iFixit Believes Apple Is Accidentally Disabling Touchscreen Functionality on iPhones Repaired by Third-Party Shops


A recent report indicated that the iOS 11.3 update disabled the touchscreen functionality on the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X with an aftermarket display. In other cases, the ambient sensor stopped working even when a genuine Apple replacement display was used. It was believed that this was a deliberate move from Apple to sabotage third-party repairs on its latest iPhones. However, iFixit believes that they just might be bugs that Apple will eventually get around to fixing.

From its testing, iFixit has discovered that it can solve the touchscreen issues on its replacement iPhone display units with an updated firmware. The same firmware can also be flashed on iPhones which have already been repaired by a third-party repair shop to solve the problem for good.

Its the issue with the ambient light sensor not working which is a bit more complex and requires more work. iFixit has discovered that the ambient light sensor will be disabled even if one uses a genuine replacement Apple display. It continues to work if one hot-swap another display to a working iPhone unit, but immediately stops working after a reboot. This indicates that the proximity sensor is failing some kind of hardware check at bootup which is why it is disabled.

The team says that since the proximity sensor has nothing to do with the security of the device, disabling it does nothing but just annoys the customer. It will hamper their experience of using their repaired iPhone but it is not a complete deal breaker. This is why the team speculates that this is just a bug from Apple’s part which will be fixed with a future software update.

Our Take

Given that this matter has now received media attention, Apple will likely fix this issue for good with the iOS 11.4 update. The company had earlier essentially bricked iPhones repaired at a third-party shop for Touch ID issues by throwing an Error 53. This led to a huge outcry from affected customers which eventually forced Apple to apologize and rollout an update to fix the issue.

[Via iFixit]