Apple Walks Back iPhone 13 Display Repair Restriction That Disabled Face ID

Following the launch of the iPhone 13 models, iFixit and other independent repair outlets found that replacing the iPhone's display renders Face ID non-functional, limiting repairs to Apple itself, Apple Authorized Service Providers, and Apple-associated repair shops. The change made it much more difficult for smaller, independent repair shops to perform ‌iPhone 13‌ display repairs on broken devices.

iphone 13 face id display repairs

Image via iFixit

Given the blowback from repair providers unhappy with the restriction, Apple has decided to change its policy. Apple told The Verge that it plans to introduce a software update that will allow for standard display repairs that do not disable ‌Face ID‌.

With the ‌iPhone 13‌ models, Apple added a small microcontroller that pairs the ‌iPhone 13‌ to its display. When performing a display repair, this microcontroller must be paired to the new display using Apple's tools, which independent repair shops do not have access to. Without this pairing process, swapping an ‌iPhone 13‌ display with a new display results in an error message that says "Unable to activate ‌Face ID‌ on this ‌iPhone‌."

Repair shops without access to Apple's pairing tools could take the microcontroller from the original display and add it to a new display, but it's a finicky process that requires soldering and a microscope to perform.

The software update that Apple plans to implement will remove the restriction that requires the microcontroller to be transferred to a new display when a repair is made, so independent shops will once again be able to repair screens without impacting the functionality of ‌Face ID‌.

There is no word yet on when Apple will add the software update to simplify ‌iPhone‌ display repairs for independent repair providers, but iOS 15.2 is in beta testing at the current time and the feature could be introduced in that update.

Related Roundup: iPhone 13
Related Forum: iPhone

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Top Rated Comments

fwmireault Avatar
33 months ago
Great. They should not have even put this software limitation in the first place.
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
turbineseaplane Avatar
33 months ago
Just like the CSAM stuff

The only thing -- the only thing -- that works with Apple is public pressure and backlash
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SpaceN64 Avatar
33 months ago
we shouldn't be praising them. They started this mess and now they have to clean it up
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Takeo Avatar
33 months ago
LOL at the entire thread of Apple defenders and armchair security experts I read here on MacRumors last week ?
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
turbineseaplane Avatar
33 months ago

Seems like Apple are backtracking on a lot of things lately, good news though that common sense has prevailed in this case ?
Common sense had nothing to do with it

Public backlash is the only tool that works against Apple anymore
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Havalo Avatar
33 months ago
Shouldn’t have been implemented in the first place, pure greed!
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)