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IOS Operating Systems Software Apple Hardware Technology

Latest iOS Update Shows Apple Can Use Software To Break Phones Repaired By Independent Shops (vice.com) 128

The latest version of iOS fixes several bugs, including one that caused a loss of touch functionality on a small subset of phones that had been repaired with certain third-party screens and had been updated to iOS 11. "Addresses an issue where touch input was unresponsive on some iPhone 6S displays because they were not serviced with genuine Apple parts," the update reads. "Note: Non-genuine replacement displays may have compromised visual quality and may fail to work correctly. Apple-certified screen repairs are performed by trusted experts who use genuine Apple parts. See support.apple.com for more information." Jason Koebler writes via Motherboard: "This is a reminder that Apple seems to have the ability to push out software updates that can kill hardware and replacement parts it did not sell iPhone customers itself, and that it can fix those same issues remotely." From the report: So let's consider what actually happened here. iPhones that had been repaired and were in perfect working order suddenly stopped working after Apple updated its software. Apple was then able to fix the problem remotely. Apple then put out a warning blaming the parts that were used to do the repair. Poof -- phone doesn't work. Poof -- phone works again. In this case, not all phones that used third party parts were affected, and there's no reason to think that, in this case, Apple broke these particular phones on purpose. But there is currently nothing stopping the company from using software to control unauthorized repair: For instance, you cannot replace the home button on an iPhone 7 without Apple's proprietary "Horizon Machine" that re-syncs a new home button with the repaired phone. This software update is concerning because it not only undermines the reputation of independent repair among Apple customers, but because it shows that phones that don't use "genuine" parts could potentially one day be bricked remotely.
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Latest iOS Update Shows Apple Can Use Software To Break Phones Repaired By Independent Shops

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 13, 2017 @09:15PM (#55366449)

    The subject line seems a little inflammatory. Any company that makes hardware and software can do this. This isn't news. It would be news if they were actively doing it intentionally. In this case, they fixed the issue.

    • by LordKronos ( 470910 ) on Friday October 13, 2017 @10:59PM (#55366769)

      This isn't news. It would be news if they were actively doing it intentionally

      That wouldn't be news. We've already seen that. I remember back when I had my iPod touch, I wanted an A/V output cable but they were like $50 for the authorized cables. Found one on eBay for $5 and it worked perfectly fine. Then the update for iOS 4 (I think that's the version) came out and suddenly the cable no longer worked, and the screen displayed a message box saying only authorized cables are supported.

      Over the years there have been additional instances of the doing this same thing, though this is the most recent one I can personally attest to since (due to this sort of behavior) that iPod touch was the last apple product I will ever purchase.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I had the EXACT same thing happen with a docking station that worked fine for 3+ years then an iOS update and all a sudden "this device is incompatible with your iphone and may damage the device".

        Fuckers.

        • by lwmv ( 2712755 )
          And apple didn't give you the right to take your own risk.
        • Its easy to understand the anger and frustration this causes, especially when something works for some time and then ceases to function; we suspect for commercial reasons. But it may not be (just?) for commercial reasons.

          Apple tightly regulates the market around their widgets- that has been the case for a very long time. They really want you to only use their HW and SW with their products, and would claim that this leads to a consistent and improved experience. There are examples where we can see negative
    • Indeed. This is bullshit. They put out an update to fix it which they really didn't need to do. And why is Apple a special case where you think they should be responsible for third party part? If your garage uses a third party part in your car and it causes a problem, do you blame the car maker? I just had this, bad caliper. Didn't think to blame Honda.

  • This is not news. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rpresser ( 610529 ) <rpresser&gmail,com> on Friday October 13, 2017 @09:19PM (#55366461) Homepage

    The moment you accepted that a remote agency could update the software on a machine in your possession without your direct involvement, this became a possibility, even a likelihood. Don't act surprised. If you care, use open source.

    • by Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) on Saturday October 14, 2017 @01:43AM (#55367037)

      A) Apple can’t update them remotely. Users have for as long as I can remember had to provide their password to confirm any updates to the OS. It’s specifically done that way to prevent attackers from loading updates they created or control.

