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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Following the launch of the iPhone 13 models, iFixit and other independent repair outlets found that replacing the iPhone's display renders Face ID non-functional, limiting repairs to Apple itself, Apple Authorized Service Providers, and Apple-associated repair shops. The change made it much more difficult for smaller, independent repair shops to perform iPhone 13 display repairs on broken devices.

Image via iFixit​

Given the blowback from repair providers unhappy with the restriction, Apple has decided to change its policy. Apple told The Verge that it plans to introduce a software update that will allow for standard display repairs that do not disable Face ID.

With the iPhone 13 models, Apple added a small microcontroller that pairs the iPhone 13 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's a finicky process that requires soldering and a microscope to perform.

The software update that Apple plans to implement 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.

There is no word yet on when Apple will add the software update to simplify iPhone display repairs for independent repair providers, but iOS 15.2 is in beta testing at the current time and the feature could be introduced in that update.

Article Link: Apple Walks Back iPhone 13 Display Repair Restriction That Disabled Face ID


macrumors 6502a
Mar 8, 2011
Waiting for all the people that are going to try to spin this somehow.

Was it a good decision to put in this protection, no. But are they doing the right thing, yes. Definitely something not expected out of apple and I’m glad they are doing the right thing.

I wonder what the reason between the screen and Face ID sync is. There has to be a reason especially since they developed a micro controller that syncs the display with the phone. I understand why they did this part but to add Face ID into the mix doesn’t make sense. For Touch ID under the screen I can see this making sense and I fully support it but for Face ID that has nothing to do with the screen, I’m very curious why they did this to begin with.

Wondering if this is them testing screen id (Touch ID under screen) and it just made it into the iPhone 13 and Face ID happen to be a causality.

Lounge vibes 05

macrumors 68020
May 30, 2016
But, but! My security is compromised now! Macrumors members said so! Bring it back! ?

Did not expect that, good move. Wonder if the ********* caused this or the global iPhone market share dropping.
Going to assume it has nothing to do with the global marketshare.
Apple probably noticed all of the articles coming out, realized that they have several anti-competitive/right to repair lawsuits against them in the US and Europe already, and decided that this wasn’t a hill worth dying on.


macrumors 6502a
May 6, 2008
I'm not sure why they keep doing things like this and expecting a different response. This was never a good idea, and if their concern is people not knowing they've used an unauthorized repair center, there are other ways of making it clear that repairs were done by an authorized repairer.
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macrumors regular
Jun 1, 2016
Independent Repair Shops rejoice!
But this should be noted that those pesky iPhone thieves will also be on the hunt for y'all to steal and rip your beloved iPhone to parts then sell it.
Right now, in my country, the display part itself is on the rise in terms of popularity (and price).
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macrumors regular
Jul 1, 2005
Great. They should not have even put this software limitation in the first place.
sounds more like hardware design that they are now going to opt-out of. One doesn't usually make their own costs more expensive by adding unnecessary circuitry without an actual reason*.

* blah blah, I know someone from the "profits" department forced the hardware team to add the microcontroller pairing API because everyone knows repairs are the bulk of Apple's revenue and unauthorized shops were taking a huge cut out of that.


macrumors 68040
Aug 31, 2003
Wherever my feet take me…
I can understand wanting to ensure it's done correctly, but I'm sure a lot of this is greed and not wanting the competition. I'm dating myself, but this reminds me of the Mac clones back in the 1990's. Apple licensed Mac OS 7(?) to other companies like Motorola, Daystar and others, and some were even faster than Apple's own computers. So Apple ended that.
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