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Apple yanks iFixit app from the store, bans developer account in response to Apple TV teardown


The electronics repair site iFixit says that after it published its detailed teardown of the upcoming Apple TV hardware, Apple reached out to say that the company had violated the developer agreement and revoked the account that was used to obtain the device.

The iFixit app, which was previously available on the App Store for free, was tied to that developer account, meaning the app’s listing was removed along with the account. iFixit says they knew that Apple could potentially take issue with the teardown, but decided to move ahead with it anyway.

The team behind the app says they have no plans to re-release it at this time, and in some ways Apple may have actually done them a favor. The site had recently been more focused on overhauling its mobile web presence rather than upgrading the iOS app, which was already suffering from new iOS 9-related bugs they may not have had time to fix.

For now, iOS users looking for the latest iFixit guides will have to rely on the mobile website to get them.

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  1. What else were they expecting? It’s not just against the rules, it’s against the normal good behaviour.

    • iSRS - 7 years ago

      Agree 100%. ” iFixit says they knew that Apple could potentially take issue with the teardown, but decided to move ahead with it anyway.” – So they knew it would happen. Don’t get me wrong, I am glad they are willing to do things like this, and glad they don’t see this as “Evil Apple”

      • rogifan - 7 years ago

        Why? Couldn’t they have done a tear down after the device was available for sale? Who needs a teardown of the device that isn’t even available for sale? People’s curiosity can wait.

      • Ben Miller - 7 years ago

        “Apple could potentially take issue”? Of course Apple takes issue, it says it right there in the developer agreement that you are not allowed to do what iFixit did. The limited edition devkits are for developers who want to develop software for the upcoming Apple TV (OS) and not for non-developers who want to expose the _not final hardware_ to the public.

    • Smigit - 7 years ago

      Yeah agreed. iFixit seem to have taken it in stride anyway and confessed to knowing the risks. By the sounds of it they were concentrating on redeveloping their mobile site anyway and the app had become an afterthought, so it doesn’t sound like it’s a huge loss to them. If anything the loss of the app might help them double down on their focus on the site.

    • iFixIt really seems like theyre full of it. Its so rich of them to even say in the same blog that people should *their* license when using their API. They should probably learn what respect is and followed Apple’s license and privilege provided to them.

      • yuniverse7 - 7 years ago

        I really wanted to ‘like’ your post, but couldn’t understand it.

  2. presslee - 7 years ago

    Did they get the appbox for free? Must have set apple back a couple thousand from the loss in revenue, poor apple :(

  3. Putting up this kind of tear-down of pre-release hardware is not cool. Every developer box is under NDA for one thing. Shipping hardware may change for another. Waiting until the box was shipping would have been the prudent (and cool) thing to do.

  4. Dan Uff - 7 years ago

    Yeah well, the Apple TV Developer agreement said that “no one shall write any reviews about the device before its release.” I agree with Apple 100%

  5. epicflyingcat - 7 years ago

    Wow, d*ck move Apple. What exactly is the problem with knowing what’s in a device before it’s released? Why does it make any difference whatsoever?

    • tincan2012 - 7 years ago

      This is the kind of ‘rules are for every but me’ attitude that will get you into trouble with the law. But I think you knew that. It is just Apple you have a problem with.

    • Howie Isaacks - 7 years ago

      The problem is that this was a developer unit NOT the final product. iFixit wanted it only to tear it apart. Rules are rules. iFixit agreed to them, and violated them. That’s very untrustworthy. You may not feel this way if someone violates an agreement with you!

      • Karl Snow - 7 years ago

        Wasn’t it rather that iFixit published the teardown before the official release of those gadgets by Apple?

    • srgmac - 7 years ago

      I kind of agree with this — I don’t like how Apple doesn’t tell you what the RAM is on their products as well; and had a freakout when Adobe “accidentally” published the iPad Pro’s RAM. BUT — the developer boxes were specifically for developers. It has been said though, that the iFixit Apple TV that they tore down though was not theirs, and they got it from someone else — which is also against the ToS (giving your dev unit to someone else). Are they at fault still? Probably…I don’t see it as that big of a deal. Hardware is hardware, and if it’s in your possession and you paid for it, I don’t see how someone can tell you what you can’t write about it or what you can and can’t do with it.

