New iphone screens: iPhone Screen Repair & Replacement

Apple’s New Screen Repair Trap Could Change the Repair Industry Forever

iFixit’s Taylor Dixon digs into the process of removing the iPhone 13’s Face-ID-saving screen chip, including an interview with The Art of Repair’s Justin Ashford.

Update: Apple told The Verge on Nov. 9, five days after this post was widely cited in news reports, that it would issue a software update to prevent Face ID’s disabling after screen replacements.

Apple has been chipping away at iPhone repair work outside their control for years now. With new changes to the iPhone 13, they may be aiming to shatter the market completely. 

The new iPhone 13 completely disables its flagship Face ID functionality when you replace its screen. We have confirmed this repeatedly in our lab, testing with many different phones on iOS 15 and 15.1, and our results have been replicated by numerous repair professionals. 

This is a dark day for fixers, both DIY and professional. One of the most common phone repairs that could once be done with hand tools now requires a microscope. This means you won’t be able to fix your iPhone screen yourself without sacrificing major functionality. It also has huge implications for the professional repair industry, for which Apple is the dominant brand to service. Small shops could be shuttered, forced to choose between spending thousands on new equipment or losing a major source of income.

For shops that want to survive, their only options will be to join Apple’s onerous IRP network—not an option for shops that value their customers’ privacy—or work past the iPhone’s locks with microsoldering tools and training. This unprecedented lockdown is unique to Apple. It’s totally new in the iPhone 13, and hard to understand as a security measure, given that the Face ID illuminator is entirely separate from the screen. It is likely the strongest case yet for right to repair laws. And it’s all because of a chip about the size of a Tic-Tac, tucked into the bottom of a screen.

Removing the center chip from an iPhone 13 display.

The iPhone 13 is paired to its screen using this small microcontroller, in a condition repair techs often call “serialization. ” Apple has not provided a way for owners or independent shops to pair a new screen. Authorized technicians with access to proprietary software, Apple Services Toolkit 2, can make new screens work by logging the repair to Apple’s cloud servers and syncing the serial numbers of the phone and screen. This gives Apple the ability to approve or deny each individual repair. 

iCorrect shows one procedure for removing the iPhone 13’s display, and verifies that it re-enables Face ID, once transplanted onto a new screen.

The most sophisticated repair shops have found a workaround, but it’s not a quick, clever hack—it’s physically moving a soldered chip from the original screen onto the replacement. We’ll go into more detail on that process below, but it’s important to note how completely unprecedented this is. Screen replacement is incredibly common. Tens of thousands of repair shops around the world support their communities by replacing screens for customers at competitive prices. And Apple is, with one fell swoop, seemingly cutting the industry off at the knees.

Justin Drake Carroll, CEO and founder of Fruit Fixed, a regional repair chain in Virginia, said that screen replacements were about 35 percent of revenue. “At one point it was 60 percent, a few years ago. We worked really hard to push that figure down, so that one revenue stream wasn’t such a huge part of what we do. Obviously, it’s still an incredibly important part of our business model.”

“This IC [chip] swap thing, it’s a disaster, and we definitely need to fight it, 100 percent,” said Justin Ashford, a repair shop consultant and popular YouTube repair instructor. “But our industry’s definition of what basic repair is needs to change … this is the new basic. Going forward, the first tool you need is a microscope.”

Face ID error message, after replacing the display on an iPhone 13 Pro Max with another original iPhone 13 Pro Max display, on iOS 15.1.

Let’s dive into the technical details. We’ve tested it on iOS 15.1, the latest official iPhone software release. Replacing an iPhone 13’s screen with the same exact screen from an identical brand new iPhone gives this error: “Unable to activate Face ID on this iPhone.

Apple hasn’t said anything publicly about this issue. Dusten Mahathy, an experienced repair tech, said that a friend inside Apple’s Independent Repair Program was told by Apple support that the issue would be fixed in an iOS update. The only change we’ve seen is that in 15.0, the Face ID feature silently didn’t work, but in the latest version it displays the explicit error message. We reached out to Apple for comment, but they did not reply.