      B) iOS has always been billed as being made to run specifically on Apple’s hardware. You’re welcome to try using it on unsupported hardware, but Apple has never claimed it supports any hardware other than their own. If you choose to try doing so, you do so at your own risk.

      C) Hanlon’s razor would suggest it’s more likely that this was a simple mistake than a case of malice. After all, it’s hardly unreasonable that an entirely unsupported hardware configuration would accidentally get broken by a major OS update. Were this a case of malice, it wouldn’t be getting fixed at all, let alone as quickly as it was.

      • C) Hanlon’s razor would suggest it’s more likely that this was a simple mistake than a case of malice. After all, it’s hardly unreasonable that an entirely unsupported hardware configuration would accidentally get broken by a major OS update. Were this a case of malice, it wouldn’t be getting fixed at all, let alone as quickly as it was.

        This is actually an example of Apple's serious decline in software quality. Apple rolled this out as a security feature in iOS 10 (I think it was 10). It only occurs on devices with Touch ID. The issue is that the fingerprint hardware is replaced with the screen and Apple does not allow third party screens to become authorized on Touch ID. The Touch ID chip in the display has to register with hardware on the main board in order to allow it to unlock the phone. Apple decided that it was not secure to ev

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The screen working/disabling wasn't deliberate. The user had it replaced with a non-standard part, which obviously didn't conform to the specs that the genuine display part was set to (ie: datasheet specs for the component) and the touch stuff stopped working as a result.

      The issue isn't with apple, which test their hardware on their phones to make sure it works. They do /not/ and are /not/ responsible for third party hardware which is used. They can't test for it, probably don't know about it, and as seen

  • CFAA law bricking your phone = apple can be in from some hard time.

    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      your phone

      Found the problem right here.

      • by lucm ( 889690 )

        your phone

        Found the problem right here.

        Spot on. The phone is not the product. The phone is merely the delivery mechanism for the right to walk around with the Apple logo, and therefore it's ludicrous that someone could consider "owning" that device for a mere thousand bucks.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 13, 2017 @09:27PM (#55366485)

    This seems a bit of a non-story.

    You repaired your phone with some random third-party stuff. Apple updated some device driver somewhere, but didn't bother testing with these other devices that they don't have to support because they didn't make them, and may well not have had any of. Stuff broke. Then, they actually put out a fix for whatever they broke when they found out about it. Sounds like a company that actually cares about not screwing over their customers to me, rather than one that does.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Get out of here with your reasonableness. It will not be tolerated.

    • I agree. I think people are jumping to conclusions about this being a malicious act on Apple's part. This looks more like it's just another example of how buying into a closed platform can bite you.

  • Give me a break (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Leuf ( 918654 ) on Friday October 13, 2017 @09:30PM (#55366493)

    Let's turn a story about Apple fixing a compatibility issue with non-warrantied third party parts into a story about how Apple is evil and could make phones that use third party parts not work!

    You can buy Nikon lenses to go on your Nikon camera. You can buy Sigma lenses to go on your Nikon camera. Nikon never gave Sigma the specifications to make sure their lenses were compatible with Nikon's hardware. Sometimes when Nikon puts out a new camera body it breaks functionality with a Sigma lens. This is not Nikon's problem. When this happens you send your lens back to Sigma and they reflash it, or you buy a special dock that lets you do it yourself.

    Making sure your third party screen keeps working when Apple does an update is not Apple's problem, but they did it anyway presumably because it was cheaper than the bad PR they would otherwise get. If it was a really complex problem to solve they wouldn't fix it and you'd have no right to complain about it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AJ Mexico ( 732501 )
      Agree totally -- this is Apple going out of their way to fix something that is totally not their problem. My iPhone 6s was affected by this. The issue only happened a few times, and in each case recovered after letting the phone sit for a minute or two. I suspected that the iOS 11 update may have had something to do with this, but it was hard to tell since the repair had recently taken place. I'm very happy with Apple on this! They took care of their customers.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by lucm ( 889690 )

        Here's what you say:

        Agree totally -- this is Apple going out of their way to fix something that is totally not their problem.

