Apple backtracks, will release update allowing third parties to replace iPhone 13 screens...


Posts: 8,325   +103
Staff member
A hot potato: In an act of uncharacteristic generosity, Apple has decided that iPhone 13 owners will be able to use third parties for screen repairs without losing Face ID functionality. The welcome change will arrive in the form of a software update, though Apple never revealed when it would land.

Apple, long known for its opposition to the right to repair movement, attracted more controversy recently when iFixit confirmed that using an independent repair shop to replace the screen on an iPhone 13 renders Face ID useless. Upon detecting a new screen, the handset displays a message that reads: "Unable to verify this phone has a genuine Apple display."

Apple received plenty of criticism over the situation, understandably, and has now done something about it. Cupertino told The Verge it would be pushing out a software update that removes the need for the paired microcontroller chip to be transferred from an iPhone 13's original screen to a new one in order for Face ID to work.

Transferring the microcontroller chip is a hugely complicated, time-consuming process that requires "special equipment, and the ability to microsolder," making the relatively simple and cheap task of screen replacement a costly one for small repair shops—unless they're willing to join Apple's Independent Repair Program. Authorized Apple repair stores have special software that allows the iPhone 13 to accept a new screen without borking Face ID.

"This is a tactical achievement for the repair market, but it's an endless fight until the battlefield changes," said iFixit's Kevin Purdy. "Apple — and the many companies it inspires — will advance again with more parts lock-downs, more feature reductions, more reasons why only their profitable repair centers can do this work.

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Posts: 3,964   +4,553
It might be a small victory for independant repair shops but it must be difficult to constantly fight Apple on every single anti-consumer decision they pull.


Posts: 238   +184
I wonder how this will affect previous models or if this will be exclusive for iPhone 13. It'd be nice if this would apply to any device capable to updating to the latest and greatest.


Posts: 238   +184
So they purposely crippled the design to screw customers. This smells with a class-action suit all over it.

If only. This has been an apple thing for years now. Even using an OEM salvage screen, you get a notice saying you're using non-genuine apple parts. Same goes for the battery. This time they embedded the chip for the face ID module into the screen itself rather than having a removable harness like previous gens. This could also be a win for previous gen devices depending on how they are able to deploy OS updates to target devices. We shall see.


Posts: 69   +41
This is why I don't own Apple Products! Always trying to dictate how you should use your own device. I was able to replace both the battery and screen on my OnePlus 7p without any issues. No Repairability with these devices. What's the point of claiming 6 years of support when the battery only lasts for a couple of years?