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iOS

Apple disables Face ID on iPhone 13 Series if a third-party repairs screen

By Roland Udvarlaki November 5, 2021, 7:30 am
iOS home screen

Apple is known to disable Face ID unlock upon a screen repair if it wasn’t carried out by Apple Authorized technicians or repair shops, but the latest iPhone 13 Series goes a step further. Suppose a third-party repair shop fixes the screen on any of the iPhone 13 Series. In that case, the Face ID sensor will stop working altogether, and it won’t let the user authorize payments, sign in to an account, unlock the device (with Face ID), send animojis, and more.

iFixit posted its findings (via 9to5Mac) on their website and said that “dark day for fixers, both DIY and professional”. Screen repair is one of the most common fixes that third-party shops and even Apple does regularly as people tend to drop their devices. However, the new change could put even more pressure on the already struggling third-party repair shops that make a living out of repairing phone displays, offering accessories, and changing batteries. If fewer people trust and bring their devices into these stores, and choose to get their devices fixed with Apple, it’ll leave nothing for the rest of the players who are just as good as qualified technicians.

iFixit tested the iPhone 13 on both iOS 15 and 15.1 updates to confirm its findings.

“The new iPhone 13 completely disables its flagship Face ID functionality when you replace its screen. We have confirmed this repeatedly in our lab, testing with many different phones on iOS 15 and 15.1, and our results have been replicated by numerous repair professionals.“

As for what the changes are, iFixit goes into detail to explain the process:

“The iPhone 13 is paired to its screen using this small microcontroller, in a condition repair techs often call “serialization.” Apple has not provided a way for owners or independent shops to pair a new screen. Authorized technicians with access to proprietary software, Apple Services Toolkit 2, can make new screens work by logging the repair to Apple’s cloud servers and syncing the serial numbers of the phone and screen. This gives Apple the ability to approve or deny each individual repair.”

A workout for the repair has also been recently discovered, but it’s described as “sophisticated”. It says that repair shops would be required to physically move a “soldered chip from the original screen onto the replacement”, which could require a lot more tools, time, and attention. 

Apple iPhone 13

Apple iPhone 13

The iPhone 13 series are the latest flagship devices from Apple. It comes with an upgraded A15 Bionic chipset, new cameras, and great new features.

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