Uh Oh, The Latest iOS Update Is Bricking Some iPhone 8s

Apple ios 11

One high-volume third-party fix shop speaking under condition of anonymity told AppleInsider on Monday that about one in three screen repairs on the iPhone 8 family were having the problem. Apple first tied hardware and software together with the launch of Touch ID on the iPhone 5S.

According to Vice, the iOS 11.3 update that Apple released in March is now killing touchscreen functionality in devices that were previously repaired by third parties.

This has been confirmed by the fix community and also the folks at Engadget who tested it out themselves, where they swapped displays between brand new iPhones only to have the ambient light sensor to stop working after. Third-party repairers quickly found out that replacing a broken fingerprint sensor with a working unit would disable Touch ID. Apple recently started shipping these machines (around 400 last year) to some of the 4,800 authorized service providers around the world. Each sensor is paired with the iPhone's logic board when the device is manufactured to prevent it from being tampered with. Presumably this was due to the use of unofficial components, but as it turns out it seems that this affects genuine replacement parts as well.

At the same time, Apple's policies and tightly-integrated designs are often unfriendly to unauthorized repairs, whether by dedicated businesses or individuals. Apple could cite security concerns as its reasoning then, but now it appears to be doing similar tricks with other iPhone components.

"I've been waiting for this for five years to be honest, since the 5S", one repairer told Engadget in a report on Wednesday. "It's a scary looking future for me", a repairer told Engadget. While they're typically just $29 after paying for an AppleCare+ warranty, out-of-warranty costs range from $129 for an iPhone SE to $279 for an iPhone X. The third-party shop contacted by AppleInsider charges as little as $59. If you get your iPhone fixed by a third-party and certain things no longer work properly, you're more likely to avoid unauthorized repairers in the future.

The outcome is that at any stage Apple may break iPhones that have been repaired by third parties via software updates, effectively making its in-store service the only viable option. Getting a cheap iPhone display installed can not void your Apple warranty. If you see an iPhone with a bad third-party display, and you had no idea it was a bad third-party display, you might assume all iPhones were like that and buy another smartphone instead.

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