Apple’s T2 Security Chip Blocks Some Third-Party Repairs – Here’s What You Need To Know

iMac Pro
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Apple’s T2 chip is one of the most interesting advancements to the Mac in a long time. It is a product of Apple’s in-house chip development for iOS devices. It first made its way to the Mac last year when Apple introduced the iMac Pro starting at $5,000.

This year, Apple migrated the T2 chip down the Mac line. The 2018 MacBook Air and 2018 Mac mini both received a T2 infusion. But rather than focus on the many benefits afforded by the chip, some are upset about what has been taken away. According to The Verge, “Apple confirms its T2 security chip blocks some third-party repairs of new Macs.”

“The T2 is ‘a guillotine that Apple is holding over’ product owners, iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens told The Verge over email. That’s because it’s the key to locking down Mac products by only allowing select replacement parts into the machine when they’ve come from an authorized source — a process that the T2 chip now checks for during post-repair reboot. ‘It’s very possible the goal is to exert more control over who can perform repairs by limiting access to parts,’ Wiens said. ‘This could be an attempt to grab more market share from the independent repair providers. Or it could be a threat to keep their authorized network in line. We just don’t know.'”

iFixit has been around for a long time and has had a somewhat tumultuous relationship with Apple over the years. Apple has increasingly made sealed box computers like the iMac and Mac laptops. iFixit, on the other hand, makes their money doing teardowns of the latest hardware and selling parts and instructions for making repairs.

iMac teardown
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iFixit always gives Apple products low repairability scores and claims they are bad for the environment because they can’t be easily repaired. But they seemingly fail to mention Apple’s consistent response that Macs and iDevices remain in use longer and have a second and third resale life without the need for repairs. Other computers, by comparison, are more often discarded.

Apple also makes the case for greater security. Among other things, the T2 controls the secure enclave which keeps information like Touch ID and Face ID safe. Those features wouldn’t be very secure if just anyone could remove the components and swap them out for different components. It is also a questionable proposition that legions of Mac users are eager to swap out the motherboards in their $5,000 computer.

AppleCare is Apple’s hardware insurance policy that provides post-warranty service. Apple’s service and support after the sale have long been hailed as the best in the industry. But it is true that teardown hobbyists will have a harder time swapping out key components in Macs going forward. Everyone else will reap the benefits of faster, more secure Macs that last even longer.