Third-Party iPhone 13 Screen Repair Kills Face ID, Noice

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As with all new iPhone releases, when the iPhone 13 was first released in September, it too suffered the traditional dismantling by a third-party repair company, iFixit, and what they found was…not good.

According their findings, despite the decoupling of the Face ID module and the screen, any screen replacement will deactivate Face ID. This means that any screen replacement not authorized by Apple will cause a Face ID component to fail.

After multiple tests, today, iFixit published an article confirming their initial findings and how it can “change the repair industry everywhere”.

“It’s a dark day for repairers, whether they are DIYers or professionals. One of the most common phone repairs that might once be made with hand tools now requires a microscope. This means that you will not be able to repair your iPhone screen yourself without sacrificing major features. It also has huge implications for the professional repair industry, where Apple is the dominant brand to service. Small stores could be closed, forced to choose between spending thousands of dollars on new equipment or losing a major source of revenue. »

– I fix it

They go on to explain how even a swap of an iPhone 13 screen to a new iPhone 13 screen results in an error message saying “Failed to activate Face ID on this ‌iPhone‌”.

The problem seems to be a small microcontroller that associates the ‌iPhone 13‌ with its screen. Apple doesn’t have a tool or way for independent stores or owners to pair a new screen. In effect, it gives Apple the ability to approve or deny each individual repair.

“The iPhone 13 is paired to its display using this tiny microcontroller, in a state that repair technicians often refer to as ‘serialized’. Apple has not provided owners or independent stores with a way to pair a new screen Authorized technicians with access to proprietary software, Apple Services Toolkit 2, can make new screens work by saving the repair to Apple’s cloud servers and synchronize phone and screen serial numbers. This gives Apple the ability to approve or deny each individual repair.

– I fix it

iFixit goes on to wearily explain how Apple’s decision to disable Face ID with third-party screen replacements could shut down many small repair outlets and could also completely shatter the third-party iPhone repair market.

“Tens of thousands of repair shops around the world support their communities by replacing customer screens at competitive prices. And Apple is, all of a sudden, seemingly cutting the industry to the knees.

– I fix it

Other independent repair outlets iFixit said Apple intentionally did this in order to “thwart a customer’s ability to repair.”

“[This] is an intentional move to thwart a customer’s ability to repair,”

“Honestly, if every screen repair involved this much work, I would hang up and we couldn’t help the thousands of people we do every month.”

– Carroll, of the Fruit Fixed channel

Although some repair shops have found a workaround, it’s not for the faint of heart. The process of removing a soldered chip [microsoldering] from original screen to replacement, not only is time consuming, but it’s also a skill “that requires thousands of dollars worth of equipment and extensive practice to be proficient”.

You don’t know anything about microwelding? It’s okay, me neither. Another option presented by iFixit is to join Apple Independent Repair Programsomething they say is “not an option for stores that value their customers’ privacy.”

Finally, the only other option left after that arduous workaround and joining Apple’s independent repair program would be to… get AppleCare+ and don’t drop your sh*t.

iFixit contacted Apple for comment, but they did not respond.

“Apple hasn’t said anything publicly about this. Mahathy Dustan experienced repair technician, said a friend inside Apple Independent repair program was informed by Apple Support that the issue will be resolved in an iOS update. The only change we saw is that in 15.0 the Face ID feature was not working silently, but in the latest version it shows the explicit error message. We’ve reached out to Apple for comment, but they haven’t responded.

– I fix it

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