Apple refuses to punish those who repair their iPhone screens

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(Photo: Kilian Seiler / Unsplash)
In vague terms, Apple has said it wants to finally allow customers to repair their iPhone displays through third parties, without losing the ability to use FaceID.

As originally discovered By iFixIt, the new iPhone displays contain a tiny controller chip, which acts as an integrated circuit responsible for translating screen touches into signals the phone can understand. This is a change, as prior to the iPhone X, this chip was stored on the logic board inside the body of the device. As it stands today, a serial lock requires the display chip to remain connected to the rest of the phone to maintain use of FaceID, which is Apple’s facial recognition feature.

The placement of the display chip has historically hindered any attempts to replace iPhone screens via third parties. The chip needs to be transferred to the new display, which heavily complicates repairs. While Apple and its authorized repair partners have a special software tool that helps maintain the association between the device and the display during and after repairs, third-party stores are left in the dust. IPhone users are therefore forced to choose between paying the higher repair costs to Apple or lose FaceID, Apple’s only passcode-free unlocking method since it got rid of TouchID with the iPhone X redesign.

Apple got rid of TouchID with the iPhone X, leaving users to enter passcode and FaceID. (Photo: Miguel Tomas / Unsplash)

Apple now says it will eliminate this problem in a future iOS update, giving iPhone users more choices when they need to fix the display. While Apple has not yet declared which the update will provide the fix, eventually there will come a point where iPhone users will be able to stress a little less about breaking their screens. “A solution will be available in an upcoming software update”, She said to Apple’s spokesperson at The Register. How quickly this happens depends on how soon Apple is willing to forgo the revenue from screen replacement (which, by the way, is the most common type of iPhone repair).

Meanwhile, iFixIt is celebrating the win, with a healthy dose of skepticism. “Apple – and the many companies it inspires – will move forward again with more part locks, more feature reductions, more reasons only their profitable repair centers can do this job,” He says IFixIt writer Kevin Purdy. “This is the kind of thing that makes us fight for the right to redress, in the press and wherever we can.”

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