Apple T2 Security Chip

Apple Confirms Its T2 Security Chip Blocks Certain Third-Party Repairs

For the first time, Apple has confirmed that the T2 Security Chip in new Macs will prevent some third-party repairs.  The report comes from The Verge and it means that certain repairs involving certain components of these new Macs will require special software to complete.  This all-but locks out independent repair houses and will require customers to go to an authorized Apple Service Center or Apple Store for repairs.

The T2 Security Chip was first released last year with the iMac Pro.  It is now also in the new MacBook Air as well as the Mac mini.  The T2 chip does a lot of things on a modern Mac such as processing Touch ID fingerprint data and allowing “Hey, Siri” to work on your Mac.

Given that the T2 Security Chip contains fingerprint data and secure boot keys amongst other things, the limiting of repairs makes sense.  Someone could, potentially, install a rogue replacement component that could try to sniff that data and exploit it.  It would be difficult but could be done.

For their part, Apple has not released a document or information on what types of repairs or components would be impacted by the T2 Chip being in place.  It seems obvious that anything to do with the Logic board (motherboard), or the Touch ID sensor would be impacted.  But that is not 100% clear.

More broadly, some have taken the report as a negative, with the spin that Apple is trying to control the repair market of their devices.  This is most certainly true to a degree.  Apple has always wanted to control the customer experience so it is logical that it bleeds over into repairs.  The extent of this reach and the true impact on third-party repair companies won’t fully be known until the Cupertino company comes forth with a formal document outlining what is and what is not impacted.

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