Know the iPhone X Repairs that Mess with Face ID

With a new iPhone and new iOS updates come a new slew of obstacles facing third-party repair. Same can be said for iOS updates. Last month, on the heels of the iOS 11.3 3D Touch issues, came reports that third-party-repaired screens on iPhones 8, 8 Plus, and X may result in loss of ambient light control.

More recently, we’re cocking our heads at news that Apple technicians are instructed to try a back camera repair to fix disabled Face ID functionality. If that doesn’t work? Replace the whole phone. So how are the two interlinked? No one knows for sure yet.

Until more is known about the connection between the back camera and the TrueDepth camera system that’s in charge of Face ID, let’s focus on repairs that definitely affect Face ID.

Front Sensor and Speaker Assembly Flex Cable

Front Sensor and Loudspeaker Flex Cable

This assembly, sandwiched together on the underside of the screen, houses the ambient light sensor, proximity sensor, and flood illuminator in addition to the earpiece speaker and microphone.

This part is directly tied to the logic board. A replacement restores the speaker and proximity sensor functionality, but loses Face ID and ambient light control.

Screen Assembly

iPhone X OLED and Digitizer Screen Assembly

See above. You must transfer the front sensor and flex cable from the original screen to the replacement screen.

Just like with home buttons on iPhones 7 and 8, the sensor flex cable needs to be retained from the original device to ensure that biometric unlocking works. If you replace it, expect to lose Face ID and ambient light control.

Front Camera and Infrared Assembly

Front Camera and Infrared Flex Cable Assembly

The front camera, infrared camera, and dot projector are firmly clasped by a single spot-welded bracket, and are tied to the specific logic board. If replaced, Face ID is disabled.

Even if it's only the camera that busts and you want to wrench the bracket apart to replace only the camera flex cable, Face ID will still be disabled and the phone may only be unlocked via manual passcode.

Keep Watching for Updates

Sound like a lot of hassle? It is. There's hope that further iOS updates will address these problems, at the very least the ambient light problems. Your best bet is to use OEM-quality aftermarket parts (like we carry), which have a higher likelihood of benefiting from software updates. A recent example are cheap aftermarket iPhone batteries. iOS didn't recognize them, so iPhone users were deprived of the new battery power monitoring capabilities.

Parts are available to carry out all of these repairs, but make sure you know what parts can be replaced without disabling Face ID. It’s also worth it for iPhone X owners to understand how these restrictions limit their choices for repair if and when their phones break.

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Ambient light sensorDisabledFace idInfrared cameraIphone xIssuesLoudspeakerRepairReplacement back cameraReplacement front camera