It’s hard to believe, after years of repair-blocking issues with Touch ID, batteries, and cameras, that Apple’s latest iPhone part lock-out is accidental. As far as our engineers can tell, keeping Face ID working on the iPhone 13 after a screen swap should be easier than ever, since its scanner is wholly separate from the display. Technically, yes: Face ID failure could be a very specific hardware bug for one of the most commonly replaced components, one that somehow made it through testing, didn’t get fixed in a major software update, and just happens to lock out the kind of independent repair from which the company doesn’t profit.

More likely, though, is that this is a strategy, not an oversight. This situation makes AppleCare all but required for newer iPhones, unless you happen to know that your local repair shop is ready for the challenge. Or you simply plan to never drop your phone.

Among repair techs we talked to, and inside private repair discussion groups, there’s a sense of trepidation. Technicians are preparing for three immediate options: buy new equipment and retrain technicians for microsoldering work, join Apple’s “authorized” repair network (either AASP or the Independent Repair Program—both could be charitably described as “incredibly restrictive”), or find a new line of work. There is a fourth option, of course: fight like hell for the right to repair.

“This industry was built on iPhone screens, but it won’t be much longer,” Ashford, the repair instructor, said. “This kind of thing has been creeping up on us for a while. Anyone who takes repair seriously knows what they have to do now.

One experienced repair shop told me they’ve been swapping screen chips since the iPhone X to avoid touch calibration issues and “genuine” part warnings; they’ve got the process down to about 15 minutes. They’ve been slowly building an inventory of refurbished and third-party replacement screens with their chip slots empty, using CNC machines and screen-holding jigs to carve them out.

A CNC machine emptying out the chip slot in an iPhone screen at a repair shop, so it can more quickly have an original screen chip implanted.

Another repair tech told me it could be a 30-minute job for some shops—but right now, not many can do it at all.

Microsoldering is skilled work that requires thousands of dollars of equipment and extensive practice before you are proficient. The technical expertise and time required will challenge many repair shops that were previously working primarily with larger parts, above the logic board level. “Three out of 10 shops solder,” the tech said. “One out of [those] three can do BGA work.

The chip that could change the future of independent phone repair.

Even when a shop has the equipment and experience to de-solder a BGA chip and move it to a new screen, they’re competing at a disadvantage with Apple’s repair network and protection plan, AppleCare. An authorized Apple technician can make an iPhone 13 accept a new screen with a few clicks inside their secret software—no heating, desoldering, or resoldering required. Apple’s techs can also keep True Tone working, something that independent repair techs have not yet achieved with third-party programmers on newer iPhone 12 and 13 models. 

In other words, for those who can access Apple’s network, replacing a screen on the iPhone 13 is no different than before. For independent shops, everything is different.

“[This] is an intentional move to thwart a customer’s ability to repair,” said Carroll, of the Fruit Fixed chain. “Honestly, if every screen repair involved that much work, I would hang it up and we wouldn’t be able to help the thousands of people we do each month.

For customers who want to fix their iPhone 13 themselves, the options are grim. You could live without any kind of biometric login, like you might have in 2012. Or you could try to move the chip, after buying yourself a microscope or high-resolution webcam, a hot air rework station, a fine-tip soldering iron, and the necessary BGA stencils, flux, and other supplies. We’ve posted a series of videos explaining how to do precisely that, and we sell most of these items. But even with those tools (and lots of heat-resistant tape), it’s a challenge. It’s easy to damage the fragile OLED screen just beyond the cable the chip sits on. One of our engineers learned this the hard way, killing two screens while attempting to remove the chip for photos and verification.

The iPhone 13 front camera and face scanning array (left), the screen chip and a grain of rice (center), and the ball grid seat from which the chip is removed (right).

There is a chance that, as with the iPhone 12 camera, Apple could change the iPhone 13’s Face ID from non-functional to an “Unable to verify” warning with a future software update. Such an iOS update arrived in late January, about three months after the iPhone 12 shipped. If that happens, the company will need to explain whether it was intentionally testing the waters for further serializing parts, or just blithely neglecting the needs of its customers and independent fixers. 

