Apple Bows to Pressure and Makes the iPhone 13 Easier to Repair

After backlash around the iPhone 13's repairability earlier this month, Apple has changed its policy and made its latest smartphone easier to repair.

iphone 13 face id display repairsImage via iFixit

Following the launch of the ‌iPhone 13‌ lineup earlier this year, iFixit and other independent repair outlets discovered that replacing the iPhone's display renders Face ID non-functional. This limited basic screen repairs to being provided only by Apple itself, Apple Authorized Service Providers, and Apple-associated repair shops, making it much more difficult for smaller, independent repair shops to provide the same service.

The issue arose because Apple added a small microcontroller to the ‌iPhone 13‌ that pairs the device 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 is a time-consuming and challenging process that requires complex soldering and use of a microscope.

Given the negative reaction from users and repair providers who were unhappy with the seemingly arbitrary restriction, Apple has now decided to change its policy. Apple told The Verge that it plans to release a software update that will allow standard display repairs to not disable Face ID.

The software update that Apple plans to release 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.

It is not yet known when Apple will add the software update to simplify ‌iPhone‌ display repairs for independent repair providers, but iOS 15.2 is currently in beta testing and the feature could be introduced in that update.

It recently emerged that Apple has made it easier to replace the MacBook Pro's battery, since it is no longer glued in place and trapped under the logic board, in an improvement that may make the new machines more long-lasting and is a step in the right direction for Right to Repair advocates.

Related Stories

iphone 13 face id display repairs

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

Tuesday November 9, 2021 11:14 am PST by
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...
iphone 13 face id display repairs

iPhone 13 Screen Replacements Can Break Face ID, a Repair Restriction iFixit Calls 'Completely Unprecedented'

Thursday November 4, 2021 12:07 pm PDT by
An inability to replace the iPhone 13's display without breaking Face ID could have a major impact on companies that offer iPhone repairs, iFixit said today in an article advocating for Right to Repair laws. iFixit first pointed out this repair issue in its iPhone 13 Pro teardown, and has confirmed it with multiple tests. Replacing the display of the iPhone 13 renders Face ID non-functional, ...
maxresdefault

iFixit Lauds Apple's New Self Service Repair Program, Calls It a 'Remarkable Concession'

Wednesday November 17, 2021 12:04 pm PST by
Apple this morning surprised the world with an unexpected "Self Service Repair" program, which is designed to allow customers access to genuine Apple parts, tools, and manuals for making their own device repairs. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Giving customers this kind of unprecedented access to repair guidelines and hardware is a major win for Right to Repair...
apple independent repair program

U.S. President Joe Biden to Direct FTC to Draft Right to Repair Rules

Tuesday July 6, 2021 11:52 am PDT by
United States President Joe Biden plans to direct the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to create new right to repair rules that would affect tech companies like Apple, reports Bloomberg. The rules would prevent manufacturers from limiting consumers' options for repairing products at independent repair shops or on their own, and the presidential directive is expected to mention mobile phone...
apple self service repair announcement

Apple Announces Self Service Repair Program, Starting With iPhone 12 and 13

Wednesday November 17, 2021 6:07 am PST by
Apple today announced the "Self Service Repair" program, allowing users to complete their own repairs via a new online store dedicated to parts and tools. The Self Service Repair program will give customers who are comfortable with the idea of completing their own repairs access to Apple genuine parts, tools, and manuals, starting with the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 lineups. The scheme will be...
iPhone 13 Face ID

Test Suggests Face ID on iPhone 13 Doesn't Work After Screen Replacement By Third Party

Sunday September 26, 2021 11:43 pm PDT by
Update: According to the video mentioned below, even if an iPhone 13 display is replaced with a genuine and original iPhone 13 screen, Face ID will stop working. In the video, the repair provider swapped two original iPhone 13 screens and in both cases, Face ID was inoperative after the new screens were installed. It seems to be the case that if the original screen is put back with the original...
apple independent repair program

Apple's Efforts to Block 'Right to Repair' Laws Highlighted in New Report

Thursday May 20, 2021 10:22 am PDT by
There have been a number of reports about Right to Repair legislation across the United States, and an equal number of reports about the lengths that Apple has gone to in order to block new repair bills from becoming law. Bloomberg today shared a new Right to Repair piece that highlights how Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, and Google have worked to put a stop to laws that would require the tech...
apple independent repair program

U.S. FTC Commits to Fighting Against Unlawful Repair Restrictions

Wednesday July 21, 2021 12:12 pm PDT by
The United States Federal Trade Commission today announced that it is committed to devoting more of its resources to fight against unlawful repair restrictions in a move that has the potential to impact Apple in the future. Earlier this month, U.S. President Joe Biden called on the FTC to create new right to repair rules that will prevent manufacturers from limiting consumers and businesses...
apple self service repair text

Apple's Parts Store for Do-It-Yourself Repairs Will Be Operated By a Third Party

Monday November 22, 2021 10:02 am PST by
Last week, Apple announced a new self-service repair program that will provide customers with access to Apple genuine parts, tools, and manuals for completing their own repairs of select devices, starting with the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 lineups and later Macs with M1 chips. Apple said the program will be available starting early next year in the United States and expand to additional countries...
apple independent repair program

Apple Expanding Independent Repair Provider Program Worldwide

Monday March 29, 2021 1:01 pm PDT by
Apple today announced that it is expanding its Independent Repair Provider Program to more than 200 countries, which is nearly every country where Apple products are sold. First introduced in 2019, the Independent Repair Provider Program is designed to provide repair shops with access to genuine parts, tools, repair manuals, and diagnostics for performing out-of-warranty repairs for Apple...