iPhone 13 broken screen replace not possible in independent repair shops as Apple Inc. disables Face ID on ‘Non-genuine display’ for security concerns?

Apple iPhone 13 Face ID Broken Screen Disable Right to Repair
Opposing Right To Repair or Supporting Security and Privacy? Pic credit: Jenifer Chen/Flickr

The latest Apple iPhone 13 series of devices effectively destroy any chances of replacing a broken screen at an independent, third-party repair shop. The repaired device works, but displays a warning message about “non-genuine display” and blocks Face ID entirely.

Apple Inc. has always dissuaded third-party repairs. It insists iPhone, iPad, MacBook, and Mac PC owners bring their broken devices to certified Apple Care Centers. The company is now disabling critical functions of an iPhone 13 that has been repaired elsewhere.

Say goodbye to Face ID if a broken screen on an Apple iPhone 13 is repaired at a third-party repair shop:

The latest Apple iPhone 13 series of devices are officially out. As expected, thousands of buyers are scrambling to either get their first-ever Apple device or upgrade.

The new Apple iPhone 13 has some amazing physical properties. The latest body panels and the screen are tougher than the previous models. However, no matter the toughness, any smartphone with glass will suffer a broken screen if dropped from sufficient height or mishandled.

In case a proud owner of an Apple iPhone 13 shatters the screen of the device, the only option is to take it to a certified Apple Care center. This is primarily because Apple Inc. will know if the owner clandestinely visited a third-party repair shop and replaced the device’s screen.

According to a new video on YouTube, it is rather easy to replace some screen components such as microphone, ambient light sensor, and proximity sensor. However, if the iPhone 13 owner needs a new screen, an authorized service center or Apple Care is the only option.

An Apple iPhone 13 reportedly recognizes a screen that was not from Apple, it will throw the following notification:

Important Display Message

Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple display.

This message is easy to ignore. However, the iOS operating system also disables Face ID on an Apple iPhone with a “non-genuine display”.

Is Apple intensifying its fight against the Right to Repair or is there a genuine security threat from using a non-Apple display?

Apple Inc. is one of the leading companies that staunchly opposes the ‘Right to Repair’ movement. The company even observes other companies who are battling similar legal battles presumably to prevent setting a precedent.

Several Right to Repair advocates consider Apple Inc. as the de facto leader opposing the right of consumers to get their devices repaired from independent or third-party repair shops.

Disabling Faced ID might seem like yet another tactic that Apple Inc. has invented to prevent third-party repairs. However, there could be some security-related aspects behind preventing the functioning of Face ID.

Apple Inc. prides itself on offering unparalleled privacy to its users. There are contradictory reports, but the company still insists “What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone.”

Some experts claim the Face ID sensor encrypts the biometric data it gathers. Only Apple’s ‘Secure Enclave’ platform has direct and unencrypted access to the same.

The Bionic A15 SoC working inside an Apple iPhone does not access to the Face ID data. The iPhone display and Secure Enclave need to sync in a trusted environment to exchange the key.

Simply put, a replaced display will not have the same information that the Secure Enclave previously had with the original display. Hence, the platform will treat the display as “unsupported”, especially in regards to security. This aspect would disable Face ID, sensing a security information mismatch.

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