Millions of iPhone users around the world continue to race in a bid to buy Apple’s latest smartphones as sales of iPhone 13 continue to explode. But what a lot of these new owners are unaware of is that there is a shocking surprise.
According to iFixit’s blog post, it reveals that every iPhone 13 model contains a “new screen repair trap that could change the repair industry forever”. iFixit is an American e-commerce and how-to website which sells repair parts and publishes free wiki-like online repair guides for consumer electronics and gadgets. iFixit say that the trap is going to cost you time and money.
Discovery by iFixit reveals that Apple permitted the addition of a small chip (“about the size of a Tic-Tac”) at the bottom of the iPhone 13 screens. iFixit reveals that the chip is a microcontroller responsible for pairing each iPhone 13 to its display. When a display shows sign of being fault and needs to be replaced, the microcontroller must be paired with the new screen. In other to successfully do, the ‘Apple Services Toolkit 2’ (AST2) is required. An expensive proprietary service which further requires consent and certification from Apple.
In a case when then the new screen is not paired with the iPhone 13 microcontroller, iFixit explains that Face ID, the iPhone’s primary form of security, is automatically disabled while the owners will receive the message which states that “Unable to activate Face ID on this iPhone.” This may occur even if the repairer is using a genuine Apple display.
In the blog post, iFixit explains that “As far as our engineers can tell, keeping Face ID working on the iPhone 13 after a screen swap should be easier than ever, since its scanner is wholly separate from the display. The post further explains that, It’s important to note how completely unprecedented this is,” the site continues. “Screen replacement is incredibly common. Tens of thousands of repair shops around the world support their communities by replacing screens for customers at competitive prices. And Apple is, with one fell swoop, seemingly cutting the industry off at the knees.”
The repair company advices iPhone 13 owners to care about this revelation, even users who only get their devices repaired by Apple. The company explains the implications of this, firstly this move by Apple eliminates choice for those without an Apple store nearby as they will fewer options. Secondly, if Apple manages to stay without competition that means that Apple is free to set prices to what it wants. Although Apple already has fixed charges at $600 for out of warranty glass replacement on an iPhone 11 Pro Max, this automatically forces users to pay for AppleCare+ insurance.
The company reveals that, this wouldn’t be the first time this has been. Historically, Apple has caused third party repair blocking issues for Touch ID, iPhone batteries and cameras. Each time, the public reaction was hostile and Apple walked them all back claiming it was a bug on various occasions. The company believes that with an ample number of public outcry by this users, it is possible Apple will make the same claim and fix it. The company thinks it’s time for iPhone 13 owners to get angry and resort to a public outcry for the tech company to fix it.