        Here's what the summary says:

        So let's consider what actually happened here. iPhones that had been repaired and were in perfect working order suddenly stopped working after Apple updated its software.

        I can't explain why you think Apple is the hero here, but it has nothing to do with reality.

        • Yes, but he's not agreeing with the summary, is he ? I knew reading comprehension on this site had declined, but I was hopeful it wasn't as bad as this...

          Here's how it works.

          1) A story is posted
          2) Comments are made
          3) Each comment can have a hierarchy of sub-comments. The text of any given comment is relative to its parent.

          Just like this comment, calling your statement [the parent comment to this one] idiotic.

          He was agreeing with his parent's comment, which is (rightly, IMHO) pointing out that Apple is actua

          • by lucm ( 889690 )

            He was agreeing with his parent's comment, which is (rightly, IMHO) pointing out that Apple is actually going out of their way

            That's pure speculation based on nothing presented in the summary or the linked article.

            Here's what can be found in the linked article, though:

            A scare like this happened last year. "Error 53" bricked many iPhones that had third party screen replacements. After widespread consumer outrage, Apple fixed the bug.

            So you call that "going out of their way", but in the article they say "after widespread consumer outrage". This is not a subtle difference, it's called fanboism.

            • Re:Give me a break (Score:4, Informative)

              by jaa101 ( 627731 ) <James.Ashton@ashtons.id.au> on Saturday October 14, 2017 @02:21AM (#55367083)

              This is not a subtle difference, it's called fanboism.

              How is Apple supposed to prevent issues like this happing with third party replacement parts? It's not realistic for them to somehow find out about all such parts being produced, acquire samples themselves, and then test their software updates against them. If repairers are not advising customers that they're using non-Apple parts then the fault is with the repairers, otherwise the fault is with the customers.

              The only way I could see it being Apple's fault would be if they intentionally, maliciously released an update to fail with third-party parts. Nobody outside of Apple can be sure about whether they did that or not so it just degenerates into an argument between the haters and the fanbois. If "Error 53" was Apple malice, later thought better of, why would they try again with this latest issue?

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Apple designs their products using components which match a certain specification. It then codes the software with those specifications in mind. If you install something that works, but doesn't match the specifications and it breaks, it's not their fault the component didn't match the specs, however it is good of them to rework the software to fix the issue. If you ask any programmer if he should write their software to account for every thing a customer might do, down to let me see if this x86 code will

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The bottom line is we are on a slippery slope, losing our rights inherent in ownership itself.

      Who is Apple to tell me what to do with a product that I purchased? Nikon does not sabotage the competition by embedding DRM into its lenses. Apple was intentionally breaking the phones when original parts weren't detected. By breaking, than fixing the problem, the evidence clearly indicates that Apple intended to interfere with a transaction between the owner of a product and third party support. At minimum, A

    • Except most of the time here we aren't talking about Nikon vs Sigma. We're talking Nikon vs Nikon grey market. Most Apple parts a genuine and come from single sources (genuine here defined as the final product, not what the manufacturer's will have you believe by stamping an invalid serial number).

  • We need right to repair with no authorized shop / tech only repair tools and restore software.

    This only company that I will not name at this time just has update files but not the full SD images for embedded systems and no they are not wired up to be able to boot from USB you can put the update file on USB sticks and update.

    I was able to get some working there (high level dev) give out the line saying we can give the out the full SD card image as some people who don't don't know what they are doing may wire

    • by Anonymous Coward

      We need right to repair

      You have the right to choose to not purchase devices that do not meet your requirements. I highly recommend that you do your due diligence when choosing a vendor.

      • by Khyber ( 864651 )

        We have a law called the Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act and within it are anti-tying provisions meant to stop exactly this kind of bullshit in the first place.

      • So when the I buy a new car the sales people are going to lie about what the non dealer shops do to be and steer me to there shop for all work

    • by Anonymous Coward

      We need right to repair with no authorized shop / tech only repair tools and restore software.

      agreed, some form of this is necessary, especially for simple things like battery replacement.

      This only company that I will not name at this time just has update files but not the full SD images for embedded systems and no they are not wired up to be able to boot from USB you can put the update file on USB sticks and update.

