Complete iPhone 13 Pro Teardown Shows How Apple Reduced Face ID Camera, but Third-Party Repairs Will Be Discouraged
The detailed teardown of the iPhone 13 Pro from iFixit is finally here, giving you a look at what Apple has changed on the inside. We also get a look at how the Face ID camera was shrunk, but other areas of the flagship smartphone make things difficult for third-party repairs.
Though the iPhone 13 Pro Receives a Decent Repairability Score, Software Limitations Prevent Third-Party Repairs From Happening
Both the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max open like a book, but iFixit points out that there is one sensor cable at the top that is extremely short and thin, meaning that if you get a little too excited getting inside, you might accidentally break it. The Taptic Engine has shrunk in size, but we already reported about it before, and that is one of the contributing factors that led Apple to incorporate bigger batteries in all iPhone 13 models.
As for the dimensions of the Taptic Engine, iFixit states that it measures 764.27 mm³ compared to the iPhone 12 Pro’s component at 869.4 mm³, and it is heavier at 6.3 grams, up from 4.8 grams from last year. As for the Face ID camera, the teardown shows that the iPhone 13 Pro’s flood illuminator and dot projector have merged into a single module, which is why the notch on all four models this year is smaller than it has ever been.
Also, the TrueDepth camera components are now separate from the display, with the earpiece speaker that was removed from the display previously, has now been relocated between the front-facing camera and the Face ID module. This means the separation of the Face ID camera from the display should make replacements easier right? Wrong. We reported that if you replace an iPhone 13 display with a non-genuine part, the software will disable Face ID.
In fact, using a genuine display replacement part will not restore Face ID’s functionality, so the only route remaining for customers is to head to an Apple outlet or a third-party shop that is a part of the technology giant’s Independent Repair Program. Fortunately, removing the batteries is a breeze, as there are pull-tabs that make replacement seamless. Overall, iFixit gave the iPhone 13 Pro teardown a repairability score of five out of 10 and provided the following pointers.
Display and battery replacements remain a priority in the new iPhones' design.
Most other components are modular and easy to access or replace.
The multitude of screw types makes repair more difficult than necessary—but at least they’re not glue.
Waterproofing methods complicate some repairs, but make (expensive) water damage less likely.
Once again, double glass means double drop damage, and despite the improvements to durability over the years, there’s still no easy way to replace the rear glass.
Software component pairing needlessly complicates many repairs, undermines credibility of third party repair, and reduces critical functionality of the device when repaired without Apple's proprietary calibration tools.
A lot has changed on the inside, and not for the better when it comes to third-party repairs. One reason why the iPhone 13 series looks relatively unchanged from the outside compared to the iPhone 12 family is because Apple’s engineers have reportedly allocated their efforts on the iPhone 14 lineup, which is said to sport a major design overhaul. However, do not expect Apple to make third-party repairs on the 2022 models either, but we will still wait for iFixit’s in-depth teardown when those launch.
News Source: iFixit
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