iPhone Face ID Repairs Are About To Get Easier, Has Apple Caved On Right To Repair?
Apple has, for years, been a thorn in the side of right-to-repair activists and many consumers as well, that want the ability to fix their iPhones at a repair center of their choice. A recent announcement by Apple, however, may slightly change some of that headache for repair enthusiasts. The ability to swap out FaceID without replacing your entire device!
Right to Repair is still a hot topic for lots of people in many industries, not just technology. The idea that a consumer who purchases a product, no matter what it is, has the right to do with it whatever they wish, including repair it, without prior authorization from the manufacturer, seems like it shouldn't be a tall ask. However, for the last few generations of products from Apple, the company has made self or after-market repair increasingly difficult, if not impossible. To replace a broken display on a iPhone, or a motherboard in a Mac computer was deemed only to be allowed by Apple Authorized repair centers or Apple itself. The Cupertino company has even refused to sell such parts to individuals or even professionals that are not "Apple Authorized".
Face ID problems on the iPhone have cropped up way back to the iPhone X, with the repair plan at that time essentially ending up with a whole device replacement. That looks like it may change for the iPhones of today and iPhones of the future, however, as according to MacRumors, Apple has announced the ability for the module that runs Face ID to be repaired without needing to replace the entire device. That is good news to anyone who has had Face ID problems and doesn't want to wait for device replacement. Device replacement also means device reconfiguring, which as we all know is just a big hassle, not to mention the issue of landfills potentially filling up with dead iPhones.
In November of 2021, Apple announced a self-service repair, allowing people to repair their iPhone screens themselves. That was a huge win for right-to-repair after a video from an advocate for the cause, Louis Rossmann, showed him replacing an iPhone display with a display from an identical model and effectively bricking the phone. Further along these lines, it appears now Apple will be providing access to the TrueDepth Camera Sensor, used for Face ID, but only to Apple Store and Authorized retailers and repair technicians. Additionally, while the iPhone X was one of the first devices to see problems with Face ID, it will not be a device in which Apple will be providing the part for.
So it does seem as though Apple's limits on hardware accessibility direct to the consumer for repairs will continue into the foreseeable future. That's what we call one step forward, two steps back, Apple. Then again, when you consider the security implications of Face ID and device authentication in general, Apple could be justified in limiting access to these modules. Let us know what you think in the comments below.