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After a third-party screen repair, the iPhone 13 disables Face ID, according to iFixit.

Teardowns showed a substantial shift to the repair procedure when the iPhone 13 range was originally announced in September. Face ID will no longer operate if the iPhone 13’s display is repaired by a third party for the first time. Now, iFixit has taken a deeper look at the shift, calling it a “sad day for DIY and professional fixers.”

According to iFixit, this modification now necessitates the use of a microscope to conduct “one of the most popular phone repairs,” which could previously be completed “with hand tools.” Third-party independent repair businesses may be forced to close as a result of the shift, which will compel them to “choose between spending thousands of dollars on new equipment or losing a key source of income.”

This modification has the following implications for the repair process:

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. 

Another alternative is to join Apple’s Independent Repair Program, which is “not an option for establishments who respect their clients’ privacy,” according to iFixit.

According to iFixit, a solution for the repair has been identified, although it is classified as “complex.” “A soldered chip from the original screen onto the replacement” would have to be physically moved by repair businesses. Otherwise, your iPhone will display an error message stating that it is “unable to activate Face ID.”

Apple hasn’t said anything publicly about this issue. Dusten Mahathy, an experienced repair tech, said that a friend inside Apple’s Independent Repair Program was told by Apple support that the issue would be fixed in an iOS update. The only change we’ve seen is that in 15.0, the Face ID feature silently didn’t work, but in the latest version it displays the explicit error message. We reached out to Apple for comment, but they did not reply.

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