Come on, you really need to stop getting third-party iPhone repairs

Come on, you really need to stop getting third-party iPhone repairs

The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus from the back.
Image: lili sams/mashable

iOS 11.3 isn’t even two weeks old, and it’s already causing problems. Specifically, it’s killing touch functionality in iPhone 8 models that have third-party screens. 

Users who have had their iPhone 8’s screens replaced by shops that aren’t Apple Stores or authorized retailers have been experiencing difficulty using their phones since downloading the update. Multiple retailers told Motherboard that fixing the phones requires upgrading the chip that powers the screen. 

Look, we get it. If this happened to your phone, it’s frustrating to the max. But it’s also…a tiny bit your fault. 

Two years ago, iOS 9.2.1 rendered Touch ID useless on older iPhones repaired by third-parties. Just a day after the news broke, Seattle-based law firm Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala brought a class-action lawsuit seeking five million dollars. 

Apple claimed the error was meant to be a factory test that should not have affected customers, and a judge granted Apple’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit. The judge claimed that “the mere fact that a company has designed a product doesn’t mean it automatically knows about all of that product’s potential design flaws.”

Following the lawsuit, Apple released an updated version of iOS 9 that restored the phones, and reimbursed customers who had paid for out-of-warranty replacements. 

When it comes to iOS 11.3, it’s important to remember that there’s no proof yet that Apple intended to screw up your phone. Third-party retailers that aren’t authorized by Apple can vary in quality, and you never know what exactly they’re doing, or the quality of the materials they’re putting in your device. Getting your screen replaced in a mall kiosk, rather than the Apple Store down the hall, could save you money, but it’s a risk.

But even if Apple is intentionally shutting down your phone to milk you for all the money you’re worth, it’s hardly a secret that third-party repairs invalidate your iPhone’s warranty — and that’s a term you agreed to when you purchased it. 

The Right to Repair debate has been ongoing for years, and there are good arguments on both sides. It’s reasonable for customers to want to be able to repair their phones themselves, but it’s also reasonable for Apple to want to avoid the nightmare of a lawsuit it might face if a customer injures herself while trying to replace her screen. 

But that’s not what matters here. What matters is that when your iPhone has hardware in it that Apple didn’t make or authorize, you run a risk of it not working with Apple’s software — regardless of whether Apple had malicious intent or not. If you’re not cool with that, that’s fine — just don’t buy an iPhone. 

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