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iPhone 12 and the right to repair

Today I learned that apple decided to completely lock down the iPhone 12 to prevent hardware manipulation. A nice or horrible side-effect, depending on what you are into, this also means you can no longer swap parts of a phone to repair it. If you still do, the device will maybe refuse to boot until you plug it into a charger. Once it does boot, it’ll not only refuse the use any of the existing battery health or face-ID features, but also refuse to re-initialize them and have various odd issues along the way.1 It basically denies “owner” of those pieces of e-waste the ability to repair them or get them repaired to non-apple prices. Apple itself seems to be able to re-pair2 those phones, but I wouldn’t expect those capabilities to leave apples own stores.

I came across this will watching a random series of YouTube videos as so often. When ending up about one, where a repairman was swapping parts of two brand new iPhones.

  1. The fact that the behaviour is just weird, not straight forward denying all usage, also makes it appear as if it’s not a security measure but either a really bad bug, or an intentional manipulation of the device to keep them off 3rd-party repair shops, as customers of those shops would end up with more problems after the repair, not less. 

  2. Making parts considering each other trusted again.