Apple Provides Special iPhone for Security Researchers and Extends Bug Bounty Program

Saturday, 10 Aug, 2019

A new report from iFixit says the Cupertino giant has activated a "dormant software lock" that essentially prevents third-party battery replacements for the newest models of iPhone. You can't make this message disappear unless you get battery replacement done at an Apple Authorised Service Provider or Apple Genius Bar.

Now, a "Service" indicator will pop-up, notifying the user that they should take their phone to a Genius Bar or authorized Apple fix service provider.

Similar to batteries in other smartphones, the batteries that Apple uses feature a Texas Instruments bq27546 microcontroller, which transfers battery-related data such as time to full discharge, temperature and capacity.

If your new iPhone needs a new battery anytime soon, you may not want to bother replacing it yourself or heading to your local third-party shop. A report from MacRumors a year ago also indicated that the 2018 MacBook Pro and iMac Pro had go undergo a specific Apple diagnostics fix process that isn't accessible at non-Apple fix centers in order to be fixed. Apple uses an authentication feature that stores info that pairs the battery to the iPhone's logic board.

So far, this has been seen only on the Apple iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR.

The only way to return this to normal is to get your battery replaced by one of Apple's chosen repairers. "But Apple refuses to make this software available to anyone but themselves and Apple Authorized Service Providers". In 2017, for example, it was discovered that the company intentionally throttles old iPhone batteries to preserve their performance.

Apple has always been making repairs hard for people outside of the Apple ecosystem. It's that simple. Pairing batteries to iPhones is a gross overreach. Apple also paired Touch ID home buttons with the logic board, making DIY repairs extremely hard.

A team of analysts at UBS believe Apple could launch a foldable iOS device by 2021 based on an analysis of the iPhone maker's intellectual property filings.

Apple's stance on right-to-repair issues is fairly well-known, including what it isn't saying: Repairing iPhones means fewer iPhone sales, and self-repair or third-party fix takes away money that could have been Apple's.