Apple May Have Leaked Its Secret, In-House Diagnostic Software to the Public

PhoenixCE Credit: BickNlinko
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Apple staff members may have just inadvertently leaked some of the company’s secretive, in-house diagnostic software to the public.

Redditor BickNlinko said in a post yesterday that they recently bought a refurbished MacBook Pro. When the computer was booted up, it contained a suite of Apple diagnostic tools that the company doesn’t want to leak to the public.

That includes the tools that Apple has been incredibly protective of in the past — such as “PhoenixCE.”

While reports are fairly sparse, they do indicate that Apple tracks down users who have accidentally received diagnostic tools such as these and asks them to delete them.

The Redditor actually called Apple Support “to see if they would freak out.” But, interestingly, BickNlinko said that “they didn’t seem to care very much.” A supervisor apparently just told the Redditor to “boot in into the recovery mode and do a fresh install of the OS.”

You’d expect them to be a bit more concerned about the in-house tools being in public hands. But there’s a chance that the Apple Support staff aren’t really familiar with the diagnostic side of the company.

As such, the Redditor did just that. But not before they “may or may not” have made images of the disks containing the diagnostic tools.

Louis Rossmann

Amusingly enough, one of the top comments on the Reddit post is from Louis Rossmann. If you aren’t familiar, he’s a YouTube personality, right-to-repair champion and a vocal critic of Apple’s own repair policies.

“Are there any services you would like performed on this machine? A cleaning? Upgrades? Scratches in the screen you’d like fixed via replacing t with a new one?” Rossmann wrote in the comment. “I would be happy to perform ANY services you would like on this laptop, free of charge.”

Rossmann didn’t really reveal why he would offer free repair services to the user. But, and this is just speculation, it probably has to less to do with the kindness of his own heart and more to do with the diagnostic tools on the Mac.

Apple’s Diagnostic Tools — Does This Matter?

Apple is protective of its in-house software and tools. But this is also Apple we’re talking about. The company is notoriously secretive about pretty much everything.

That secretiveness does add an allure to Apple’s diagnostic tools, but it’s pretty likely that they’re fairly mundane and of not much interest to most users. (Besides Louis Rossmann, of course.)

There’s also a good chance that the tools are useless outside of Apple-controlled environments. One source within Apple even seemingly confirmed this to AppleInsider, saying that the tools “pose no security risk to users” and that they do sometime “escape the depot.”

Still, since there “may or may not” be copies of the tools in public hands now, we may soon see them pop up elsewhere.

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