      • standardpull - 7 years ago

        That’s like imagining that a car buyer can make sense of what the liter displacement of an engine means.

      • WaveMedia (@WaveMedia) - 7 years ago

        They were under NDA. Breaking it is not only against the agreement, but also illegal. Apple could have taken this MUCH further, they’d be well within their rights to sue them, but they took the more reasonable approach for all involved and simply banned their developer account and all that comes with it.

  6. Good for Apple and iFixits breakdown offer little value.

    • calxdavis - 7 years ago

      That’s because you don’t care what you buy.

      Apple could put their name on a hole and Apple lemmings would buy it shouting Apple invented it and even improved its design.

      Apple is crying foul because someone pulled back the curtain before they can make off with all your money.
      I am NOT saying iFixit didn’t violate the rules, I am saying good for them, who the heck cares.

      • lin2logger - 7 years ago

        Wow… you just fed *EVERY* pathetic, childish, moronic and just plain obtuse BS that a troll could muster in just *a single post*… BRAVO! You truly take the grand cake of a$$-hattery! *pats-on-back*

      • calxdavis - 7 years ago

        Time for your big boy pants. I get opposition everyday from Apple fanboys but I don’t cry about it. We can have a different perspective, if something is incorrect post it. Please correct me if I am wrong.

      • lin2logger - 7 years ago

        Please… do continue. Just let get both my palms into place first. Securely over my face.

  7. Howie Isaacks - 7 years ago

    I think iFixit is great, but if this really was a violation of the developer agreement, they had no business posting the innards of the new Apple TV online. Perhaps they should have waited until the product was released to the public before they did this. I like using their app on my iPad, so I guess I will have to just use the version that I have for as long as possible.

  8. PMZanetti - 7 years ago

    Good riddance.

  9. jonmentor - 7 years ago

    Who cares … iFixit is awesome and is still available online ;-)

  10. firuqutharuphwafozurtbud - 7 years ago

    The iFixIt guy is from what I can tell very cool, and giving. He makes the framework on which ifixit is built available to other folks wanting to do similar sites.
    America needs more entrepreneurs like Kyle Weins.

    I urge everyone to watch this man on TWIT special program video here.

    “Teach people to fix their stuff” “free, open source everywhere for everything” “instead of doing it as a business, teach people how to do it themselves”
    I wish MY KIDS were that enthused about such geek-y goodness. I have told many people about how great he is. Very Woz-like in his demeanor and exuberance towards the hobbyist minded folks.

    I applaud and salute him.

    • srgmac - 7 years ago

      Absolutely — anyone saying that iFixit provides “no value” is — I’ll be blunt here — an idiot. iFixit has helped me and many friends so many times when doing self-repairs; their guides are *invaluable* — but I think people are mad that they tore down a pre-release developer product. I can understand that; get mad at them for the right reasons, don’t say that they are stupid and have no value.

    • Lets wish YOUR KIDS will learn how to respect agreements too.

      • firuqutharuphwafozurtbud - 7 years ago

        I’m glad the colonists broke theirs. But yeah, I get that SOMEONE had to be that guy. Apple wins! YAY!

      • iphonery - 7 years ago

        Hhahaha! Good one San Andreas!!! I’m a bit of a hypocrite with my kids. If they knew the kind of s*!t I did when I was their age, they would question every scolding I give them. :P

    • WaveMedia (@WaveMedia) - 7 years ago

      He alsy sells a shit load of tool kits for people wanting to do repairs or upgrades to their stuff that follow their ad driven pages with the guides on. It isn’t entirely altruistic and the majority of the tools they sell are hardly rare to come by either. They just sell them in handy complete kits. I have no problem with this, it’s just when they do something that’s obviously in their own interest when they abuse something Apple (or some other company does) like using pentalobe screws. By god, the noise they made over that BS. Oh but look, they sell such a driver for you so it isn’t actually a problem any more!

      This whole thing reeks of a marketing stunt.

      • firuqutharuphwafozurtbud - 7 years ago

        Again, he has to live/eat. Did you watch the video? See how he is making his business model pretty much free to anyone else willing to put forth the effort to mimic his modest success.