Apple’s repair software is exclusive to those techs bound by the company’s tightly controlled repair program. Other companies could follow; Samsung, which is expanding its own repair network, made this screen for Apple. Without fair access to companies’ gatekeeping software, the small businesses may feel forced to get good under a microscope, or give in.

“[Shops] either convert to IRP as an independent or via a franchise, level up and be prepared to earn less for more work, or move onto another industry,” said one experienced tech. “Apple is swallowing us up.”

By locking down the most common repair for their devices, Apple has crossed the Rubicon. If we want repair shops to exist in our local communities, we have no choice but to pass right to repair legislation to protect them from this predatory, monopolistic behavior.

The Best 6 Options For iPhone Screen Repair

It happens. Sometimes you drop your phone or set something on it, and all of a sudden you’ve got a cracked screen. What’s worse, trying to use said cracked screen for day to day life. It just doesn’t work. Fortunately, you don’t have to put up with it, as there are many options available when it comes to iPhone screen repair!

Since we purchase damaged iPhones and spruce them up for resale, consider us your personally educated, unbiased experts on iPhone screen repair. Here are the different options available to you, depending on cost and, in some cases, confidence level.

 

The Apple Store

Best For Those That Love Apple or With Reliable Funds

If you need the comfort of knowing your phone is 100% good as new, then Apple is, without a doubt, the best choice for iPhone screen repair. When Apple patches it up, you can rest easy knowing they’re using genuine Apple parts installed by highly trained professionals. Not to mention that you’re given a guarantee after replacement, which is nice to have.

 

Take an Apple device to an Apple store to get repaired. Crazy, right?

 

The repaired parts will be covered for a minimum of 90 days or the remainder of your AppleCare coverage, whichever is longer. The problem with Apple’s iPhone screen repair is that it often doesn’t make sense for older model iPhones. 

For example, the cost for Apple to repair an out-of-warranty iPhone 7 screen is $149 (or only $29 if your device is covered by AppleCare+). You can buy a similar model on eBay (in mint condition) for around the same price – perhaps even less – and keep your cracked one as well. (For memory’s sake, maybe – or in case you feel like throwing something around besides your newly acquired phone.)

For that reason, generally speaking, we don’t recommend using Apple to replace your iPhone screen unless you have one of the newest models, like the iPhone 12 or iPhone 13 Pro Max, or have some form of AppleCare+. They do offer programs for several years, so who knows, your device might be covered. You can always check here if you’re unsure.

 

There’s a lot that goes into device repair. A LOT.

 

Apple Authorized Repair Centers

Best For Those Who Don’t Have Access To an Apple Store, Or Don’t Live Near One

These days, getting into an Apple Store for Genius Bar-themed repair can be pretty much near impossible. That’s because their schedules are jam-packed with appointments, or, worse yet, inaccessible due to the COVID epidemic. Fortunately, Apple authorized repair centers offer all the advantages of getting your device fixed by Apple, but with way more options to choose from. That makes it a great choice if you can’t access an official store.

For example, Best Buy is an Apple authorized iPhone screen repair center. The prices are the same as Apple’s, plus the only real disadvantage is that the staff will likely be a bit less knowledgeable than an Apple Genius. Or you might end up leaving with a PlayStation 5 if they have them in stock. (Buy us one too, will ya?)

You can find an authorized repair center here and see what’s close by.

 

eBay

Best For Those With Patience and Adventurous Spirit

You can buy pretty much anything on eBay, including Jesus Toast (we just missed being the high bidder, would’ve been great around the office). But you can also get your screen repaired through the service as well.

eBay has various vendors that offer mail-in iPhone screen repair services. Here’s how it works. You pay for the repair upfront, ship them your iPhone, and they’ll repair and ship it back to you for free. 

The biggest drawback is clearly that it’s super sketchy to send your iPhone to a random eBay seller, right? Even with its seller protection program, you never know just what someone is going to do to your device while it’s under repair. 

Your best bet in this regard is to look for sellers with high rankings and lots of recommendations from other users. Some might be up-and-coming and offer lower rates, but with a higher score, you’ve got better peace of mind that professionals are on the case. 

