Repairers Claim Even Genuine Apple Displays Can Wreck iPhone Brightness Feature


According to a report by Motherboard, iPhone 8 devices that have had their displays replaced by an unofficial replacement part, upgrading to iOS 11.3 could stop them from working by making the display unresponsive to touch. Moreover, even if third-party repair companies put a genuine Apple replacement display into an iPhone 8, 8 Plus or X, it’ll no longer be able to adjust its brightness automatically (via Engadget).


Interestingly however, if Apple or one of its authorized resellers were to put the same Apple replacement display in the same phone, everything would work just fine. While Apple has not yet issued an official statement regarding the issue, it is believed that the iPhone maker could be discouraging aftermarket repairs this way.

The source was able to confirm that even swapping the displays of two brand-new iPhones running iOS 11.3 causes the ambient light sensor to stop working, despite it not being altered or touched in any way.

The aftermarket repair community has verified the behavior in phones from the US all the way to Australia. It’s confirmed to be an issue with phones running iOS 11.1, 11.2 and 11.3, which led sources to suggest it’s been a problem since the launch of the latest batch of iPhones last fall.

But why would merely swapping the displays of two identical, working iPhones disable a seemingly unrelated sensor? “I’ve been waiting for this for five years to be honest, since the 5S,” one repairer said. “It’s a scary looking future for me.” They expressed concern that Apple is using the ambient light sensor “as a test-case to see how it works, to see if they can link hardware with logic boards so if they were repaired outside of the Apple network it loses functionality.”

With smashed displays being the most common types of damage seen by repairers, it is likely that thousands of phones are currently affected.


  • ribby

    I had my iPhone 8 Plus screen replaced at the Apple Store for a hot pixel issue. After they replaced it, it failed the calibration test on ambient light sensor. They then replaced the iPhone with a new one.

  • johnnygoodface

    If that’s really the case, I’d say it’s a really bad move from Apple, just after the “battery” issue… Let’s wait and see.

  • BeaveVillage

    That’s terrible. Imagine repairing someones screen only to have the customer call after updating to iOS 11.3, saying their screen/touch doesn’t work anymore. Yikes, a repair tech’s nightmare here.

  • m Arch Tom’s on Bar N Ass

    warranty period is key in this “display gate” , for warranty
    purpose and for the period covered by a warranty, apple is allowed
    expecting original apple parts and also trained and certified staff for
    labour to replace displays in iphone units.

    said so, displays as well as batteries may also have huge impact on
    environmental damage, it is then sensible to have a program for
    repairs with original parts by apple ( displays and batteries ) and for a
    period of time that may be up to 5 yrs and while apple collecting
    cracked, damaged displays and exhausted batteries and to care for waste
    disposal. ( i.e: ” dear apple, make sure you get your crap back and stop
    giving US the hassle to pay for disposal of what you import and
    distribute around the EU. ” )

    more affordable price for original displays supplied to third-party stores and training store assistants also, suitable instrumentation for the ” very task “, would allow apple
    ( or a company appointed by apple ) waste collection.

    eventually… this whole story is just about apple setting the ground for a way to empty its warehouse filled with spare parts for models that weren’t a good selling after all, i can even imagine apple stores assistants taking iphones apart ( 8; 8+; X ) and to get displays off the units, allowing apple a strategy to push for display replacement and so to, at
    least, get some more little sales revenue for this iphone cycle.