Apple unveiled the iPhone 13 family earlier this month after surprisingly few leaks. The lack of leaks could be due in part to how boring this year’s iPhone update is. The devices are a bit faster, have a slightly smaller notch and the cameras could do a bit better. Also, it turns out that inexpensive third-party screen replacement will destroy Face ID. Maybe that’s one reason to stick with the iPhone 12.
Face ID is the gold standard for face unlock technology. Apple’s IR face scanning system can identify the owner of the phone in a snap, and no one has achieved the same level of security and functionality. Google played with Face Unlock on the Pixel 4 2019, but subsequent Pixel phones have stayed with fingerprint sensors. Virtually everyone who buys an iPhone 13 will use Face ID. Unless they have a broken screen that is being fixed by a third-party repair shop.
According to the Phone Repair Guru YouTube channel, Apple has apparently taken its anti-repair policy to a new level. After doing some testing on the iPhone 13, the Guru says that replacing the screen will cause Face ID to stop working because the sensors are paired with that particular hardware. Replacing components like a microphone, ambient light sensor, and proximity sensor doesn’t hurt, but an unverified screen will force you to use a passcode every time. Guess what the most common iPhone repair is. Yes, broken screens.
Apple will charge $ 229 to $ 329 for an iPhone 13 screen replacement that isn’t covered by an AppleCare subscription. You can have a third party install the same component for less money, but they most likely won’t be able to connect the new screen to the existing hardware. Therefore, the phone reports a non-original screen and deactivates Face ID. The phone repair guru notes that some non-Apple service centers have the ability to properly configure the screen, but they are in the minority. For most stores, replacing the iPhone screen will no longer be an option.
It’s unclear how the screen and Face ID sensor could be so closely linked that replacing one would disable the system. Usually, when Apple does something to interfere with third-party repairs, there is at least one reason for this to be waving in anyone’s face. As it stands, this move seems to counter the increasing demands for a “right to repair”. The Biden administration and the FTC have both signaled their support for these rules, which would prevent companies from blocking third party repairs. Apple has yet to explain what’s wrong with the iPhone 13 screen, so chances are it was just a bug.