The iPhone 13 was recently discovered to completely disable its Face ID functionality whenever a user wants to replace a third-party screen. This particular move by Apple was deemed intentional and was one of the most recent attempts to limit third party repairs. The Cupertino-based company appears to be addressing these concerns about rigid repairability restrictions by releasing a software update for the iPhone 13. It will allow Face ID to continue working in the event that the screen is replaced with a third-party replacement.
Apple announced The Verge that it will release an update that will allow users to continue using Face ID on their iPhone 13 phones after a third-party screen swap out. The exact schedule of the update will be announced soon.
DIY tutorial website iFixit found out earlier this month that Apple prevented iPhone 13 users from replacing their screen in a local store by disabling Face ID. The website said the problem wasn’t limited to any specific iOS version and even existed on the latest iOS 15.1.
The lock is unique to the iPhone 13 and difficult to understand because the Face ID module is completely separate from the screen. Interestingly, Apple uses the microcontroller available on the display to identify the third-party replacement and then disable Face ID. This would force an iPhone 13 user to go to an Apple Authorized Repair Center if they don’t want to lose functionality associated with it. Authorized service centers have the software tool that enables the assignment of the new microcontroller.
The iFixit team came up with a workaround that allows for repairability by moving the original microcontroller from the original screen to its replacement. However, this process requires a sophisticated repair facility that allows for micro-soldering. It’s not something you normally get at most of your repair shops nearby.
iFixit describes Apple’s withdrawal as a “tactical achievement” for the repair market, as it enables local stores to fix the iPhone 13 displays – without damaging Face ID and directing consumers to an Apple Authorized Service Center.
“Apple – and the many companies it inspires – will move forward again with more parts lockouts, more downgrades, and more reasons why only their profitable repair centers can do the job. Repair shops are still looking to a future with more micro-soldering, more time and possibly lower profit margins as they compete with a company that can fix its own firmware blocks from the cloud, ”the website says.
This week on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast, we’re discussing the iPhone 13, the new iPad and iPad mini, and the Apple Watch Series 7 – and what they mean for the Indian market. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, and anywhere you get your podcasts.