Apple’s John Ternus defends iPhone parts pairing as ‘not evil’

Apple’s John Ternus defends iPhone parts pairing as ‘not evil’

Apple announced big changes to its repair policy today, saying that select iPhone repairs can be completed with used genuine parts for the first time. One controversial repair practice that remains in place, however, is parts pairing.

In a new interview with TechCrunch today, John Ternus, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Engineering, defended the practice as something that “is not evil.”

As a refresher, parts pairing is when a serial number of a component (like a screen) is digitally paired to the serial number of the iPhone itself. Apple has employed this practice for years, though it has never explicitly referred to it as “parts pairing.” It’s also something that has been heavily criticized by iFixit and is the target of multiple pieces of legislation.

In today’s interview, Ternus addressed the “negative connotation” of parts pairing:

 “I think it’s led people to believe that we somehow block third-party parts from working, which we don’t. The way we look at it is, we need to know what part is in the device, for a few reasons. One, we need to authenticate that it’s a real Apple biometric device and that it hasn’t been spoofed or something like that. … Calibration is the other one.”

These efforts, Ternus said, ensure that the user is getting the best experience possible:

“Parts pairing, regardless of what you call it, is not evil. We’re basically saying, if we know what module’s in there, we can make sure that when you put our module in a new phone, you’re gonna get the best quality you can. Why’s that a bad thing?”

Regardless of Apple’s beliefs, it could be forced to make changes to its “parts pairing” practices anyway. Recent legislation passed in Oregon specifically outlawed parts pairing, but it’s unclear how Apple will comply and how the law will be enforced.

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