A new support page from Apple and repair accounts online show that the new iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max will trigger an on-display warning following a third-party screen replacement. This comes only weeks after we learned Apple activated disabled battery health information and issued alerts to users regarding third-party replacement batteries.
The new “Important Display Message,” which says, “Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple display,” is more obtrusive than the battery message. It doesn’t affect the phone’s operability, but it persists for 4 days, after which it moves to the general settings menu for 15 days, then down to iPhone setting’s About page where it resides until someday, maybe, it’s addressed by an authorized Apple repair technician.
On its support page, Apple warns against several multi-touch, display brightness, and color issues resulting from nongenuine displays. It also engages in a fair number of what-ifs resulting from unauthorized repair. “…[C]ould result in improper function or issues with display quality or safety… could damage the battery, cause overheating, or result in injury… might cause compatibility or performance issues.”
On its surface the message is understandable. Apple doesn’t want its products’ performance compromised or its customers’ safety threatened. But to those in the repair industry, it’s a transparent effort to keep repair services in house, and a heavy-handed broadside from a large corporation whose products account for a large percentage of third-party repair business.
Apple has only recently taken serious steps toward recouping business lost to third-party repair. Its two-pronged approach involves touting its authorized repair services and sowing distrust of third-party repair in equal measure, with the Important Display Message being the most egregious move yet. Apple also recently announced its intention to supply genuine parts and tools to independent repair businesses, but it comes with higher prices that end consumers will likely balk at.
What Third-Party Repair Business Can Do
At least those in third-party repair and Apple can agree on one thing, and that’s providing customers with quality products and service. Inferior replacement parts are an issue third-party repair has known about and fought against for years. Now that Apple is taking repair more seriously, it’s taking the opportunity to swing uncertain iPhone users back to its authorized repair services by overstating the issue.
We can always hope for workarounds in the future, but while Apple issues these sorts of warnings, third-party repair shops would do best to continue being honest and upfront with customers. We inspect and test our screens to ensure they don’t lead to any of Apple’s what-ifs, and we know that’s how you do your repairs, too.