Le nouveau « verrou logiciel » d'Apple menace les réparations indépendantes

Le nouveau « programme de diagnostic » d'Apple semble conçu pour bloquer les MacBook et iMac Pro 2018 fraîchement réparés par des amateurs.
22.10.18
Image: Shutterstock

Mise à jour : Les tests d’iFixit ont montré que le verrou logiciel d’Apple n'était pas encore actif.

« Ces documents brossent un portrait sombre de la situation. En incorrigibles optimistes, nous nous sommes tout de même rendus dans un Apple Store pour acheter un tout nouveau MacBook Pro Touch Bar 2018 de 13 pouces. Nous l’avons ensuite désassemblé et échangé son écran avec celui d'un appareil démonté de cet été. À notre grande surprise, les deux appareils fonctionnaient normalement quelle que soit la combinaison utilisée. Nous avons également upgradé Mojave et permuté les cartes logiques avec les mêmes résultats.

» C’est un signe encourageant. Surtout, cela signifie que le ciel ne nous tombe pas sur la tête — enfin, pas encore. »

iFixit conclut qu’Apple a intégré un « coupe-circuit » dans les nouveaux MacBook Pro. Le bulletin de service envoyé par Apple à ses revendeurs agréés est authentique mais pas encore opérationnel.

La publication originale se trouve ci-dessous :

Apple a mis en place des verrous logiciels qui empêcheront les réparations indépendantes et tierces sur les ordinateurs MacBook Pro 2018, selon des documents internes d’Apple obtenus par Motherboard. Le nouveau système rendra l’ordinateur « inopérant » à moins qu’un logiciel de « configuration système » propriétaire Apple ne soit lancé après le remplacement des pièces du système.

Selon le document, qui a été distribué aux fournisseurs agréés d’Apple à la fin du mois dernier, cette politique s’appliquera à tous les ordinateurs Apple équipés de la puce de sécurité « T2 », présente dans les MacBook Pro 2018 ainsi que l'iMac Pro.

Le verrou logiciel doit s'amorcer après n’importe quelle réparation concernant l’écran, la carte logique, le boîtier supérieur (clavier, pavé tactile et boîtier interne) ou le capteur Touch ID d'un MacBook Pro. Sur les iMac Pro, il s’enclenchera en cas de remplacement de la carte logique ou du stockage flash. L’ordinateur verrouillé devra être « réactivé » à l'aide d'un logiciel de diagnostic appelé Apple Service Toolkit 2.

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Image: Apple

A separate internal training presentation obtained by Motherboard about how to use the diagnostics states that the “Apple Service Toolkit and Apple Service Toolkit 2 are available only to persons working at Apple-authorized service facilities.” This means that it will become impossible for you to repair your new MacBook Pro at home, or for an independent repair provider to repair it for you.

[Do you know more about Apple's new repair policy? Are you an Apple Authorized Service Provider or an independent repair professional who will be affected? You can reach the reporter via email at jason.koebler@vice.com or securely on Signal: 347-513-3688.]

The AST 2 System Configuration suite is a diagnostic software that Apple uses to ensure that the computer is functioning properly. It includes the Mac Resource Inspector, which does a “quick health check of hardware and software,” as well as tools that check the system’s memory, display, power adapters, cooling system, and other aspects of the computer. It functions only if connected to Apple’s Global Service Exchange (GSX), a Cloud-based server that Apple uses to handle repairs and service. It requires a login from Apple to access.

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Image: Apple

This is a repair model that is similar to that used by John Deere and auto manufacturers, who often prevent owners from repairing their own tractors or cars without specific diagnostic codes or software that allow a replacement part to connect with the rest of the device. Apple took a similar tact with Touch ID on recent iPhones—the Touch ID feature would not work with replacement home buttons until it went through a so-called “Horizon Machine,” which Apple uses to re-map a new Touch ID button with the old device.

But this move goes further than that, effectively preventing most independent repairs on new MacBook Pros.

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Image: Apple

“There’s two possible explanations: This is a continued campaign of obsolescence and they want to control the ecosystem and bring all repair into the network they control,” Kyle Wiens, the CEO of iFixit, told me on the phone. “Another is security, but I don’t see a security model that doesn’t trust the owner of the device making much sense.”

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Currently, 19 states are considering so-called “Right to Repair” legislation that would require device manufacturers to make repair parts, tools, repair guides, and diagnostic software available to the public. Apple is fighting this legislation; public records show that Apple is lobbying against the bill in New York, where lobbying records must be disclosed to the public.

Wiens said that, currently, there is a thriving independent market for MacBook repair, and that this move fundamentally threatens many small businesses and, down the line, may impact school districts, which often have to repair computers used in classrooms at scale. Not everyone lives near an Apple Store or authorized service provider, so it may also make repair much less accessible for people living in underserved areas.

“This is a portion of the ecosystem that has been very healthy. Independent repair companies have been fixing MacBooks undaunted by the user-hostile activities Apple has taken,” Wiens said. “It could be really detrimental to schools, to people who live in rural areas. If they stick with this, it seems like a huge argument in favor of right to repair.”

This article originally appeared on VICE US.