If you’re feeling tech-savvy for some reason, some also offer repair kits and the ability to replace your own screen. However, we suggest sticking with the professionals, lest you end up with a device that’s both non-operational and with a cracked screen. If you feel it’s a lost cause and you’re replacing it anyway, then maybe tinker with it. But, yeah, not all of us can repair phones. (I mean, we can, but we’ve been doing this for quite some time.)

 

Third-Party Repair Shops

Best for Compromisers

Local repair iPhone screen repair stores like ubreakifix, Experimax, and others are a middle-of-the-road option. You’re going to get a quality screen replacement and, generally speaking, you can figure on paying about $50 to $80 less than whatever Apple is charging. 

The downside is you’re going to get an aftermarket screen that, while still “good,” is not the same quality as Apple’s, and could potentially void any remaining Apple warranty if it’s not installed correctly. Not to mention the fact that it could operate slightly differently depending on its quality. We’ve seen some instances where it doesn’t always read your touches – and that can be disastrous when you’re playing Angry Birds. (“I said launch! LAUNCH!”)

Also, keep in mind that if you ever sell the iPhone, it could be worth less because of the aftermarket screen. Before going this route, make sure you’re getting at least a 90-day warranty for parts and labor, which is standard for the industry. Click here to check for repair shops near you.

 

“These drills are just for show, we swear.”

 

Repair It Yourself

Best for the Brave or Handy

Possibly the best part of doing iPhone screen repair yourself is that it basically makes you an Apple Genius. You may even want to write that down on your resume. But can you actually pull off this iPhone screen repair in question? Definitely maybe. 

As we mentioned above in the eBay portion of this article, if you’re handy or have tinkered with repairs of another kind before, you can probably handle repairing the screen yourself. This will assure it gets done your way and save you some moolah in the process. iFixit has very detailed guides on how to repair the screen for every iPhone model.

Check them out and decide for yourself if you’re equipped to do the repair. Just remember, though. This process is very delicate, and messing up even the smallest thing could make all the difference in making your iPhone good as new. So don’t mess around or, heaven forbid, make a YouTube video where you ask, “What could possibly go wrong?” (The answer is everything.)

We also recommend purchasing your screen from iFixit. They’re very high quality for third-party screens, as well as reasonably priced (we have personally used their screens in the past, without any problems you’d experience from other third-party companies).

Replacing the screen yourself will likely take you about an hour or two. The cost ranges from $50 to $80 for the screen and tool kit depending on your model. If that seems expensive, keep in mind you can get screens much cheaper on eBay, but the quality is hit or miss.

 

“Hey, I could fix your phone. Gimme that tool kit.”

 

Don’t Repair It At All, Just Replace It

Best for Those Who Don’t Want To Deal With Muss Or Fuss

The last option for repairing your iPhone screen is genius. Pure genius. Like “smarter than Wile E. Coyote Super Genius” genius! Plus, it’s an option we can actually help you out with: Just sell it and buy a replacement. 

You’d probably be surprised to hear that cracked iPhones can be sold for a price very comparable to ones in good condition. Here’s a simple example of why this option makes so much sense: 

Market value of a cracked iPhone 7 (32GB unlocked) at the time of writing: $35

Market value of the same model in good condition at the time of writing: $105 (keep in mind that’s new, used will be far less)      

If you followed this method, you’d only take a small loss by selling your damaged iPhone 7 and buying another one instead of shelling out $149 to Apple, $97 to ubreakifix, or $70 to try and fix it yourself. That would save you money in the long run.

On top of that, you’ll never be without a phone because you can keep using your cracked one up until the point you purchase a replacement. Thanks to our specific “cracked” condition category, GadgetGone is one of only a handful of places that will offer you a solid, instant offer for a cracked iPhone. You’d certainly get far more than Best Buy or GameStop, who, at the very most, would probably offer to recycle your device for zero dollars.

To learn more about how to sell to GadgetGone – complete with various payment options and trouble-free shipping – head here.

Hey, it’s either that or you keep your cracked phone and insist that it’s from your daily battle with ninjas that only you can see. Your choice. (There’s only so many times you can go, “Wait, I just saw one!” and they buy it…)

We hope these options lend a hand when it comes to getting your iPhone screen (or entire device) replaced. Just be careful next time – and maybe buy a screen protector and case to avoid another case of the “clumsies.

