New in OS X: Get MacRumors Push Notifications on your Mac

Resubscribe Now Close

iPhone Screen Repairs to Get Faster as Apple Moves to Software-Only Calibration Process

Apple has announced that its iPhone display calibration process no longer requires specialized hardware, according to an internal service-related document obtained by MacRumors today.

Starting today, Genius Bars and Apple Authorized Service Providers can calibrate the display on a repaired iPhone 6s or newer by simply connecting the device to a Mac mini or MacBook Air running Apple's calibration and diagnostics software, without the need to use a so-called 3D Touch Calibration Fixture.

3D Touch Calibration Fixture via Reuters

Apple says this change will result in three benefits for service providers and customers:
  1. More flexible workspaces for service providers, as the calibration fixture takes up quite a bit of space.
  2. Reduced wait times for customers, suggesting that the software-based calibration process is faster.
  3. Later this year, more Apple Authorized Service Providers around the world will have an opportunity to expand their in-store repair offerings to include iPhone display repairs.
Apple will outline the required steps for service providers to transition from the hardware to the software process later today, according to the internal communication, which was earlier reported by iMore's Rene Ritchie.

Apple Authorized Service Providers with a 3D Touch Calibration Fixture will be required to return the hardware at a later date to be announced.

iPhone display calibration ensures that a replacement display is fully integrated with the device's logic board at the system level. The process has been required since the arrival of Touch ID on the iPhone 5s in 2013, followed by 3D Touch on the iPhone 6s and newer, and Face ID on the iPhone X and newer.

Touch ID and Face ID calibration was already completed in software, and now 3D Touch calibration will be too, completely eliminating the need for hardware. If the display on an iPhone is replaced, but the calibration process is not completed, then Touch ID, Face ID, and/or 3D Touch will not function.

Apple only provided a handful of third-party service providers with its calibration fixture, so this change should result in faster, more flexible, and more widely available iPhone screen repairs in many countries.

Since Apple made Horizon machines available to Authorized Service Providers, there are more AASPs that can provide screen fixes than Apple Stores worldwide, making it quicker and faster for customers to get a screen repair. With change to a software-based calibration process, thousands more AASPs will be able to provide in-store screen fixes without the need to send devices off for repair.

Tag: AASP


Top Rated Comments

(View all)

5 weeks ago
That boxy plastic design looks so familiar…



I knew it!

Rating: 10 Votes
5 weeks ago
Something tells me that software-based calibration, no matter how advanced, cannot beat hardware-based calibration.

Unless the hardware steps are now taking place at the factory prior to shipment I’m concerned that displays calibrated with software will be less accurate.
Rating: 10 Votes
5 weeks ago

('https://www.macrumors.com/2018/09/17/iphone-calibration-process-now-software-only/')
Starting today, Genius Bars and Apple Authorized Service Providers can calibrate the display on a repaired iPhone 6s or newer by simply connecting the device to a Mac mini or MacBook Air running Apple's calibration and diagnostics software, without the need to use a so-called 3D Touch Calibration Fixture.

Why did they specify the Mac Mini and MacBook Air, the only two Macs left with USB type-A ports? I thought USB-C was the future? ;)
Rating: 9 Votes
5 weeks ago

Something tells me that software-based calibration, no matter how advanced, cannot beat hardware-based calibration.

Unless the hardware steps are now taking place at the factory prior to shipment I’m concerned that displays calibrated with software will be less accurate.

"Calibration" is a bit of a misnomer. What they really mean is pairing the replacement parts to the logic board as a means of "security" by preventing non-AASP third party repair.
Rating: 6 Votes
5 weeks ago
What is this "Mac Mini" they speak of? An exciting and mysterious new product not yet available to the public?
Rating: 3 Votes
5 weeks ago
So they should be cheaper then!
Rating: 3 Votes
5 weeks ago
How about Apple throw this up on the Mac store so that everyone has the option of replacing their own screens?
Rating: 2 Votes
5 weeks ago
To give some light as a former repair tech at an apple store, these "calibration machines" were a required step whenever a display was replaced on any iPhone, though there were two specific types: one for 3D Touch, and one for without (basically, is it an iPhone 6s or newer vs iPhone 6> | iPhone 5/5s/SE). The machines were multi purpose for the repair process, first it verified the phone would boot into a form of iOS or custom software, perform various pressure sensitive touch tests (hence the 3D Touch vs non-3d touch), and then finally, re-assign serial numbers or pairing of Touch ID to the logic board. The biggest problems we ever had with these machines would be service outages (since the software had to communicate with servers to authenticate the display replacement and re-assigning the serial numbers of the display/touch-screen/touch-id to the logic board), or when the machine would refuse to calibrate any phone display, leading to delays and downtime (queue 30 minutes worth of angry customers asking where their phones are when the new display is still waiting in line for the now one and only working calibration machine for that type). All in all though, for what would usually take an at most 20 minute display replacement repair would turn into the full 45 minutes just because the calibration machine would be sitting there doing it's "thing" for 15-18 minutes. Worst yet, if we had to restart because of a dreaded adhesive failure message (the 3D Touch calibration machine would somehow "magically" test for this, no idea how it ever tested or how it was triggered, just thought it was some failure somewhere else), it would mean an additional 30 minutes added... Oh, and don't forget, these machines are vibration sensitive, so "vibration detected" would be an additional 15-18 minutes to redo the calibration... If all goes well, the phone successfully restarts into whatever iOS it entered in with, with no data loss, and a new functioning display! If not... well, as some people already mentioned, a new white box replacement iPhone of the same model and spec was given for the cost of the display.

This change of being only software is a little interesting from this perspective, since it might mean that the technician performing the repair will have to manually perform a touch sensitivity test in place of the calibration machine doing it (anyone in AASP or Apple may recall the touch pad calibration test for MacBook pros with those weights).
Rating: 2 Votes
5 weeks ago
Another former Apple employee chiming in:

The biggest impact this should have is speeding up screen replacement times. The calibration process (when running smoothly) actually didn't take that long, but the machine itself could go out of commission for a full day or so. I had never been in a store that had more than one of these machines, so having that one machine go down meant a LONG queue of phones waiting to be calibrated (after already having had the screen replaced). Like a previous commented mentioned, this meant managers coming around telling us to just do a full swap on the device for the cost of a screen repair.

Getting rid of this machine should hopefully mean that you can calibrate as many phones at once as you have "Geniuses" on staff that day (as opposed to one-at-a-time).
Rating: 2 Votes
5 weeks ago
No more cleaning the pads and running the phone through again. The future is now!
Rating: 1 Votes

[ Read All Comments ]