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Apple Helping or Hindering Repairs to their Devices?
With the release of Apple’s new iOS 14 update coupled with the new line up of iPhone 12 series phones - the company has implemented more obvious restrictions to repairing their devices than they have before. We will trace this from the beginning to the newest iPhones and outline the pros and cons of a strict repair circle.
The restrictions began with the launch of iPhone 6 and an updated fingerprint reader to the iPhone 5S. In the iPhone 6 replacing the home button resulted in the loss of the fingerprint scanning feature - regardless of the authenticity of the replacement part. Every home button was coded to the mainboard resulting in the phone and home button no longer handshaking. The only way to regain full functionality when replacing the home button was to get it replaced at an Apple store.
iPhone 7 saw this taken further, this time with the loss of all functionality of the home button (fingerprint and home button press) if the home button was ever damaged or replaced, again only Apple themselves could return the functions of the home button.
iPhone X Redesign
The iPhone overhaul of the series X devices implemented a Face ID feature replacing the home button altogether. Face ID was a major security and unlocking feature of the iPhone and would become non-functional if the part was ever damaged or replaced.
Present Day iPhone
As we come to the latest iPhone 12 line up, Apple has included more repair clauses should the user wish to repair their device by other means aside from Apple directly. For the first time this also includes errors when replacing the cameras and even the battery in the phone, prompting users with warning messages.
This is great for securing the phone for security and longevity, ensuring there are only ever genuine Apple parts in your phone keeping everything in the best condition for re-selling purposes.
However, research has shown that these restrictions go further than security and longevity of your device. One youtuber swapped the mainboards of two brand new sealed identical iPhone 12 phones.
The results of the swap were:
iPhone 12 Mainboard Swap: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FY7DtKMBxBw
Apple has baked in software checks which monitor all parts inside the phone and if anything is replaced then it will work less than ideally. It seems that Apple simply wants to be the only ones who repair their own devices - cutting out local repair shops altogether.
For the end user this means having to think twice when purchasing an iPhone as you would eventually no longer be able to get a quick and cheap repair on your device at your local repair shop. All repairs would have to be done at an Apple store, which may be the best quality repair but it also comes with a higher price tag and involves booking appointments.
We have reached the point where most components in an iPhone cannot be replaced, in the future iPhone 13’s and 14’s we can speculate every component would be locked down under software - even opening the phone may result in an error message and give Apple a means of voiding warranty if the device is opened.
We can only guess but one thing is for certain - Apple wants full control over their devices and the company is taking active steps towards their vision.