Apple is to let third-party repairers use an authorized machine to make it easier to fix cracked iPhone screens. It denies proposed state laws have pressured it into doing so.
The move isn’t so much about simple cracks, but rather those where either the damage itself or the process of restoring it could affect functionality. A key example is when the crack affects fingerprint sensors, which can’t simply be replaced without the phone processor being updated to recognize the new sensor.
Reuters has revealed that Apple stores and repair centers use a dedicated “Horizon Machine” that pairs the sensor and processor, as well as physically testing the touch features of the replacement screen.
By the end of the year those machines will be available to around 400 independently run repair centers, around eight percent of the total. This will include some countries which don’t have any official Apple stores or repair facilities. The testing function will be particularly important given independent repairers have to use non-Apple components.
According to Apple, the move has nothing to do with proposed “right to repair” laws in eight states that would force it to sell official replacement parts and diagnostic tools to repairers and the public, as well as supplying repair manuals. Apple argues that would make life easier for people looking to hack the phones and compromise security.