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Screen replacement > Face ID functionality?

Hey there,

My girlfriend dropped her iPhone 11 the other day and the screen is badly cracked to the point where it literally cuts her fingers. So it needs a replacement ASAP. I have moderate experience with screen repairs on other phones and iPads, so I want to offer to replace it for her myself. Therefore I did some research online, and that's when I remembered Face ID has this hardware pairing security measure, so to speak. Meaning, as far as I understand, you can't just replace the screen and expect Face ID to function right away.

I've searched for some more information on the subject, and numerous sources tell me that Apple was going to update iOS to allow for third-party screen replacements without having to transplant any tiny hardware. Meaning you wouldn't have to micro solder or use microscopes and the like. However, I cannot find any recent information on this subject. All the sources I've found are from 2021 or earlier, so I'm not sure what the current status is and if Apple has pushed said update to the users yet. So basically I have these questions:

  • Is it at all possible to DIY replace an iPhone 11 screen and have Face ID still working?
  • If it is indeed possible, given she's got the most recent iOS version, is any sort of hardware transplant involving micro soldering and microscopes required?
  • Are there any guides for these transplants and are they doable for a hobbyist like me, considering I've got all the right equipment and I'm willing to take a small risk?
  • If I finish this repair, can I expect any sort of Important Display Message as seen in this video? - https://youtu.be/bLo0_p7Oxm8
  • Additionally, is there any way to have True Tone still working after the repair? Preferably without a programming device as seen in the above mentioned video.
  • and finally:
  • Can I expect any other issues when replacing the screen with a, although of good quality, non-OEM part?

I'm sorry for asking this many questions right off the bat, but since it's my girlfriend I really want to make sure I have the skillset to be able to complete the repair before I even consider doing it. However, as I said, I'm willing to take a small risk of course since the OEM repair @ Apple is nearly 10x more expensive than this DIY solution.

Any help would be very very much appreciated!

Thank you and best regards,

Lucas

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Hi Lucas,

Excellent questions; you've obviously done your homework!

Okay, first off, Face ID. You'll be transferring the earpiece speaker assembly from the old screen to the replacement; that's the part that's related to the Face ID system. Assuming you don't break anything during the transfer, there's no reason Face ID won't continue to work properly.

Next, True Tone. I'm afraid with that one you're stuck. A programmer is absolutely required if you want that function on your new screen. The accepted method is to read it out of the old screen and write it to the new one, but it's also possible to retrieve the data directly from the phone itself for programming into the new screen. So it can be done at any time; it's just that you'll have to remove the screen again if you put it off and later get yourself or get access to a programmer.

Finally, the non-genuine part warning. Not really much of a way around this one. According to what I've read, the warning will appear on wakeup for about a week, then it'll go away and only appear in Settings after that - permanently. The two ways around that are to 1) Use the Apple self-repair program, meaning you have to buy the screen from Apple and rent their equipment to do the job, or 2) Transfer the eeprom from the old display's touch screen flex cable to the new screen. That, of course, requires microsoldering experience and somewhat specialized tools to accomplish, so it's generally not something us home DIY-ers can tackle. You may or may not be able to find a repair shop that can do that for you. However, given that the warning does not affect the operation of the display in any way whatsoever, most people consider the cost of getting rid of it much too high.

Apple has indeed relented and updated iOS so that non-genuine screens do continue to work, albeit with the warning in place.

Of course, iFixit has you covered with a guide stepping you through the whole replacement process.

iPhone 11 Screen Replacement - iFixit Repair Guide

Of course you can find a replacement screen cheaper on sites like eBay, AliExpress and Amazon, but if you care to support iFixit's repair efforts you can get a screen from them.

iPhone 11 Screen: LCD + Digitizer Replacement Part, Repair Kit

I'd suggest getting the "Fix Kit" version, as it comes with the precut adhesive sheet and all the tools needed to do the job for only $10 US extra. Speaking from experience here, I usually buy a couple of sheets of adhesive, as it's all too easy to misalign it even by a small amount and then end up with a tangled ball of glue trying to get it back off and into the right place. If you do get it right, well then you've got a spare for any unanticipated cases where you have to open the phone up again.

Hope that helps; let us know how your repair goes!

iPhone 11 Screen 이미지

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iPhone 11 Screen

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Hey Jerry,

Thank you so much for your very thorough and helpful answer. This definitely helps out a lot. I think the loss of TrueTone and the one-week-lasting message about the non-OEM screen is acceptable considering it's a DIY repair.

I am going to attempt the repair and will update this topic once I have.

Thank you again for your help and I wish you a wonderful day.

Kind regards,

Lucas

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