Monday, May 16, 2022

Apple makes Face ID repairs on iPhone X easier with new service

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Reportedly, Apple will soon offer a new Face ID repair option for iPhone X that doesn’t require replacing the entire device (via MacRumors† The option comes after Apple’s recent shift to offer a TrueDepth Camera service option soon that can fix the face unlock feature of the 2018 iPhone XS and newer models, but which previously didn’t include the 2017 iPhone X.

Fixing just the Face ID component can be difficult, as it’s quite a complex system with four components: a floodlight (a part of the display, more on that later), dot projector, “TrueDepth” front camera, and IR camera. If any of these components do not work properly, you may lose the face unlock feature and you will be required to enter a password.

Apple’s old method of dealing with broken Face ID would be to replace the entire device with a near-new refurbished replacement. And that might be okay for customers with otherwise undamaged phones, who have an AppleCare warranty and don’t mind a shiny, new-looking iPhone. But most iPhone X users today probably no longer have an active AppleCare warranty since the device was discontinued in 2018, meaning that a full replacement would cost them $549† There has been no mention of how much the TrueDepth camera replacement would cost.

The floodlight is part of the display, separate from the TrueDepth camera module. If it doesn’t transfer properly during a screen replacement, it would mean that Face ID will be lost permanently.
Image: iFixit

However, replacing entire units can be wasteful in the supply chain, and transferring data to a new device is always cumbersome, especially for those who don’t pay for Apple’s iCloud backup plan. Face ID has also been a burden in the screen replacement market, requiring the transfer of a vulnerable part of the floodlight and an earpiece to the new screen to maintain face unlock.

It was also initially difficult to replace the screens of the latest iPhone 13 models without losing Face ID. Apple has since fixed this with a software fix and also announced a handy timed self-repair program that gives end users and third-party service providers access to parts and tools to repair screens, batteries and cameras – although it doesn’t mention the TrueDepth Camera component yet. .

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