      I lost you at this point in your rant, sorry. There's too much context from whatever you went through that's missing, and that I'd rather not hear about anyway.

      It sounds similar to the Apple news cycle, though:

      - A reasonable-seeming request would be, "don't break repaired phones with updates. If it worked after repair, it should keep working."

      - The current way to implement this request is with sof

  • If you repair it, you won't buy another one. It would be interesting if it stops working if you disassemble and reassemble it *without* doing anything else to it.

  • There is a bunch of stuff that goes on in these software updates, Apple obviously can't test dozens of third party modules, what's surprising to me is that they fixed it at all given they were under no obligation to do so and only did so for customer service reasons.

    Windows breaks a lot more third party stuff on a regular basis and never fixes it, hence the reason why people still run outdated versions of Windows XP.

  • controlling bastards!

  • Apple's advantage in quality and update reliability comes entirely at the cost of using Apple-approved parts only. This dramatically limits necessary testing and simplifies the writing of system software. If unapproved hardware functions differently in any way from the approved hardware, count on problems because the system software is not designed with compatibility in mind. That is their advantage.

    If you want hardware flexibility, never choose Apple and don't complain about how the system doesn't seem as

  • I broke the screen on my 6s a while back. After having it replaced, I would get this exact issue happen every once in a while. I assumed that it was the phone slowly dying or something.

    What's strange is that I had my screen replaced at an actual Apple Store. So, either their ability to target devices is flawed, or their stores had been using non-genuine parts for official repairs

    • by jwymanm ( 627857 )
      Same here. My gf had hers replaced at an Apple store and it behaved exactly the same. This isn't just 3rd party unless the apple store used non genuine parts also. This is more likely PR spin/control.
  • Just imagine the shit storm they'd get if suddenly a bunch of phones repaired with 3rd party batteries started to explode. Or if replaced home buttons (the finger print scanner) caused a security breach that exposes Apple Pay? Then there are contractual requirements with third party content providers around DRM chains which could be compromised by third party parts (yes, I know most on /. are anti-drm, but it's still a business constraint for Apple).

    There are some very legitimate concerns in today's envir

    • Fuck off Chicken Little. Dont excuse this shit with 'things might happen'. Cars have had aftermarket parts for over a hundred years. Its enshrined in law that aftermarket car parts (built to spec) cannot void your warranty.
  • Is anyone else getting a feeling of "I've read this article before"? I'm not trying to be funny or anything but it really feels like this has shown up on Slashdot before.
  • Thatâ(TM)s a very skewed way to look at it.

    Apple has to look out for security for users. The TouchID sensor is tied to the Secure Enclave, replacing it will cause the phone to detect it and fail to work. Thatâ(TM)s an important security feature; otherwise anyone could swap the TouchID sensor and log into any phone with their existing fingerprints. And Apple explained this back during the iPhone 5S; since they have to be resynced it means Apple canâ(TM)t support third party parts for the secur

  • All you whiners should realize that open source software doesn't support ALL hardware either. Hardware interaction is far more complex than you think.

  • Apple continues to force customers to buy their hardware and service by punishing customers who go to third-party repair services or put third-party components on their phones because the standard ones have broken. This is the same crap AT&T tried to pull before the local phone network was deregulated, remember? All those "non-standard" phones would damage the network and therefore couldn't be allowed. But even AT&T did not destroy the third-party equipment that was installed. And how did that al

  • It would seem that the IBM plug-issue as a method of regulating third-party trade might rear its ugly head here. The purpose of some of Apple's 'innovations' are not new ideas, but to prevent an aftermarket of things.

  • Why assume the worst?

    Consider:

    - Apple makes device
    - 3rd party replaces part with something that works
    - Apple makes changes to software to add features/fix bugs/etc.
    - New changes use previously-unused function or uses something in a new way... but this is verified with Apple's device
    - 3rd party part only supports 90% of the actual features of the Apple part... which was previously "good enough" but no longer is.
    - Update breaks phones with non-Apple parts

    As a hardware/software developer I can EASILY see how t

  • I think this website should help us: https://www.dunya.com/sirketle... [dunya.com]

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