MacBook Pro and MacBook Air systems after 2018 are equipped with the Apple T2 chip. It is a safety coprocessor designed and developed to manage various functions related to data protection, through the use of encryption. The chip T2 processes authentication using Touch ID and oversees some system functions, such as adjusting display brightness, sound control, and more. The security measures implemented by Apple through the T2 chip can make it more complicated MacBook repair by third parties not authorized by Apple. The chip, for example, is designed to verify the integrity of some device components during the boot process. If the chip detects a unauthorized replacement of critical components, prevents the system from starting normally.
Nerd.Tool.1 facilitates MacBook repairs without going through Apple
Lately we’ve been talking more and more about right to repair, with the direct support of the European legislator. According to trade associations, independent repairers and consumers, end users should be able to choose how repair the product that they purchased. Even without addressing, therefore, the assistance centers authorized by the manufacturer.
Stefan Steins, owner of a repair shop in Germany, announces that he has developed his own tool that makes it possible to repair MacBooks protected with the T2 chip. Specifically, the solution developed at the Dortmund laboratory is called Nerd.Tool.1 and allows you to carry out an intervention on Apple laptops that until now was considered off-limits.
What is the display angle sensor and why was it not self-repairable
MacBook Pro and MacBook Air systems are equipped with a “display angle sensor“, a sensor that detects thecorner o to position of the lid of the laptop relative to the main body of the device. The sensor determines whether the screen is open or closed; in this second case, it causes it turning off the display and the cooling fans go into a “dormant” mode. When the sensor has some problem or in any case it is unable to establish the state of the “cover” containing the screen, neither the display nor the fans turn off. This helps reduce the life cycle of the MacBook.
If the sensor fails, it obviously has to be replaced but since Apple uses the T2 chip to limit interventions on its machines, until now there were few alternatives but to go to an official service center.
Nerd.Tool.1 allows you to replace the damaged sensor (it costs a handful of euros in itself…) without having to first obtain Apple’s approval. Instead of contacting authorized centres, therefore, the operation can be carried out by a trusted technician or at a specialized repair laboratory at a very low cost.
The image is taken from the demonstration video that Steins and colleagues published on YouTube.
Goodbye to the calibration of replaced parts on Apple devices
The calibration Parts Replacement on Apple Devices is a process by which new components installed during a repair are verified and authorized. This activity, also required for the sensor cited by Steins and his collaborators, is a process that only Apple-authorized personnel can perform, making it difficult for repair workshops independently perform the correct maneuvers without access to the appropriate calibration tools.
The German technician explains that the sensor “display angle” already contains all the necessary data, does not have a serial number and is not paired with the logic board: Nerd.Tool.1 it therefore does nothing but activate the calibration as the Apple would do.
Apple often implements security and technical measures Digital Rights Management (DRM) to protect its ecosystem and ensure the quality and security of devices. However, this can pose often insurmountable challenges for independent repair technicians looking to replace parts or make repairs without access to Apple’s official calibration tools and resources.
Apple’s behavior is seen by many as severely limiting individual freedoms, considering that a laptop like the MacBook is purchased by the user and becomes his property.
Nerd.Tool.1 is currently sold for 169 euros, a figure that according to Steins and his team repays the efforts made in developing further solutions, including a Nerd.Tool.2 already on the launch pad. The purchase amount is in fact sustainable by any repair workshop.