Feeds

The cost of beating Apple's shrewd screws? £2

Quick online search finds easy answer to pentalobes

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration

Apple has been switching the screws that hold its latest iPhone shut, but cries of conspiracy are somewhat refuted by the realisation that a $2 screwdriver fixes the problem.

The new screws are called pentalobe (five-pointed), but if it is really (as iFixit so eloquently put it) "Apple's insidious plan to sabotage our iPhones" then that plan has proven to be fatally flawed by the half-dozen companies that popping up to sell suitable screwdrivers for as little as $2.35.

First up was iFixit itself, who started selling a $10 kit including a pair of replacement (Philips) screws, and a screwdriver that will get the pentalobe screws out even if it means destroying them in the process.

Apple's Diabolical Plan to Screw your iPhone from iFixit on Vimeo

Apple has used Pentalobe screws before, on the MacBook Air, at which time it was found to be more annoying than insidious, but laptops have always had strange screws holding them together. Your correspondent once spent a memorable morning in a car park filing a Torx T7 down to a Torx T5 before entering the customer site; Toshiba had failed to provide a suitable tool, though the company was keen to provide (non-Torx) replacement screws.

Americans are very keen on varying their screws. A European might be happy with a Philips, or perhaps a Pozidriv for special occasions, but rest of the world likes more variation. At least the world agrees that the slot screw is an abomination that deserves to go the same way as surgery without anaesthetic and public hangings.

The more advanced screws offer loads of advantages in terms of holding the driver steady, or reducing the pressure which must be applied to push the screw in – which is particularly important when the screws are handled in large quantities by production-line machinery. The popular designs are, of course, well-patented and Apple will be paying a premium for the pentalobe screws that are equally likely to be associated with mechanisation as tamper-proofing.

It's true that using an obscure screw once offered a degree of security, but these days we have the internet for locating anything, and a moment's search shows half a dozen companies selling pentalobe screw drivers for under $10, though it was the chaps over at Gizmodo (who know a thing or two about dismantling iPhones) who managed to find one selling at £2.35, plus shipping. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Nice computers don’t need to go to the toilet, says Barclays
Bad computers might ask if you are Sarah Connor
4K video on terrestrial TV? Not if the WRC shares frequencies to mobiles
Have your say with Ofcom now, before Freeview becomes Feeview
PEAK LANDFILL: Why tablet gloom is good news for Windows users
Sinofsky's hybrid strategy looks dafter than ever
YES, iPhones ARE getting slower with each new release of iOS
Old hardware doesn't get any faster with new software
You didn't get the MeMO? Asus Pad 7 Android tab is ... not bad
Really, er, stands out among cheapie 7-inchers
Apple winks at parents: C'mon, get your kid a tweaked Macbook Pro
Cheapest models given new processors, more RAM
VMware builds product executables on 50 Mac Minis
And goes to the Genius Bar for support
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Microsoft stands on shore as tablet-laden boat sails away
Brit buyers still not falling for Windows' charms
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?