After the iPhone 13 launched, it only took a few days for DIY enthusiasts to find out that replacing the phone’s screen at home or in a repair shop would make Face ID useless. Well, after a lot of uproar, it looks like Apple has turned around.
In a confirmation made to The edge, Apple told the post that third-party screen replacements, including those not done at an Apple authorized repair facility, will not break Face ID. Apple will release the fix via a software update. The company has not given a date for this update to go live.
Replacing the screen alone isn’t what broke Face ID. Instead, repair technicians learned that it was also necessary to export the tiny microcontroller from the original screen to the replacement. This, however, is a difficult task. This is not a problem for authorized Apple repair shops, as these locations have special software that can cause an iPhone 13 to accept a new screen.
While it is not impossible to micro-solder the display IC from the old display to the replacement, it is a major problem. The chip sits on solder balls and its removal requires considerable patience and time. Youtube channel I correct demonstrates the process, and it is not for novice iPhone repair enthusiasts. I fix it also has an article documenting the replacement process.
The reason the move has sparked so much anger among homeowners and repair advocates is that it would impose an onerous blockade on independent repair shops, those who can rely heavily on screen replacements for their business.
Additionally, right to repair advocates saw this as a malicious move by Apple to divert potential revenue from independent repair shops so that customers would bring their device to an Apple store for a more expensive repair instead. Or, would opt to pay for Apple Care.
At least with the iPhone 13, it’s good to know that there are options for customers outside of the Apple store network.
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