Apple has said it will stop making life difficult for anyone who replaces a broken iPhone 13 screen with a third-party screen and wants to keep Face ID support.
As iFixit pointed out at the end of September, if you swap out the screen of an iPhone 13, Pro or non-Pro, with a third-party replacement, you’ll end up with Face ID authentication disabled.
“Any screen replacement voids Face ID,” the repair company noted in its teardown of the latest iPhone. “It appears that the screen is locked serially on the phone. Unless Apple revises this behavior in software, screen replacements outside of Apple’s authorized repair lose all identifying functionality of the phone. face.”
According to the reviews of iCorrect and iFixit, if you want to replace the screen of an iPhone 13, you need to transfer a small controller chip from the official touchscreen to the unofficial screen.
From what we can tell, this chip effectively pairs the screen with the rest of the phone, and if you install a new screen, you have to use this paired controller. Without this pairing, Face ID is disabled by iOS 15.
Performing this chip transplant greatly complicates what should be routine maintenance, frustrating independent repair shops and anyone else replacing a screen.
Meanwhile, Apple Authorized Repair Shops have a software tool that ensures that a replacement iPhone and its replacement screen work together if needed without any issues. This creates an uneven playing field in the world of Apple repairs and reduces the choice of owners.
Today, Apple said it will address this situation in an iOS update at some point, allowing replacement screens to keep Face ID on without any chip transfers. “A solution will be available in an upcoming software update,” an Apple spokesperson told us, echoing what he told The Verge earlier.
“It’s a tactical feat for the repair market,” iFixit’s Kevin Purdy said in reaction to Tuesday’s news, “but it’s a never-ending fight until the battlefield changes.
“Apple – and the many companies it inspires – will move forward again with more part locks, more feature cuts, more reasons why only their profitable repair centers can do this job.
“Repair shops always envision a future that involves more microweld, more time, and perhaps tighter profit margins, as they compete with a company that can repair their own firmware blocks from the cloud.”
We’ve asked Apple and iCorrect for more information, and we’ll keep you posted if we hear more. ®