Apple Blasted for Tiny Torx Screws

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UBM TechInsights, which specializes in intellectual property analysis, got its hands 
on one of the first iPhone 4S models and conducted this teardown.
UBM TechInsights, which specializes in intellectual property analysis, got its hands
on one of the first iPhone 4S models and conducted this teardown.

Image 1 of 15      Next >

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User Rank
No Tool for Fastener
wbswenberg   8/22/2012 9:39:43 AM
Just drill it out with a reverse drill.  Then put in the right fastener.

User Rank
the right tool!
jeffbiss   3/21/2012 9:11:54 AM

Get the right drivers! That's all it takes to remove the screws. Any tech worth his salt knows that.

Getting permission has nothing to do with it, skill and experience does. As I've stated in prior posts, are you going to find and program a proprietary chip? Are they going to sell you the programmed proprietary chip that failed?

I didn't sidestep you car thing, I ignored it. The same thing applies to them, if they use hardware then make sure that you have the correct drivers.

User Rank
What's All This Screwjob Stuff?
ebob2k   3/21/2012 12:24:18 AM
The hard-to-remove screws aren't to keep 'most' people out, they are intended to keep virtually everyone out. Those manufacturers wouldn't care if it were Story Musgrave trying to repair his unit; they just don't want him inside.

And as soon as those hard-to-find screwdriver bits aren't so hard to find, the manufacturers will come out with another screw head type from their bag of duplicity.

As for enumerating the serviceable components inside, unless Apple has changed something in its licensing, the entire iPhone and the components inside, every one of them, belong to the owner who might want to attempt a repair. No permission required.

Defense of any such overprotectionism belongs in the cow pastures with what I refer to as trans-tertiary detritus.

I did note that jeffbiss tried to almost completely sidestep the car comparison. Cars which, at least on my planet, have electronics, electrical system, mechanicals and an engine diagnostic jack which does not require FCC certification to use.

Do you suppose that the car manufacturers should change that jack type, or eliminate it completely, because some people capable of popping the hood aren't deemed capable (by the manufacturer) of using the code scanner?

If Bob Pease were still with us, this screw fiasco might well have inspired him to write a What's All This Screwjob Stuff? column.

User Rank
Get the right tool!
jeffbiss   3/20/2012 9:54:29 PM

You're just too much dude! The problem isn't that certain hardware is used, it's that you don't have the right tool to remove them. There's no conspiracy as far as I can tell. I bet that the vast majority of people who would take their thingy apart would end up finding nothing to repair.

So here's my challenge to you: provide us a parts list of repair parts that the ordinary person can buy and install. I'm also willing to bet that most people couldn't remove and install SMDs without destroying something. These things are not cars, nor are their innards machined parts.

User Rank
overprotectiveness is not a virtue
ebob2k   3/20/2012 8:24:50 PM
I was ready to stop my iPhone fastener comments until I looked at the comments again and saw the 2012-02-14 4:40:05 PM post by jeffbiss.

How would he like his car hood similarly bolted shut with fasteners requiring new or hard-to-find tools that were as much trouble to acquire as the  'Pentalobular screw' bits or driver bits for other oddball fasteners?

How would he like being forced to have his car towed to the dealer or have that dealer come to him just because he needed something as simple as a jump start, but the car maker didn't deem him 'capable' of performing such a complex task?

If the owner of one of those handheld devices wants to attempt a repair on it, he should not be restricted by the duplicitous tactics of companies that seem to feel that they are the divine arbiter of everyone's & anyone's capabilities.

It's time to shelve that ultra-anal overprotectiveness and get on with living normal lives, unfettered by contrived annoyances.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Re: Apple Blasted for Tiny Torx Screws
Rob Spiegel   3/15/2012 4:31:07 PM
Good story on fixing the phone, Leigh. My daughter forgot to take her iPod out of her pocket and it went through the washer and dryer. After that it didn't work. Somebody suggested putting it in the freezer. We did. The next day it was fine. I don't know what principles were involved in that solution.

User Rank
Re: Apple Blasted for Tiny Torx Screws
Leigh   2/28/2012 6:06:39 PM
Hah. My wife dropped her 3GS in the toilet. Because I was exceeding jealous of her phone I decided to fix it for myself. I pulled it completly apart. Replaced the battery. Scrubbed off the electrochemical corrosion. Got everything working except the camera. The phone is still working fine 12 months later.

User Rank
Apple and Screws
Harpo-54   2/28/2012 11:27:10 AM

Go Android !...  Apple will do what Apple did in the 1980s that led to their first episode of demise; they will be come so incredibly exclusive and expensive that the  Android Market will overcome them with it's many, many open opportuniites and selections.

User Rank
Comment on Difference of Pentalobes vs Torx screws.
Carrasca104   2/16/2012 6:00:59 PM
Just a short comment on " The screw that Apple is using is similar to a Torx -- except that the points have a rounder shape, and the screw has five points instead of six."

The Torx screw has six rounded lobes (unlike the Allen head that has six flat lobes, actually an hexagon ).

Thus the difference of the Apple screws is five vs. six lobes not the roundness of the lobes.  Another difference that may exist (I don't know) is that their  mean diameter may be half way between the standard Torx diameters.

By the way for the "I gotta open this rascal " DIYs: For small Torx or Pentalobes screws, a jeweler's flat screw driver of the proper width is sufficient to turn them. Grinding the flat screw driver to the proper width is all it takes for the tightest of the very small screws. For larger bolts it  is a different story..

User Rank
Re: oh well???
Zippy   2/15/2012 10:54:16 AM
I completely agree with your post.  I have fixed an iPhone after successfully accessing the wealth of "how-to" information (mostly on Youtube) and purchasing the very inexpensive parts and tools.  I will say you'd better have small hands and big dexterity (and/or a lot of patience) to manipulate tiny ribbon cables, connecters, etc.  I'm guessing the rapidly shrinking world of electronics will soon render home repair an impossibility - the iPod Nano is just the beginning!   :)

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