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and Twitter for more helpful tech tips, future special offers and behind-the-scenes GadgetGone goodness! (Plus, we have a dog!)

 

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iPhone screen – yellow, OLED or LCD, what is the difference between iPhone displays

  1. Themes

Last updated 03 June 2023

Apple creates devices that feature modern displays. One of the most notable innovations is Retina Display, which has been installed in mobile gadgets since 2010. Since then, the production of the iPhone screens has changed a lot: Apple began installing not only LCD displays, but also OLED displays, starting with the iPhone X. However, the company continues to use traditional IPS panels in the iPhone 11 and iPhone SE second generation. And now there are rumors that in 2021 iPhone and iPad screens may switch to a new mini-LED technology.

Read why mini-LED is needed and why it's better than regular iPhone screens.

Apple Smartphones Apple Tips Apple Technology Apple Company Apple Problems iPhone XR MacBook Pro Retina Apple Computers iPhone Repair Samsung vs Apple

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Super Retina and Super Retina XDR displays on iPhone

Learn how to get the most out of your Super Retina or Super Retina XDR displays on your iPhone.

Super Retina display on iPhone X, iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, and Super Retina XDR display on iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max were designed by Apple to our highest standards. We believe that these are the best OLED displays ever installed in a smartphone. They provide incredible color accuracy. Super Retina and Super Retina XDR displays deliver incredible contrast, high brightness, and cinema-like color gamut. An advanced color management system accurately calibrates for vibrant, natural-looking images.

High Dynamic Range

Super Retina and Super Retina XDR displays also support High Dynamic Range (HDR), covering a wider range of dark and light in photos and videos. This results in truly deep blacks and pure, vibrant whites, while preserving the expressive nuances in between. Photos look more realistic, and any Dolby Vision, HDR10 or HLG content is amazing like never before.

OLED technology

Super Retina and Super Retina XDR displays use Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) technology. They are upgraded from conventional OLED displays to deliver incredible picture quality. These are the first OLED panels that meet all iPhone standards.

OLED technology delivers the highest contrast ratio and stunning resolution. Even without a backlight, the OLED display emits light through every pixel, and this feature has made it thinner. With high brightness, wide color gamut support, and amazing color accuracy, Super Retina and Super Retina XDR displays overcome the challenges of traditional OLED displays.

If you look at the OLED display from an angle, you can see slight shifts in colors and shades. If the display brightness level is lowered while scrolling against a black background, the image may become slightly blurred or colors may change. This is typical for OLED displays and is not a malfunction. With continuous use of the OLED display for a long time, slight visible changes may also occur. This is also normal. Among these changes, one can note such effects as “image retention” or “burn-in”, when even after the appearance of a new image, faint traces of the previous one are visible on the screen. Image retention is temporary and disappears after a few minutes of normal use. Burn-in can occur in extreme cases, for example, if the same high-contrast image is constantly shown on a display at high brightness for extended periods of time.

With Super Retina and Super Retina XDR OLED displays, we’ve kept burn-in to an absolute minimum. Special algorithms track the use of individual pixels to prepare display calibration data. Using this data, iPhone automatically adjusts the brightness levels of each pixel to minimize burn-in and ensure image uniformity. Auto Brightness prevents burn-in and image retention.

In addition, all OLED and LCD displays may experience a decrease in brightness over time. This can happen with any consumer electronics.

Get the most out of your Super Retina and Super Retina XDR displays

The latest iOS iPhone is designed to minimize the effects of long-term use and extend the life of your Super Retina and Super Retina XDR displays. The following are additional ways to keep Super Retina and Super Retina XDR displays high quality over time.

  • Update iOS on iPhone to the latest version. When the next update becomes available, you will be prompted to install it. Alternatively, you can go to Settings > General > Software Update to manually check for updates.
  • Use the Auto Brightness feature to automatically adjust the brightness of the display based on ambient light conditions. This setting is enabled by default. To check its status, go to Settings > Accessibility > Display & Text Size, scroll down and turn on Auto-Brightness.
  • Set iPhone to turn off the display when not in use. We recommend choosing a short period of time.