For all its effort to colour itself as a champion of consumers, especially when it involves privacy, Apple has always been one of the most important enemies of the “Right to Repair” movement. It’s put several obstacles designed to discourage unauthorized repairs of its products, from MacBooks to iPhones. That hasn’t completely thwarted third-party repairs, though, and Apple has been stepping up its efforts, but its latest change might strike a fatal blow to attempts at repairing one of the foremost commonly broken parts of any smartphone; its screen.
In addition to creating it physically harder to open up an iPhone to get rid of and replace components, Apple has resorted to a technique that iFixit calls “security through serialization” to trip up third-party repairs. In a nutshell, it means certain parts or the whole iPhone itself might pack up if an unauthorized third-party component is employed. Since only authorized service centres can get access to parts and tools to verify those components, it effectively discourages owners from risking third-party repairs to save lots of money.
The iPhone 13 seems to possess taken one breakthrough and one step backwards therein regard. iFixit notes that it’s now easier to exchange the iPhone 13 Pro’s battery because it only gives off a warning instead of block the entire use of the phone. Unfortunately, replacing the screen may be a completely different and opposite story.
According to YouTube channel Phone Repair Guru, replacing the iPhone 13’s display completely breaks Face ID functionality. This is often the case, albeit the replacement screen may be a genuine Apple screen taken from another iPhone 13. Because the screen doesn’t match what the iPhone came with, it’ll trigger the error.
This almost seems like the case with replacing Touch ID, but it’s a significantly different situation. The Touch ID component holds security-related components associated with the functionality, so, understandably, it might be presumed to possess been compromised if repaired by a 3rd party. On the opposite hand, a screen doesn’t have any direct connection to Face ID functionality, making it a puzzling and almost superficial association designed to discourage third-party repairs.