Apple wants to be the only company customers go to when they need repairs for their iDevices. That much was proven when the company was found to be bricking iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus units whose screens had been replaced with third-party components.
Though it's a bummer, this concept actually makes sense. For Apple, at least. Sure, it means the company makes more money if consumers go to them for repairs, but it's also a way to enforce quality assurance, and sometimes, security protection.
Apple Is Bricking iPhone 8 And iPhone 8 Plus Units
Unsurprisingly, Apple, as before, has found a way to brick iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus models with third-party screen replacements. When those devices are updated to iOS 11.3, touch functionality becomes disabled, effectively rendering the phone pretty much useless. When Apple began bricking iPhone 7 units, repairs shops became wary of accepting repair orders, and it's easy to imagine that'll happen again with the iPhone 8.
"We don't even do the 8 repairs this year, on purpose," said Michael Oberdick, owner of pre-owned iPhone store and repair shop iOutlet, based in Ohio. "I had a really good feeling that something like this was going to happen again."
What You Need To Know About Apple's Special iPhone Chips
Repair experts explain that iPhones contain special proprietary chips, including one that powers the touchscreen. When a screen is replaced, the chip needs to be replaced as well. If there's a mismatch between the screen and the chip, iOS will then disable touch input. Apple employs the same tactic with Touch ID sensors, and also the iPhone X's Face ID components. When third-party services repair or replace such components, they'll most likely end up not functioning entirely.
Such protective layers seem no more than proprietary nuisance, but it's actually easy to understand: these measures are implemented so as to protect the user's data. As such, they need to be tamper-proof. That's why newer iPhones come with what Apple calls as a Secure Enclave, which protects passcode and fingerprint data.
It's not certain whether Apple will release an update that fixes this issue. For those who have had screen replacements for their iPhones, they're basically stuck with a bricked phone. The move also has bigger implication for third-party repair services. If Apple continues to deliberately render phones with third-party parts dysfunctional, then obviously customers will go to Apple instead of them.
"Customers are annoyed and it seems like Apple is doing this to prevent customers from doing 3rd party repair," said Aakshay Kripalani, CEO of Injured Gadgets, a retailer and repair shop in Georgia.