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 Post subject: Apple Is The Worst
PostPosted: Wed Dec 29, 2021 10:22 am 

Joined: Fri Feb 14, 2014 3:42 pm
Posts: 89
Location: Troy, NY
I have been ruminating on this for some time. Figured I would put this out there so that the board can share in my frustration.
I have a decently sized e-waste operation in my area and we receive a fair number of Apple products ranging from completely shot to very nice condition, running through the gamut of ages and viability. We do pickups at businesses (some are authorized Apple third-party repair shops) and we also hold municipality wide/county wide events where folks also drop off some very nice things (recently, an Iphone 12 max?).
I am not saying this to gloat. I put these things aside in order to asses them later, attempt to unlock and then resell them, because people go bananas for Apple stuff (not sure why). I do this for other things as well, but we're not here for that.
Recently, I re-discovered my Apple pile. More like an Apple gaylord box. These particular devices are i-cloud locked or activation locked and are therefore deemed useless for me. I understand there are sketchy services to remove these sorts of things, but from a business perspective, I don't necessarily want to go there.
I contacted Apple and explained my situation. I explained who we were and how our permits were in order and documentation in place to prove chain of custody of these recycled devices. I asked for a one-time wipe of said devices, I even offered to ship them to Cupertino. They told me to take a hike.
Now, I understand Apple's stance on user security. I also understand Apple is probably the largest (or one of the largest) offenders in the e-waste space worldwide. Apple has proven to me they give zero f***s about sustainability.
Has anyone else run into issues with these corporate jackholes?
Anyone out there have friends in Mumbai or Tehran that wants to buy a pallet of locked Apple devices?

Fun fact: I have a friend at GE who was telling me of a similar problem that they had with resetting some of their older Apple devices. It took them 2 years to finally be blessed by Tim Cook. 2 years. GE.

 Post subject: Re: Apple Is The Worst
PostPosted: Wed Dec 29, 2021 2:39 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2015 6:57 pm
Posts: 9199
Location: Low DOS
Well… you are correct.
My love of the apple product (more exactly the innovation coupled with BSD) obviously will make me impartial.

On the other side: apple’s take back and recycling program, whilst destructive, are 92-98% recovery.
Sadly most of it Does not take place in the US.

Unfortunately complete product encryption didn’t exist prior to 2017 so anything before that not upgraded or not compatible for upgrades can be hacked into with nothing more than the right tools and a few hours of work via AMD Ryzon or Core i9. Etc.
And with that access you gain keychain access. And there is your problem!

Keychain is an enterprise level security kit that holds more than just passwords and keys. It holds certificates, storage bonds, handshake tokens… etc.
Payment info, crypto keys, notes, and much much more.

Factually though, apple exploits are extremely rare. Account exploits make the news because they’re just a point above non-existence.
As far as I can tell most of apple’s security bounty payouts come with an NDA and the payouts are often much larger than reported.

So where does that leave a company that more often than not actually does put customer security first m? At least in the US, UK, and Europe?
Much like the authorised and the certified programs. I think we could use a similar system in reuse.

Should apple remote wipe phones? Maybe.
But what happens in situations like this?
There needs to be a protective level to keep service companies from having a phone wiped a day after payment is due. Because forgetting to pay or pick up should not be the end of everything.

iCloud locking is a major roadblock to reuse. But at the same time bypassing it is a great way to invite abuse.
It’s not like an iPhone, locked or not, can only be an iPhone.

In the US an exception to the DMCA allows for bypass of security for interoperability.
There are dozens of alternative OSs you can install on a blank iPhone.
Free, legal software can simply blank a phone regardless of lockout. Install linux, ARMx, BSD, hell, there’s an unofficial port of full Darwin for the iPhone chipset.

Go looking a bit and you’ll find iPhones running Android! Windows!
The biggest use for a repurposed iPhone is home control and automation.
Take a $50 iPhone 6, blank it. Install BSD, PleX, and Open Remote.
A common reuse combo for high end home theatre installs.

Or install MultiTerm and use the phone as a master admin for a network. Home or commercial.

iPhones, older ones at least, are popular hack jobs for automation and IOT.

Despite their fragile shells: iPhones are remarkably reliable internally.
For all the choices without Apple’s involvement?

So we’re back to the beginning.
Should apple let up a bit? Sure!
They don’t need to shred the entirety of every device they accept for recycling. Which is what they currently do. Remote wiping or even hands on, could save millions of apple devices from the scrap industry and create a healthy supply of components for refurbishment.
But such practices require limits and protections which haven’t been thought out yet.

 Post subject: Re: Apple Is The Worst
PostPosted: Wed Dec 29, 2021 4:16 pm 

Joined: Fri Feb 14, 2014 3:42 pm
Posts: 89
Location: Troy, NY
I mean, sure, you can slap some Linux on there and be done with it. But from a consumer perspective, a vast majority of folks prefer the iOS interface, which would make doing that work a fools errand.
I guess the frustration factor lies within the fact that I can take ANY android device (just about) and put that into restore mode while making dinner at the same time, and have the thing reset and ready to go (without doing any modifications) by the time I'm done, in the most basic sense, without any special tools/software. I'm talking strictly factory restore.
That said, as a "vintage" computer enthusiast, some of my most favourite computers are Apple 2 units, or straight rip-offs of the Apple 2 like the Franklin Ace 1000. This was a time Apple actually invited you to open up your unit and modify it, and made it easy to do so.
Fast forward to now: you have the whole "right to repair" movement, which I fully agree with, stemming from Apple telling consumers to get bent and just buy a new device. Not just that, the whole "authorized Apple repairer" designation. Just opening your device is grounds for warranty voidage, as is putting in an aftermarket part, among others.
I can understand their policies from a business perspective, but as a consumer with Apple products under my care (the ones I paid for, not the ones that were recycled) I should be able to do with it what I want, and you should too.
Apple has come a long way (not for the better) from the days they rallied against Big Brother, now they are the company they pooped on in the 80's.

All that aside, it is just frustrating to see these potentially useful Apple units get torn down because of over-crazy security features, when they could be refurbed and put back into the field. Apple is happy youre spending $1700 on the new iPhone 69, but it's just ridiculous.

 Post subject: Re: Apple Is The Worst
PostPosted: Thu Dec 30, 2021 1:24 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2015 6:57 pm
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[quote] All that aside, it is just frustrating to see these potentially useful Apple units get torn down because … just ridiculous.

There we absolutely agree. Other than legally protecting itself there is little reasoning for not allowing a full wipe.
I understand the “accessory” to a crime comments as they really have happened in this country. Unlocking or wiping a stolen phone resulting in case time.
But coupled with a delay on request (7 days?) what are the chances that the request comes for an unreported stolen phone? Nill? Nix? So small to be a rounding error?
The vast majority of hard locked phones are users not turning off find my!

The shredding on the other hand is mindless waste.

You could trash electrical memory with a well placed ready-to-go over volting. Poof, gone.
Given the pure consistency in placement on iPhones it’s a process that could be totally automated.
Leaving all those other high quality components for refurb.

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