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Apple — and authorized third-party repair technicians — can now issue a replacement iPhone X if necessary for people coping with Face ID problems not fixable by a TrueDepth camera system replacement.
In case of difficulties with Face ID, technicians should first run diagnostics and try a TrueDepth camera module replacement. Should that not resolve a problem, and then a rear-facing camera module swap should be performed, according to an Apple document seen by AppleInsider. If problems persist, the company is recommending that customers be given a new iPhone X, rather than a same-device display repair.
At present, it's not clear what the relationship between the TrueDepth system and the rear camera module is. Speaking with assorted Genius Bar personnel and third-party repair shops, the problem is extremely rare, with half of those we asked about it having not seen it at all.
The policy doesn't represent a new repair program, or the discovery of a widespread fault with TrueDepth cameras. Instead, it is a modification of a support procedure, something that happens relatively frequently.
It's not clear why the change was made, but it could be that Apple has enough iPhone X units in inventory that a replacement is more efficient. Though the product initially saw crushing demand with weeks-long delays, shipping times rapidly improved. Today it should be possible to walk into a U.S. Apple store and find most or all iPhone X configurations available, or order online and expect the fastest possible delivery.
In the run-up to Apple's March-quarter results, some analyst claimed that the product was seeing weak demand, or at least weaker than the company anticipated. Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed that it remained the best-selling iPhone in the quarter, and that overall iPhone sales were up year-over-year, with a higher ASP (average selling price) reflecting the iPhone X's $999-plus pricetag.