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Apple backs off of breaking Face ID after DIY iPhone 13 screen replacements

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A software update is on the way that won’t require repair shops to transfer a microcontroller

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The iPhone 13 Mini and iPhone 13 Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Soon after the iPhone 13 launched, repair experts found that swapping out iPhone 13 screens would break Face ID unless you also moved over a tiny control chip from the original screen. It’s a complex process that makes one of the most common types of repairs prohibitively difficult for independent repair shops. (Apple-authorized repair shops, on the other hand, have access to a software tool that can make a phone accept a new screen.) For indie repair shops, things may get easier soon, however, as Apple tells The Verge it will release a software update that doesn't require you to transfer the microcontroller to keep Face ID working after a screen swap.

The current transfer procedure looks to be quite challenging, requiring time, special equipment, and the ability to microsolder. For many independent repair shops that may rely on screen repairs as a key line of revenue, the process is likely prohibitively difficult and could be damaging to their business. iFixit detailed the situation at length in an article last week, and you can watch a video of the microcontroller transfer process here.

Apple didn’t specify exactly when the software update will arrive.