Monday, Sep 27, 2021, 15:47 iOS: Hardware

iPhone 13: Face ID Not Compatible With Displays Replaced By Independent Parties

Display damage is one of the most common annoyances faced by iPhone users. Although the device's display panels have become significantly more impact-resistant over time and although the iPhone 13's new "ceramic shield" supposedly equips the device with better fall resistance, the iPhone 13's display does about just as well as its predecessors in drop tests – and display damage is no exception. To repair a standard iPhone 13's screen (not mini, Pro, or Pro Max), the price is US$279 through Apple when the device is out of warranty. Those hoping to get their repairs done by a 3rd party for a more reasonable price might find themselves a little disappointed – display swaps performed by unauthorized, independent third parties will cause Face ID to stop working.

Display Swaps: Face ID Stops Working
A YouTube video published by RepairGuru is more than revealing. Certain parts of the iPhone 13, such as distance or ambient light sensors, can be swapped smoothly. The microphone from one iPhone 13 can even be swapped into the other – without any issues whatsoever. However, the situation is slightly different when it comes to replacing or swapping displays. After doing so and then starting the device, users are greeted with the following message:

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Source: RepairGuru on YouTube


No Parts Of iPhone 13's Display Necessary For Face ID
What's rather surprising is that users are met with the message even when the display of one iPhone 13 is swapped with that of another – meaning that the identical parts would technically be exactly as they should. In addition, there are absolutely no aspects of Face ID that require any components of the device's display in order for the feature to work correctly. Instead, the iPhone 13's TrueDepth module is responsible for the required sensors and the Secure Enclave is built into the SoC.



Apple Trying To Sabotage Independent Repair Shops?
It's currently unclear whether or not the current situation is the result of an issue with iOS 15 that can be patched with a software update. However, it's possible that this is a measure from Apple to encourage customers to replace displays only with authorized shops or directly with the company itself. How long the current situation will be sustainable is also questionable, given the rise of new laws in Germany and The United States as a result of the "Right to Repair" movement.

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