iFixit confirms iPhone 13 display swaps render Face ID unusable

nanoguy

Posts: 1,243   +24
Staff member
In brief: Most people buying an iPhone 13 likely aren’t aware of the fact that Apple has made it more difficult to repair through independent repair shops. When it comes to the screen, choosing to repair it more cheaply now comes at the cost of losing Face ID functionality, and Apple has yet to explain the reasons behind the change.

Back in September, we learned that replacing your iPhone 13 display will render Face ID unusable, unless you choose to send it back to Apple for repairs, which can get quite expensive.

iFixit took a closer look at Apple’s newest iPhone and confirmed that if you decide to replace your iPhone 13 screen through a third-party repair shop, Face ID will indeed stop working. The company calls this change a “dark day for fixers, both DIY and professional.”

According to the analysis, Apple made it so you’ll need a microscope and several fine tools in order to complete one of the most common phone repair procedures, which has traditionally only required hand tools. If you own a small repair shop, you’ll likely need to purchase new equipment to stay in business. And if you’re simply someone who likes to repair your devices when they break, this change means you’ll be forced to go to Apple if you still want to be able to unlock your iPhone with Face ID.

The problem stems from the fact that every iPhone 13 is paired to its screen using a small microcontroller, which effectively ties the part to the device. Tech repair specialists call this practice “serialization,” but this practice alone isn’t what angers them. The worrying aspect is that in order to perform a screen repair on the new iPhone, authorized technicians will have to get access to the Apple Services Toolkit 2 as well as proprietary software needed to sync the serial numbers of the replacement part and the damaged iPhone.

As noted by iFixit, this gives Apple “the ability to approve or deny each individual repair.” Repair shops can theoretically join the company’s Independent Repair Program, but that effectively means giving up their customers’ privacy in the process. Another option would be to use a recently discovered workaround, but that’s a rather complicated process that involves transplanting the tiny microcontroller from the old, damaged screen onto the new one.

As of writing, Apple has yet to publicly comment on the reasons behind the change. Those who advocate for the right to repair devices you own scored a win last month thanks to the US Copyright Office, but we’re still a long way from true reform.

Permalink to story.

 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 6,308   +7,248
That is a pretty strong argument against allowing DIY repairs...that the display swaps could allow for security vulnerabilities.
 

Sausagemeat

Posts: 1,597   +1,422
Yeah this is bad. 3rd party repair shops are usually very good and you can usually rely on them being able to fix iPhones and will have spare parts because they are so common.

However will I switch to Android because of this. Hell no!

Apple get away with this kind of behaviour because they literally have no competition.
 

m4a4

Posts: 3,095   +4,138
TechSpot Elite
That is a pretty strong argument against allowing DIY repairs...that the display swaps could allow for security vulnerabilities.
The only strong argument against it is that the gatekeeping company can't make as much profit monopolizing repairs.

Show me an exploit in the wild that takes advantage of swapping genuine parts, or stop blindly defending the trillion dollar company's profits.
 

Shadowboxer

Posts: 2,074   +1,654
At least it is a hardware change, didn't Samsung disable the camera on the Fold if you root the device?

Bad Bad companies !!!
Oh all the other companies who make phones treat consumers far worse than Apple do. But its not fashionable to hate on any of them so journalists dont bother reporting on their failures. I mean have you tried RMAing a phone that isnt an iphone? Yeah good luck!
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 6,308   +7,248
The only strong argument against it is that the gatekeeping company can't make as much profit monopolizing repairs.

Show me an exploit in the wild that takes advantage of swapping genuine parts, or stop blindly defending the trillion dollar company's profits.



I honestly don't care what Apple charges nor what repairs they disallow.
I love their product. I support their product.
Anyone who doesn't want their product or limitations AIN'T GOTTA BUY IT.

That is all.

 

Hai Karate

Posts: 6   +14
Oh all the other companies who make phones treat consumers far worse than Apple do. But its not fashionable to hate on any of them so journalists dont bother reporting on their failures. I mean have you tried RMAing a phone that isnt an iphone? Yeah good luck!

Wow, Samsung disabled the camera on ONE MODEL OF PHONE if you root the thing... Apple locks down the whole device and OS and is now doing everything they can to disable features if you dare to get it repaired by anyone other than Apple. Not exactly the same thing.

And yes, I've RMAed a phone that wasn't an iPhone. It was repaired under warranty, no problems whatsoever. Of course for other brands of phone I have a choice and can repair it myself or take it to a third-party shop.
 

m4a4

Posts: 3,095   +4,138
TechSpot Elite
I honestly don't care what Apple charges nor what repairs they disallow.
I love their product. I support their product.
Anyone who doesn't want their product or limitations AIN'T GOTTA BUY IT.

That is all.
So, no reference to any exploits to backup what you said. As I thought.

With fanboys like these, no wonder they get away with doing ****ty things. Blindly defending a company 🤦‍♂️
 

lripplinger

Posts: 380   +171
Apple making their device not function correctly, unless they do the repairs. What a joke. A supposedly one trillion dollar company, and they consider small repair shops a threat. I wonder how much e-waste has been created, just because of Apple alone? How many devices out there could be repaired, and in use today, if the jerks at Apple would make parts and schematics available so we can repair this crap?
 

dualkelly

Posts: 248   +310
So, no reference to any exploits to backup what you said. As I thought.

With fanboys like these, no wonder they get away with doing ****ty things. Blindly defending a company 🤦‍♂️
Apple literally pushes updates to kill off old phone batteries and uses child slave labor but if it has iPhone on it people will sell their souls for the product.
 

Sausagemeat

Posts: 1,597   +1,422
Apple literally pushes updates to kill off old phone batteries and uses child slave labor but if it has iPhone on it people will sell their souls for the product.
Apple don’t use child labour, the cobalt in their phones was mined with child labour but it was found that almost all cobalt on the planet is mined that way. Also, Apple keep their phones supported, working and secure for far far longer than any other phone manufacturer.

If you’re going to hate on Apple at least get your facts right dude…
 

dualkelly

Posts: 248   +310
Apple don’t use child labour, the cobalt in their phones was mined with child labour but it was found that almost all cobalt on the planet is mined that way. Also, Apple keep their phones supported, working and secure for far far longer than any other phone manufacturer.

If you’re going to hate on Apple at least get your facts right dude…
rightttttttt.....
 

Sausagemeat

Posts: 1,597   +1,422
rightttttttt.....
Did you even read that link? Apples suppliers use child labour and they stamped it out. The article doesn’t say anywhere that Apple themselves employ children. I’m assuming you must be quite new here, all these electronics companies use dodgy suppliers. In fact the cheaper your tech is the more likely that sweat shops and children were used in the production of it etc.

Apple are far more ethical and environmentally friendly than companies like Samsung, LG, Sony etc and that’s a fact.