Apple's About-Face On iPhone Screen Replacements Killing Face ID Scores A Win For Right To Repair
Right to repair
is one of those topics that's surprisingly contentious even though it really shouldn't be. The arguments against the idea that customers shouldn't be unfairly restricted from repairing their own devices are few, weak, and really only serve to support disgustingly-unethical business practices. This becomes self-evident if you analyze the arguments on both sides, and that's likely the reason that governments across North America and Europe are starting to enact legislation preventing the worst excesses of anti-consumer repair requirements.
Perhaps even Apple is picking up on the winds of change, because the tech company released a statement promising that it will release a software update for the iPhone 13 that removes the check disabling Face ID
if the phone detects that it has had the screen replaced. That's right: currently, if a non-Apple shop performs a screen replacement, no matter how skillfully they do it, it will break Face ID and the phone will complain about the unauthorized repair.
It's technically possible to work around the error, but extremely impractical. The process involves unsoldering a tiny microcontroller and replacing it on the other. Unless you're extremely handy at microsoldering—and you already have the specialized equipment required—it's not really an option. Given the frequency with which folks seem to fumble their iPhones into shattered screens, this will surely mean a boon in business for local repair shops. Unfortunately, Apple didn't say when the update would come, only that after it's pushed out, Face ID will work
after screen swaps.