iOS 11.3 update breaks iPhone 8 devices with third party-repaired screens

Software update disables touchscreen on £700-plus smartphones that have not had their screens repaired by Apple

Apple’s latest iOS 11.3 software update is causing iPhone 8 devices with third-party repaired screens to stop working.

Users who have had a screen repair performed by a third party, rather than with Apple, on their iPhone 8 smartphones found that the iOS 11.3 update stopped the touchscreen from working, reports Motherboard. The update was pushed out on 29 March, introducing Apple’s promised iPhone battery health information, as well as the ability to turn off the slowing down of smartphones related to the battery following the scandal in December.

The screens continue to display the homescreen once updated to iOS 11.3 but cannot be interacted with, effectively rendering the affected iPhone 8 device unusable without warning from Apple.

“This has caused my company over 2,000 reshipments,” Aakshay Kripalani, chief executive of repair shop Injured Gadgets told Motherboard. “Customers are annoyed and it seems like Apple is doing this to prevent customers from doing third-party repair.”

There is little affected users can do for their £700-plus smartphones other than have the screen replaced again, hopefully with one that will work regardless of the iOS 11.3 update. But this is not the first time a software update from Apple has caused serious problems for those opting to repair their broken smartphones at third-party shops rather than sending them to the manufacturer.

A similar thing happened for the iPhone 7 last year. An iOS update prevented the touchscreens from working on iPhone 7s with third-party repaired screens. Apple then released a follow-up software update that made them work again, resolving the issue.

That followed the storm caused by the so called Error 53, which rendered iPhones useless if they had had their home button replaced by third-party repair shops after a software update. The problem was related to the Touch ID fingerprint scanner embedded within the home button. Apple later apologised and issued a fix for the Error 53 issue.

The consequence 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. Apple charges £156.44 to repair the screen of an iPhone 6S, 7 or 8, £176.44 for the larger iPhone 6S Plus, 7 Plus or 8 Plus or £286.44 for the top-of-the-line iPhone X.

Repairing “other damage” costs between £306.44 and £556.44 for an iPhone 6 or newer. Apple also offers an optional insurance policy, called AppleCare+, which costs £129 for two years for an iPhone 8 and then charges users £25 each screen or £79 for other damage – but users can only claim for two incidents.

Third-party repair shops, which are popular in the era of glass phones and frequently smashed screens, often undercut Apple and offer services Apple does not. Unless they are an authorised-by-Apple repair provider, however, they can only obtain “after-market” parts, not parts directly from the iPhone manufacturer.

Apple did not immediately comment.

Contributor

Samuel Gibbs

The GuardianTramp

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