back to article iFixit prises open the iPhone 13 Pro, claims 'any display replacement knocks out Face ID'

It wasn't only eager fanbois awaiting their Apple deliveries last week - teardown terror iFixit also got its hands on the iPhone 13 Pro and did what it does best. The team took on the 128GB version of Apple's A15-powered iPhone 13 Pro, replete with 6GB RAM, a 6.1-inch (2,532x1,170 pixel) screen and 12MP triple camera system. …

  1. Anonymous Coward

    "How will people know you've upgraded now?"

    > "How will people know you've upgraded now?"

    Easy, I just have to complain to my friends that I've had to have the specially tailored, internal 'iPhone pocket' in my Balmain suits re-modelled because the slight extra weight affects the line.

    [Icon: not a Balmain jacket!]

  2. Timbo

    Daft idea....

    I really want to see some of the repairers faces and their efforts (on the BBC's The Repair Shop programme) when presented with an Apple "ithingy" of ANY version or type.

    Perhaps they can be persuaded to re-assign such devices as "art" after they have been nail-gunned to a wall...?

    1. pavel.petrman

      Re: Daft idea....

      Iphones up to the 6s and 7s were quite repairable. Much more so than their contemporaries of the xperia. htc and other sorts. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to unhitch my Dell 5520 from its docking station in order to swap its cpu, memory, hard drive, battery, lte modem...

  3. WolfFan Silver badge


    I got an iPhone SE 2nd gen nearly two years ago. I’ll be swapping it for a 13 later this year, possibly by October, more likely by December. T-mob, the telco that the SE is on, actually has good 5g in my area. My iPad Pro will also be updated, probably by December or January next year, to a model which has 5g, same reason. If the telco didn’t have good 5g in my area, I’d stick with the old devices until it did. But it does, so I’m moving. Besides, the new iPad Pro is way faster than the old, and the iPhone 13 is faster and has better battery life, though not that much better in either case.

    1. Gordon 10

      Re: Upgrade

      Faster for what exactly?

      1. WolfFan Silver badge

        Re: Upgrade

        Pretty much everything. Faster loading websites, faster loading apps, faster switching websites, faster operating apps. The 13 has a faster CPU, more cores, more RAM, the one I plan on getting will have more storage.

      2. big_D Silver badge

        Re: Upgrade

        Compared to an SE, most things.

        The 13 and 13 Pro are between 10% and 20% faster than last year's 12 models (so probably not that noticeable in day-to-day use), but we are talking about the SE, which is older and even slower, so there should be a noticeable improvement in speed in most areas, but overall fluidity should be enhanced.

      3. Unicornpiss

        Re: Upgrade

        "Faster for what exactly?"

        Faster for draining your wallet. And deep down, your sense of self-worth.

    2. DJV Silver badge

      Re: Upgrade

      Well, I hope they will have fixed all the bugs by then!

      1. WolfFan Silver badge

        Re: Upgrade

        Don’t use a watch with the SE, my car doesn’t have carplay, so don’t care.

    3. Open Sauce

      Re: Upgrade

      Well done!

      Tim Cook couldn't have said it better himself!

      The cheque's in the post.

  4. GraXXoR

    Not tied to the phone... but...

    We all know from iFixit that last year, if you swapped cameras between two legitimate iPhone 12 devices, you lose most of its functionality and end up in some compromised lo res mode.

    This year, it's worse... According to Louis Rossmann, they've DRMed the screens (the #1 breakable component)

    So you are free to swap the screen between two iPhone 13 devices, and the screen itself is not impared, but Face ID dies if you do that...

    Call me cynical but that sounds like a clever way of getting around any laws that state "you cannot purposefully disable any genuine component that is swapped in place of a broken component."

    The component itself is fine, you just lose access to some random function elsewhere.

    Apple are doing their best to lock out all 3rd party repairs... You should hear the 'C'hoice word Louis uses to describe Apple. And in this case, he's not wrong.

    Astounding greed from the worlds richest company.

    1. Si 1

      Re: Not tied to the phone... but...

      While I’m sure restricting users to getting their repairs from Apple certified outfits was the main goal, this does have the benefit of making iPhones worthless to thieves. In the past the Find My lock was a good deterrent but phones could still be sold for parts. Now they’re not even worth it for parts if they won’t work properly when transplanted into another device.

    2. Nifty Silver badge

      Re: Not tied to the phone... but...

      Apple refuses to do same day repair service. The independent kiosks can do while-u-wait screen swaps. Rossman also explained that to be a certified Apple repairer - so able to do a working screen swap - you aren't allowed to stock any Apple parts in advance!

      So if you decide to buy an iPhone 13, you need to plan what replacement phone you'll be using while you wait for your screen repair takes place at Apple's leisure.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not tied to the phone... but...

