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

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, ...
apple independent repair program

Only a 'Small Fraction' of iPhone Users Will Use Self Service Repair Program, Study Suggests

Friday November 19, 2021 8:25 am PST by
Very few iPhone users will repair their own iPhone to postpone their next smartphone purchase, despite the Self Service Repair program, according to research by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP). Earlier this week, Apple announced the Self Service Repair program, giving customers who are comfortable with the idea of completing their own repairs access to Apple genuine parts,...
apple parts and service history

iOS 15.2 Adds 'Parts and Service History' Feature to iPhone

Tuesday December 7, 2021 9:12 pm PST by
With the launch of iOS 15.2, Apple is adding a new "Parts and Service History" section to the Settings app that will let users see the service history of their iPhones and confirm that components used for repairs are genuine. As outlined in a new support document, iPhone users who have iOS 15.2 or later installed can go to Settings > General > About to access Parts and Service History. The...
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 support app

Apple Updates Support App With Repair Cost Estimates in Some Locations

Monday February 14, 2022 10:37 am PST by
Apple today updated its Apple Support app designed for the iPhone and iPad, introducing a new feature that provides price estimates for common repairs in select locations. When using the Support app after installing the update, you can tap on a device that you own in the "My Devices" list and then choose "Repairs & Physical Damage" to see a list of options. Tapping on a common repair like ...
ifixit m1 macbook teardown

Leaked MacBook Schematics Have Aided Independent Technicians Performing Complicated Repairs

Monday May 10, 2021 8:51 am PDT by
Independent technicians have reportedly been able to use leaked MacBook schematics to aid repairs (via Vice). Last month, Apple supplier Quanta Computer was hit with an attack by the ransomware group known as "REvil," leading to a large quantity of internal Apple documents about both released and unreleased devices being exposed. The leaked PDFs, available on a number of forums and online...
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...
maxresdefault

Tim Cook Discusses Apple's New Do-It-Yourself Repair Program and More

Wednesday November 24, 2021 8:38 am PST by
Apple recently 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 iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 models. Apple said the program will launch early next year in the U.S. and expand to additional countries throughout 2022. Apple CEO Tim Cook briefly shared his...

Popular Stories

maxresdefault

Unbox Therapy Shares Hands-On Look at iPhone 14 Pro Max Replica

Monday May 16, 2022 4:40 am PDT by
YouTuber Unbox Therapy has shared a hands-on look at the iPhone 14 Pro Max using what he claims is a one-to-one replica created by third-party case makers with access to detailed schematics and dimensions for Apple's new upcoming flagship smartphone. As with the iPhone 13 Pro lineup, in 2022, we are expecting a 6.1-inch iPhone 14 Pro and a 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max, but this time the Pro...
macOS Monterey 2

Apple Releases macOS Monterey 12.4 With Support for Studio Display Webcam Update

Monday May 16, 2022 10:10 am PDT by
Apple today released macOS Monterey 12.4, the fourth major update to the macOS Monterey operating system that launched in October 2021. macOS Monterey 12.4 comes over two months after the launch of macOS Monterey 12.3, an update that added Universal Control. The ‌‌‌‌‌macOS Monterey‌‌ 12.4 update can be downloaded on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System...
iOS 15

Apple Releases iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5 With Wallet and Podcast Updates

Monday May 16, 2022 10:00 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5, the fifth major updates to the iOS and iPadOS 15 operating systems that were initially released in September 2021. iOS and iPadOS 15.5 come a little over two months after the launch of iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4. The iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5 updates can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in...
iOS 16 mock for article

Gurman: iOS 16 to Include New Ways of System Interaction and 'Fresh Apple Apps'

Sunday May 15, 2022 6:14 am PDT by
iOS 16 will include new ways of interacting with the system and some "fresh Apple apps," Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has said, offering some more detail on what Apple has in store for the upcoming release of iOS and iPadOS set to be announced in a few weeks at WWDC. In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter, Gurman wrote that while iOS 16 is not likely to introduce a major face-lift to...
Prosser Series 8 3

Apple Watch Series 8 Rumored to Feature New Design With Flat Display

Wednesday May 18, 2022 6:21 am PDT by
The Apple Watch Series 8 could feature an all-new design with a flat display, according to the leaker known as "ShrimpApplePro." In his latest video on the YouTube channel Front Page Tech, Jon Prosser highlighted information from ShrimpApplePro that suggests the Apple Watch Series 8 could feature a flat display in what seems to be a design originally rumored for the Apple Watch Series 7. ...
Whatsapp Feature

WhatsApp to Let Users Leave Group Chats 'Silently' and View Rich Link Previews in Status Updates

Tuesday May 17, 2022 3:07 am PDT by
WhatsApp is working on a new feature that will allow users to "silently" leave group chats hosted by the messaging platform instead of all members of the group being notified when they do. As it stands, when someone leaves a group chat, WhatsApp announces their exit to the entire group, making the act of leaving very public. It's not possible right now to leave a group quietly, but WhatsApp...
apple tv 4k design green

Apple Releases tvOS 15.5 for Apple TV HD and Apple TV 4K

Monday May 16, 2022 9:57 am PDT by
Apple today released tvOS 15.5, the fifth major update to the tvOS operating system that first launched in September 2021. tvOS 15.5 comes more than two months after the release of tvOS 15.4, an update that brought support for captive WiFi networks. tvOS 15.5 can be downloaded over the air on the Apple TV through the Settings app by going to System > Software Update. ‌‌‌‌‌‌Apple...