Screwgate: The Saga Continues

In attempt to further bolt down their devices, Apple has begun to replace the standard Phillips head screws with unique “Pentalobular screws” that only Apple can remove. It sounds a bit nuts, but iFixit has created a video detailing the riveting situation. Apparently, if you bring your iPhone into the Apple Store to be repaired, the techs will swap out the Phillips screws for their own, tamper proof ones.

Generally, there aren’t many reasons to dismantle your device, but if the warranty has been void, replacing parts yourself is a much cheaper option than having it done professionally. To remedy the situation, iFixit has created a $9.95 “iPhone 4 Liberation Kit“, which contains a Pentalobular driver to remove the errant screws, #00 Phillips screws to replace them with, as well as a corresponding Philips drive.

Which devices are affected?

Now that we’ve got the background out of the way, what’s Apple doing with these new fasteners?

  • This screw head first appeared in the mid-2009 MacBook Pro as a fastener for the battery.
  • The 2010 MacBook Air uses this screw on the lower case to prevent any access to the internals.
  • Many non-US iPhone 4 units have had smaller versions of these evil screws all along.
  • Apple has switched production, and new U.S. units are shipping with the evil screws.
  • If you take your phone into Apple for any kind of service, they will sabotage it by replacing your screws with the new tamper-resistant screws.


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