        Reminds me of my Omega wristwatch bought many years ago. The official guidelines were for a service every 18 months. This was only allowed to be done by the factory - and the watch would be away for 6 weeks. The last time the local jeweller shop fitted a new generic leather strap - they charged me GBP25. Now I buy generic straps myself.

        Nowadays I only wear it a few times in a year. The rest of the time I wear a GBP2 quartz analogue. More accurate - and I change the battery myself every couple of years.

    3. pavel.petrman

      Re: Not tied to the phone... but...

      Greed indeed. On the other hand, it makes no sense anymore to steal a locked iphone, as no one will buy it for parts. Cars have been like this for decades* and no loud cries of despair are to be heard.

      * As far as I recall, Renault pioneered this in Europe, with the stereo+navigation unit in the last good Espace was indeed no unit but a scattering of devices hidden all across the vehicle, all paired to others and useless when disconnected from the car network. Whereas VW kept theirs packed as one unit in the dashboard, which made the owners of passats, superbs and exeos easy prey and numerous a victim to auto break-in.

  5. 45RPM Silver badge

    I’ve just bought an iPhone 13 mini, and it’s bloody astonishing in its speed and capability. Mind you, my previous iPhone was only available in the vibrant hues of ‘black’ and ‘white’, so my perspective might be somewhat skewed.

    1. BrownishMonstr

      They are supposedly bringing touch id back, perhaps under the screen. I've had my 8 plus for about 4 years now, and won't mind waiting for another year or two for that feature.

  6. BebopWeBop

    Even for Apple, (and I am a reasonably happy user of an iPhone), not making the battery replaceable would have been a suicidal mistke.

  7. big_D Silver badge

    Minus Glue

    It will be interesting to see how Apple deals with things going forward. The new EU guidelines for smartphone and tablet repairability index state that reusable fastenings are preferred and if the case, screen or battery are attached by non-reusable fastenings (E.g. glue), those are minus points on the repairability score that will have to be included on the packaging and in advertising going forward.

    (Yes, this doesn't affect just Apple, but this article is about the iPhone 13 Pro.)

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: Minus Glue

      I wonder how the repairability score would cater for "yes you can repair things, but other stuff gets maliciously disabled if you do". Sounds like blatant loophole abuse.

      1. big_D Silver badge

        Re: Minus Glue

        The law specifically says that they have to provide spare parts to 3rd party repair shops for a minimum of 5 years.

        The prices of those spare parts (compared to the complete device price) is also part of the calculation in France.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Minus Glue

          Ah, but it doesn't say a thing if the stores are allowed to stock extra parts in order to provide a quicker turn-around, does it?

          Apple will not allow a 3rd party shop to become authorized if they stock parts for common models, like screens and batteries or connectors. In addition, apple wants rather a lot of information about the customer who has the broken device, information they really don't need for something as simple as a screen or battery swap.

          So if you break your screen, you have to either take to an apple store and either have it sent off to bog only knows where for bog only knows how long, swap it with a refurbished unit, or take it to an authorized shop where they have to order the parts and provide rather a lot of information back to apple in order to get said parts, and have them shipped to the store before they can begin the work.

          OR you can take it to a kiosk, have the screen swapped in an hour or two, and lose functionality you paid for because apple would you rather buy a new device or gamble with their repair centers than take it to someone you trust instead.

          The customer loses regardless.

          1. big_D Silver badge

            Re: Minus Glue

            Apple will not allow a 3rd party shop to become authorized if they stock parts for common models, like screens and batteries or connectors.

            The law says they have no choice.

            In addition, apple wants rather a lot of information about the customer who has the broken device, information they really don't need for something as simple as a screen or battery swap.

            Again, the law (GDPR) says uh uh, no, not if the customer doesn't want the shop to pass on the information.

            My colleague runs a repair business on the side. He usually has a next-day turnaround and it is cheap - around 30-40€ for an iPhone battery replacement. Although the iPhone 12 screens are horrendously expensive.

            Given that the next Apple store is an 8 hour round-trip and the other (official Apple) alternative is sending it away is 2 weeks, small, local independents who provide a couple of hour turn around or next-day are very welcome.

            The national news did an investigation of repair centres recently. They prepared phones (specific defects, either minor or major) and took phones to half a dozen dealers. 5 of them spotted the smaller problems (loose cables). 3 of them repaired at no charge, for pushing the cable back in, 1 charged a standard 20€ inspection fee, and the last one tried to fob the customer off with the phone needing a new display.

            1. J. Cook Silver badge

              Re: Minus Glue

              My apologies; In your country, perhaps. in the US, there are no such laws at the federal or state level that I know of. The GDPR does not apply in the US, although a lot of companies over here have had to scramble because they do business with entities (people and other companies) in the countries where the GDPR applies.

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