iFixit and other independent repair outlets said last week that the inability to replace the iPhone 13’s display without breaking Face ID could have a degrading impact on firms offering third-party iPhone repairs.
After a week of blowback from repair providers, Apple has told The Verge that it plans to release a software update that will allow for standard display repairs that do not disable Face ID.
iFixit says the iPhone 13 completely disables its flagship Face ID functionality when you replace its screen. iFixit says it has confirmed this repeatedly in its lab, testing with many different phones on iOS 15 and 15.1, and that its results have been replicated by numerous repair professionals.
iPhone displays repairs have previously been done with hand-held tools, but the iPhone 13 requires a microscope and micro soldering tools or access to Apple’s Independent Repair Provider Program.
The culprit is a small microcontroller that pairs the iPhone 13 to its display. iPhone 13 owners or repair shops not enrolled in the Apple repair program do not have the tools needed to pair a new screen to an iPhone 13. Authorized technicians use Apple Services Toolkit 2 to log a repair to Apple’s cloud services, which connect the serial numbers of the iPhone and the display.
The software update will remove the requirement for the microcontroller to be transferred to a new display when a repair is made. This means that independent repair shops will be able to repair iPhone 13 screens without impacting Face ID.
Apple has not announced when it will release the software update.