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Apple expands bug bounty programme to all devices

13 August 2019

But Apple refuses to make this software available to anyone but themselves and Apple Authorised Service Providers. A move to label these repairs as "not genuine" in iOS could be a stepping stone to locking people out of their devices in the future, just like it happened when people first tried to fix Touch ID on their iPhones. Some hand-picked researchers will be given a new toy for a deeper inspection of iPhones security.

The cited source says the whole thing is powered by a microcontroller which checks for battery information to determine if they come from Apple and the servicing was performed by the company.

Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple battery.

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That includes cycle count, which indicates how much a battery may have degraded, as well as max capacity and peak performance capability. If Apple doesn't swap the battery, you will get that message no matter what.

However, it's not just Apple that has announced such a big reward.

The row led to many accusing Apple of "built-in obsolescence" that effectively forced users to buy a new phone. However, in the absence of battery health information, it will be hard to know the time when the battery needs to be replaced. For now, this Service message affects only the iPhone XR, XS and XS Max. In addition, Apple would prefer that a security expert who finds a vulnerability tell the company about it instead of selling it or using it for their own evil intentions. But if you are a regular Joe and saw this after going to a third-party battery center, you will probably be very confused and angry that your iPhone is asking you to service your brand new battery.

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"It's not a bug; it's a feature Apple wants", iFixit writes. A couple of years back, Apple faced massive backlash after it was discovered that Apple intentionally throttled older iPhones to preserve the battery life.

This error message pops up as soon as you replace the battery, even if it's a genuine one. It has been proven that people hold onto their phones for longer if they have access to cheap repairs. They are typically used internally to assess the security of sensitive internal components, such as the Secure Enclave Process responsible for encrypting data on the iPhone. Apple also paired Touch ID home buttons with the logic board, making DIY repairs extremely hard. If you try to install an original Apple battery in your phone, you won't be able to authenticate it unless you run Apple's software, which is provided by Texas Instruments.

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Apple expands bug bounty programme to all devices