are not only distributed by Apple. God gave us the gift of China, who will make ANYTHING for the right price..
01-21-2011, 01:56 PM #18
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01-21-2011, 02:05 PM #19
quit being an apple fanboy. iphones are overpriced
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01-21-2011, 02:10 PM #20