A document distributed to Apple Authorized Service Providers at the end of September suggests that owners of the new MacBook Pro and iMac Pro may be strong-armed into using authorized Apple service centers for a variety of repairs and upgrades. Without the use of proprietary software, available only to authorized providers, the devices become “inoperative.”
Apple has created a software requirement that, when certain forms of repairs are completed on any Apple device featuring the “T2” security chip, can effectively brick a device.
Both the new MacBook Pro and iMac Pro feature that chip, putting them at risk of being rendered “inoperative” if they are not taken to an authorized service center for repairs.
The software in question is the AST 2 System Configuration suite, which is used for diagnostics. Only Apple employees and authorized service providers have access to the software.
According to a report by Motherboard, when MacBook Pro repairs or upgrades that impact the top case, display assembly, Touch ID board, or logic board occur, the AST 2 System Configuration suite has to run for the repair to be considered complete. On the iMac Pro, the requirement applies to upgrade or repair activities that impact the logic board or flash storage.
The policy reported states, “For Macs with the Apple T2 chip, the repair process is not complete for certain parts replacements until the AST 2 System Configuration suite has been run. Failure to perform this step will result in an inoperative system and an incomplete repair.”
Ultimately, this means that third-party repair companies and DIYers won’t be able to handle their own upgrades and repairs if specific parts are impacted.
While the software locks aren’t yet in operation, the release of the document to Apple Authorized Service Providers suggest is may be coming in the near future. If put into effect, third-party repairs would be considered incomplete, and the device becomes predominately useless until it is brought to an authorized center.