Apple's Giving its Customers a New Kind of Screw

There's a new type of screw that Apple is putting to its customers. We'd like to call it the iScrew, but the technical name for it is the "pentalobe" or "pentalobular," which is a rounded, five-pronged screw.

While most electronics with tamper-proof screws use the Torx head – which is available for purchase, but not readily available in most households – Apple has gone a step further with something completely new that even DIYers can't get.

The new screw first appeared in the mid-2009 MacBook Pro to prevent battery swaps, and now it's also standard on the new MacBook Air.

The iPhone 4 originally shipped with the Phillips head screws, but now those who have brought their phones into Apple for repair are getting their devices back with the pentalobe screw. Apple's certainly taken additional measures to make sure that customers can't freely open up their own property.

iFixit's posted some additional information and even makes a kit available with screw that will roughly fit the iPhone 4 to swap out for a Phillips.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • haunted one
    Awesome. Stealing customer rights and blocking access to their own property.
  • joytech22
    What's Apple got to hide?
    If you buy something you should be able to do whatever you want with that object even if it means pulling it to pieces.
  • TheWhiteRose000
    A simple gem set screw driver with a extra small point can get it if you apply enough pressure and get the angle just right.
  • jimmysmitty
    joytech22What's Apple got to hide?If you buy something you should be able to do whatever you want with that object even if it means pulling it to pieces.
    You forget. Apple is all about control. That's why they control the hardware in a Mac, the software on their hardware and even the little components in each device. Going Apple means you don't have control over pretty much anything. Notice how they don't allow Flash on iOS? I'll bet they soon block it from being developed for OSX.

    That's one of the biggest reasons why I don't have a single Apple product in my home. That and I can't justify paying 2x or more the price. My LG Ally with FroYo can do everything the iPhone 4 does and it only cost $25 bucks.
  • pocketdrummer
    Give it time. Someone will develop a screw driver (apple priced, of course) in a little while.

    This is why I built a PC...

    On another note, Torx is better than Phillips. It's designed NOT to strip out, as opposed to phillips, which is actually meant to strip after a certain torque load.

    The Apple "torx" is just a douchy move.
  • lifelesspoet
    Best. Headline. Ever.
  • coffeewow
    You can already by the correct screwdriver on ebay for 8.99. Just search for Pentalobe.
  • alyoshka
    You're screwed..... now that for sure :) Giving a whole new meaning to the screwing the customer business
  • Thor
    And later they will not permit to use their products without our finger print.
    Apple is a big joke.
    Just lucky for now to have no competition.
    But they will stay like that forever even when they will have less than 1 bilion in the pucket searching for what they sell no more products.
  • Thor
    And they are people who think JObs is a genius.
    And other they are generous.
    Sure miserly people are generous.