Pentalobe screw

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Pentalobe screw
Pentalobe screw diagram
Launch year 2009
Company Apple
Availability In use
Tamper resistant screw

The pentalobe screw drive is a five-pointed tamper-resistant system being used by Apple in its products.[1] The security screw is officially called "Pentalobular security screws" by Apple.[1] Pentalobe screws have been used by Apple since 2009, when they were first implemented in the 15-inch MacBook Pro. They have since been used on other MacBook Pro, MacBook Air and iPhone models. The DIY community had a public outcry when the Pentalobe screws first appeared; it was seen as Apple attempting to lock individuals out of their devices.[2]

Pentalobe screw sizes include TS1 (0.8mm, used on the iPhone 4, the iPhone 4S, the iPhone 5, the iPhone 5C, the iPhone 5S, the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus), TS4 (1.2mm, used on the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro with Retina display), and TS5 (1.5mm, used on the 2009 MacBook Pro battery). The TS designation is ambiguous as it is also used for the Torq-set screw drive.

MacBook usage[edit]

MacBook Pro[edit]

Pentalobe screws first appeared internally in the Mid 2009 MacBook Pro 15-inch model. Three Pentalobe screws were used to attach the battery to the internal frame. A 1.5mm flathead screwdriver could easily remove these screws, which were originally mistaken for 5-point Torx Screws.[3] This was the only internal usage of pentalobe screws; all following MacBook Pros use the "Tri-Wing" security bit to attach the battery to the internal frame.

The next appearance of pentalobe screws was in the Mid 2012 version of the MacBook Pro, the first to include a Retina Display. Eight 3mm and two 2.3mm Pentalobe screws were used externally to attach the bottom plate of the case to the internal frame.[4] The Late 2012 version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro was the first 13-inch model to have Pentalobe screws; several were used externally in a similar fashion to the 15-inch Mid 2012 MacBook Pro.[5] All three 17-inch models of the MacBook Pro have never used any Pentalobe screws.

MacBook Air[edit]

The MacBook Air has seen more extensive use of pentalobe screws than the MacBook Pro. All five versions of the 11-inch MacBook Air (Late 2010, Mid 2011, Mid 2012, Mid 2013 and Early 2014) include eight 2.5mm-long and two 8mm-long external Pentalobe screws.[6] The last five versions of the 13-inch MacBook Air (Late 2010, Mid 2011, Mid 2012, Mid 2013 and Early 2014) use eight 2.6mm-long and two 9mm-long Pentalobe screws.[7] Pentalobe screws have only been used externally on MacBook Air models.

Third-party manufacturers have marketed a variety of 5-point screwdrivers that fit Pentalobe screws on MacBook models since Pentalobe screws first appeared externally in the Late 2010 MacBook Air.

iPhone usage[edit]

The original iPhone had no screws holding the body together. The iPhone 3G and the iPhone 3GS had two #00 Phillips screw next to the 30-pin Dock Connector.

Pentalobe screws were first used in the iPhone 4. At first, #00 Phillips screws were used; however, many iPhone 4 models now have Pentalobe screws. [8] The screws used are slightly smaller than a Torx TS1, about 0.8 mm. If brought in to an Apple Store for repair, iPhone 4 models with #00 Phillips screws, if any, are replaced with 0.8-mm Pentalobe screws.[9] Third-party manufacturers rushed to produce screwdrivers that would remove 0.8-mm Pentalobe screws after the iPhone 4's release in June 2010. These inexpensive, easily purchased drivers will remove Pentalobe screws quite easily. Many are sold as "kits" containing a 5-point driver and Phillips #00 screws, in order to replace Pentalobe screws with easily removable Phillips screws. Most other security screwdrivers will strip the miniature heads, effectively locking the user out of their device.

All iPhone 4S models contain identical Pentalobe screws to those found on the iPhone 4. The iPhone 5 has very similar 0.8-mm Pentalobe screws, but the screws have longer 3.6-mm shafts.[10]


  1. ^ a b Wiens, Kyle (January 20, 2011). "Apple's Diabolical Plan to Screw Your iPhone". Retrieved January 28, 2012. 
  2. ^ Foresman, Chris (January 20, 2011). "Apple "screwing" new iPhones out of simple DIY repair". Ars Technica. Retrieved January 28, 2012. 
  3. ^ Galan, Walter. "Installing MacBook Pro 15" Unibody 2.53 GHz Mid 2009 Battery". Repair Guide. Retrieved January 28, 2012. 
  4. ^ Wiens, Kyle. "MacBook Pro 15" Retina Display Mid 2012 Teardown". Repair Guide. Retrieved January 28, 2012. 
  5. ^ "MacBook Pro 13" Retina Display Late 2012 Teardown". Repair Guide. Retrieved January 28, 2012. 
  6. ^ "MacBook Air 11" Late 2010 Teardown". Repair Guide. October 10, 2011. Retrieved January 28, 2012. 
  7. ^ Bookholt, Andrew. "Installing MacBook Air 13" Late 2010 Battery". Repair Guide. Retrieved January 2, 2012. 
  8. ^ Brown, Mark (January 21, 2011). "Apple locks down new iPhone 4s with tamper-resistant screws". Retrieved January 28, 2012. 
  9. ^ Kaneshige, Tome (January 20, 2011). "The Case of Apple's Mystery Screw". International Data Group. Retrieved January 28, 2012. 
  10. ^ Goldberg, Andrew. "Installing iPhone 5 Battery". Repair Guide. Retrieved January 28, 2012.