T2 chip in newer Macs makes repairs impossible without a proprietary tool from Apple


Newer Macs, such as the recently announced new MacBook Air and Mac mini, join the ranks with the MacBook Pro and iMac Pro as coming equipped with Apple’s T2 chip.

Apple’s T2 chip acts as a co-processor and is the lifeblood of many of Apple’s newest and most advanced features. It performs, among other tasks, processing for Touch ID fingerprint data. The T2 chip is also necessary to securely boot the machines it runs on and provides other security measures such as preventing its laptop microphones from being remotely operated by hackers while the lid of the device is closed. While the advanced security features that come along with the T2 chip can make Mac users feel more secure, it can also be headache causing when their Mac is in need of repairs.

The reason is that Apple is using the T2 chip to only allow select replacement parts in to the machine and only when they’ve come from an authorized source. The T2 chip checks to make sure the replacement parts are authorized upon post-repair reboot and can render Macs completely inoperable if they’re not fixed by Apple or its repair network.

Unless the chip recognizes a special piece of diagnostic software has been run by an official Apple Store or a repair shop that is part of the company’s Authorized Service Provider (ASP) network, expect your new Mac to become a fancy paperweight.

That special software is what’s known as the AST 2 System Configuration suite and Apple only distributes it to Apple Stores and certified ASPs.

Apple has confirmed that this will be the case with repairs involving logic boards and Touch ID sensors. The display assembly and top case for the MacBook Pro are also affected, along with the flash storage on the iMac Pro. It is also believed that the new MacBook Air and Mac mini will be similarly affected.

Apple states that a vast majority of repairs can be conducted without needing the special software. As it stands, Mac logic boards and Touch ID sensors are parts that Apple says only it distributes. Solid state drives are also not user replaceable as they are soldered either to other components or the housing unit itself.

Apple devices as a whole remain among the hardest in the industry to repair due to custom screws, unibody enclosures, and difficult to remove components. So, with the added cumbersome repairs to the newer Macs, it’s up to users to decide if they want the added security along with the additional costs that added security can bring.

As always, if we can be of help with your network or computer, give us a call here at RHYNO Networks. (855) 749-6648