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Apple makes huge u-turn on iPhone 13 screen repairs

Apple will allow iPhone 13 owners to use third-party screen replacement services, following a backlash from users who learned doing so would prevent Face ID from working.

A forthcoming software update will make it possible to replace the display without having to transfer over a control chip from the display being swapped out.

Apple told The Verge the update is coming, but hasn’t specified when it’ll become available. Eventually it’ll mean iPhone 13 owners will have more options for replacements if their displays succumb to spills and other damage. Trusted Reviews has contacted Apple for more information on the potential software update.

An iFixit report last week made it clear that replacing the screen required the repairer to transfer the component or lose Face ID functionality completely.

Because that method required some proprietary Apple software, it became the realm of authorised service providers only and ensuring smaller, independent businesses wouldn’t have the capability to perform the repair.

Here’s how iFixit described the issue last week, following its teardown of the iPhone 13 after its release:

“The iPhone 13 is paired to its screen using this small microcontroller, in a condition repair techs often call “serialization.” Apple has not provided a way for owners or independent shops to pair a new screen. Authorized technicians with access to proprietary software, Apple Services Toolkit 2, can make new screens work by logging the repair to Apple’s cloud servers and syncing the serial numbers of the phone and screen. This gives Apple the ability to approve or deny each individual repair.”

The u-turn means independent shops are far less likely to face doom as a result of no longer being able to repair iPhone screens which, along with battery replacements, are by far the most popular issues iPhone users need resolving. For iPhone users, it means they won’t have to fork out Apple’s official prices to maintain basic security.

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