Hidden Lightning connector found in Apple TV 4K ethernet port

ByAppleInsider Staff

Thursday, October 17, 2019, 04:28 pm PT (07:28 pm ET)

A closer inspection of Apple TV 4K's internals reveals Apple's streaming box includes what appears to be a Lightning connector interface hidden in its ethernet port, potentially providing a direct path to critical system hardware.

In a closer inspection of iFixit's2017 teardown ofApple TV 4K, Apple TV hardware andtvOS specialist Kevin Bradley on Thursday spotted solder joints on the device's logic board that correspond to Apple's Lightning connector protocol.

Bradley, better known by his Twitter handle nitoTV, suggests the Lightning port might be used to gain access to Apple TV 4K firmware, a route that could lead to a jailbreak.

"[N]one of us looked THAT closely to the hardware of the AppleTV 4K [sic] and the magic locked in the ethernet port until fairly recently. its [sic] going to take time to figure out what is possible and how," Bradley said in a tweet.

A subsequent tweet from self-described "maker" Steven Barker takes a closer look at the device's ethernet port, revealing Apple slyly disguised external access to the Lightning contacts with sliding slat. Shifting the door up exposes the set of pins, but a specialized connector is required to interface with the hidden port.

Developer Steven Troughton-Smith believes the Lightning pins are used for hardware debugging . Apple has a history of incorporating similar "hidden" connectivity elements in its hardware.

For example, Applesecreted away a data port in a groove designed to accept Apple Watch straps. The company has since utilized the port for diagnostics and connection to an interactive pedestal previously used to show off Watch in Apple stores.

What, if anything, can be accomplished by accessing the Apple TV 4K port is at this point unknown, but the presence of Lightning terminals is an interesting find considering the device was released more than two years ago .