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Apple keeps making third-party screen repairs harder

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Apple's changes to the iPhone 13 screen design now makes it harder for third-party repair firms to replace the display, as attempts to switch out a damaged screen could lead to a loss of Face ID support.

A broken display is a very common issue that forces device owners to seek out a repair, either through the manufacturer directly or via a third-party repair center. In cases where the screen has to be replaced, it seems that it's a fix that can only be performed by Apple itself or an authorized repair partner.

According to Phone Repair Guru on YouTube, switching out a display for a replacement sourced from an identical iPhone 13 model will technically work. However, users will be warned they aren't using a genuine screen, and that Face ID won't be available.

While replacing the screen from another iPhone is problematic, it is still possible for repairs to connected components to be performed, including the microphone, proximity sensor, and ambient light sensor.

Despite using a genuine Apple display, the notification basically means there's a step in the repair process that has to be performed to enable the display to work with a particular iPhone, and it is a step that Apple's authorized repair services can do, but not third parties.

This is not the first time that a screen repair through a third-party firm could cause problems with an iPhone. In 2018, an update for iOS 11.3 reportedly killed touch functionality for some iPhone 8 users with aftermarket displays. In some cases, it was also found that there was a loss of automatic brightness adjustment and the ambient light sensor being disabled by iOS at boot.

The discovery occurs at a time whenApple is under fire over the Right to Repair. In September, Apple shareholders filed a resolution to try and persuade Apple to reverse its "anti-repair practices."

In Europe, the German government wants the European Union to force manufacturers like Apple into being freer with spare parts for devices, for up to seven years. Meanwhile in the United States, the FTC has pledged to take on unlawful repair restrictions.

Legislation was introduced to the U.S. House in June to try and force companies into providing repair information and access to components "in a timely manner and on fair and reasonable terms."