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Apple’s latest right-to-repair trick is delightfully evil


The right-to-repair is a crucial enterprise IT issue, as it always has been. Whether that means using a large IT operation’s team or one of the third-party repair providers that have been contracted to help, the demand that enterprises exclusively use one vendor to fix anything is abhorrent. And one can’t mention abhorrent without mentioning Apple’s repair history. 

I’ve always been impressed by how clever (evil?) Apple can get when trying to protect its repair revenue. With that ind mind, a new report from MacRumors doesn’t disappoint. (The site picked up on a YouTube video from Phone Repair Guru detailing what’s going on.)

What’s impressive about this particular Apple maneuver is how intricate it is. Somehow, the company has  coded the screens on its new iPhone 13 models to identify the original screen. When it’s replaced — even with another Apple authorized screen purchased from Apple — Face ID still won’t work.

I’ll let the original story tell a little more of the tale.

If a customer gets their ‌iPhone 13‌ display replaced by a third-party repair store or provider, such as those not licensed or affiliated with Apple through its Independent Repair Program, Face ID on the iPhone will no longer be usable,” MacRumors reported. “Despite this, if an ‌iPhone 13‌ display is replaced with a ‘non-genuine’ or even a genuine, original ‌iPhone 13‌ display, Face ID stops working, despite there seemingly being no hardware within the display itself needed for Face ID to function.”

In testing, the media outlet found that this apparently wasn’t a glitch. “The repair provider swapped two original ‌iPhone 13‌ screens and, in both cases, Face ID was inoperative after the new screens were installed. It seems to be the case that if the original screen is put back with the original ‌iPhone 13‌, Face ID returns, ruling out the possibility of an improper installation.”

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.