You’ll Lose FaceID if You Replace the iPhone 13 Screen

Thanks to a small chip attached to the bottom of the display

Due to its construction, the iPhone 13 can lose FaceID functionality if the screen isn't replaced by Apple or an affiliate repair shop.

iFixit has discovered that attempts to replace the iPhone 13's screen—a common smartphone repair—can completely disable FaceID. So unless your iPhone 13 is taken to an Apple store, a repair shop in Apple's Independent Repair Providers network, or a shop with more advanced tools, you're risking that functionality.

A broken, crushed smart phone on a white background.

Hillary Kladke / Getty Images

The culprit is a small microcontroller chip paired with the phone's screen, which has to be synced in order to work properly.

Apple has yet to provide independent repair shops with a way to replace or pair new screens and microcontrollers, making the process practically untenable for smaller businesses.

Some shops can move the chip from the old screen to the replacement, but it's a much more labor-intensive process that requires micro-soldering.

Technician repairing broken smartphone on desk

martin-dm / Getty Images

According to iFixit, Apple support has said the issue would be addressed in a future iOS update. iFixit theorizes that Apple could update the software to issue a warning that FaceID can't be verified rather than lock it out entirely. This is just speculation, however, and relies on Apple deciding to make such a change.

Currently, the only notable difference between iOS 15 and iOS 15.1 has been the addition of an error message stating that FaceID can't be activated.

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