        Again, I’ll take a neighborhood of these guys over most people I see on stage at Apple keynote events.

  11. iFixIt really seems like theyre full of it. Its so rich of them to even say in the same blog that people should respect *their* license when using their API. They should probably learn what respect is and followed Apple’s license and privilege provided to them.

  12. Jack Oneil - 7 years ago

    ifixit it seems like a good bunch of people but the developer rules are pretty clear. Apple has every right to bounce them out.

  13. standardpull - 7 years ago

    Apple: Want an preview Apple TV 4? You got to keep it secret! Promise?

    IFixIt: yes we want one! And we promise you we will keep it a secret!

    Apple: ok, here you go!

    IFixIt back room: hey we can get some additional ad dollars and press if we show the world the Apple TV. To hell with what we promised Apple. Let’s show the world!

    iFixIt: Cha-Ching!

    Apple: you broke your promise to us. So now our agreement with you is over.

    iFixIt: Let’s do a press release! That will drive up our visitor clicks! Cha-Ching!

    • airmanchairman - 7 years ago

      Exactly like the parable (or Aesop’s fable) of the Scorpion and the Frog.

      Half way across the stream, the Scorpion can no longer resist and fatally stings the frog (on whose back he is riding).

      As it dies, the frog asks the scorpion: “why, especially when you know you’re gonna drown now?”

      To which the scorpion answers: ” I dunno… I guess it’s just my nature…”

      The world seems to have a lot more scorpions than frogs…

  14. PhilBoogie - 7 years ago

    That is one heck of an opening line Mike!

  15. Valan Chan - 7 years ago

    The guy from iFixit seems great but like all of us he did a jerk move.

    I hope the AppleTV is still useable and being used by a productive developer. If not then he wasted a good development kit.

  16. Martin Vega - 7 years ago

    I love their videos but iFixit really f****d up with this Apple TV tear down. Apple’s policy was crystal clear and iFixit chose to ignore it. Not only did they violate their trust but then they decided to insult them even further by saying oh well “Live and learn.” Well I hope Apple takes their “Live and learn” asses to court and teach these knuckleheads the consequences of breaking the rules and how to follow them.

    • standardpull - 7 years ago

      iFixIt didn’t violate Apple’s policy.

      What iFixIt did was agree with Apple not to show anyone the Apple TV 4 until a specific date. And then in turn, Apple gave them an Apple TV 4.

      And then iFixIt almost immediately turned around, broke their promise, and showed the Apple TV to the world.

      Not cool.

      • Peter Hillman - 7 years ago

        9to5Mac did the same thing with their hands-on review showing off more features than Apple did during their keynote. Everyone already knew what components were inside of it because Apple told everyone during the keynote, and others reported it had 2GB of RAM, etc.

  17. Rich Davis (@RichDavis9) - 7 years ago

    Buyer beware. I used iFixIt’s site to replace a DVD drive in an older generation iMac. What happened is they didn’t give the proper part number for the replacement drive and when I started to crack open the iMac, the pictures weren’t the same as the model iMac that I had. Frustrating was to put the experience lightly. What out if you use iFixIt, they aren’t 100% accurate with the part number and the description of the description/photos of the teardown, so you might run into this issue, at least for older Macs. I checked carefully and they simply didn’t have the correct part number and teardown instructions as there were several different models of the same iMac that I had and they were incorrect as they only listed one replacement part and only one set of instructions when there were several for that generation iMac.

  18. せいか (@nseika) - 7 years ago

    Why did Apple send then developer unit anyway ?
    Don’t they know what iFixIt do to stuffs ?

    • airmanchairman - 7 years ago

      Do you think iFixit would apply for the lottery with their popular corporate name and win?

  19. Peter Hillman - 7 years ago

    What’s the big deal? Everyone already knew what components were inside of it from Apple’s keynote and many other tech news sites reporting on it as well. Everyone knew it had an A8, 2GB of RAM, 32 or 64GB of internal storage, HDMI, USB-C, power, Ethernet, and removal of the optical audio output. They did not disclose any unknown secrets. So what does it matter if they showed the box taken apart? It is still the same box now as it will be on Oct 31, which is probably when Apple will finally release it (‘end of October’).