Apple's latest MacBook refresh has apparently introduced an anti-tampering measure so the company will know when a user has opened up the machine, and thus may have voided their warranty by messing around inside the device.
iFixit does a teardown of every major new Apple product – in other words, they take them apart and rate how easy they are to repair under your own steam – and the website discovered with the new 12-inch MacBook that the heads of the hinge screws are filled with a substance that disintegrates when a screwdriver is used on them.
It would seem that there can be no other reason for this move other than to allow Apple staff to clearly be able to tell if you've undone these screws, and if that's the case, as mentioned you could be in trouble on the warranty front.
In a fix
Apple devices are hardly known for being easy to repair or modify anyway, but this looks like a new low in terms of preventing any work being done by the user – even just very minor stuff. The newest 12-inch MacBook is also blighted by the usual issues of soldered-on components and use of glue on internals that make things difficult and contribute to an awful 1 out of 10 'repairability' rating from iFixit.
The refreshed MacBook, which was unleashed last week, comes with new Core m3, m5 and m7 Skylake CPUs for better battery life – Apple claims 10 hours of wireless web browsing compared to 9 hours with last year's processors, a useful boost.
It also comes with 8GB of swifter 1866MHz memory and faster PCIe-based storage, plus you can buy the new 12-inch MacBook in rose gold (as well as the usual silver, gold and space grey colors).
The machine starts from £1,049 (around $1,525, or AU$1,975) and comes with a one-year warranty as standard – but not if you mess under the hood…
We've contacted Apple for a comment on iFixit's findings, and will update this story as soon as we hear back.
- Also check out: What's the best Mac to buy in 2016?
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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).