Computers & Mobile
Apple wants to screw you out of your phone!

Our pal Kyle Wiens of iFixit writes:

Apple is switching to a new type of tamper-resistant screw across their product line. It is not a standard Torx, and there are no readily available screwdrivers that can remove it. They chose this ‘Pentalobe’ fastener specifically because it was new, guaranteeing repair tools would be both rare and expensive. The iPhone 4 originally shipped with Phillips screws, but Apple has transitioned completely to this new security screw. Shame on them.

This screw head clearly has one purpose: to keep you out. Otherwise, Apple would use it throughout each device. Instead, they only use it at the bulwark–on the outside case of your iPhone and MacBook Air, and protecting the battery on the MacBook Pro–so they can keep you out of your own hardware.

That’s bad enough on its own, but Apple’s latest policy will make your blood boil: If you take your iPhone 4 into Apple for any kind of service, they will sabotage it by replacing your Phillips screws with the new tamper-resistant screws! We’ve spoken with the Apple Store geniuses tasked with carrying out this policy, and they are ashamed of the practice.

Read Kyle’s article, with photos of the different Pentalobe screws on various Apple products, and learn about iFixit’s iPhone 4 Liberation Kit here.

The complete DIY solution: You can also make a casting of any proprietary screw head using Silly Putty and then use a cheap hex wrench as stock and a Dremel tool to grind the hex into the shape of the putty cast. Instructions for this are found in MAKE Volume 03. Not sure how this would work with these Pentalobe heads. If anybody tries it, please let us know!

Apple’s Diabolical Plan to Screw Your iPhone


Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn