After iFixit‘s attempt at an iPhone 13 screen replacement revealed a microcontroller embedded in the display that breaks Face ID functionality if the screen is replaced by anyone other than Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider, the repair experts opened up the Pixel 6 Pro to find that Google’s approach to DIY screen replacements was notably different (and much better).
In the video, the teardown experts at iFixit actually made a case for hardware serialization and binding certain components to the devices they’re shipped in — anything that has to do with biometric authentication needs to be highly secure, and calibration is a valid justification for phone components being paired to one another and serialized.
However, breaking functionality when users get the devices they paid for and own repaired from wherever they want is detrimental to the overall user experience.
After iFixit‘s discovery set enthusiasts, repair experts, and the internet ablaze, Apple told media outlet The Verge that a future software update would do away with the Face ID-breaking hardware lock.
Until that software update comes out, however, your only option is to painstakingly transplant the tiny microprocessor from the old screen to the new screen. Apple also has a software tool that Apple Authorized Service Providers can use to pair new screens to iPhones — a tool that isn’t publicly available.
The Pixel 6 Pro’s OLED screens are also serialized to each device, but Google has a free-to-download software tool that the average Joe can use to register and calibrate a new screen to their Pixel 6 Pro, fully restoring all biometric authentication functionality.
iFixit was also delighted to find that Google added a plastic border with clips to the Pixel 6 Pro’s OLED screen, protecting the display from the adhesive used to hold the phone together and also allowing for glue-less reassembly.
Getting to the battery, iFixit found that Google is using a new battery removal mechanism that includes a clear plastic tab that hugs the battery. However, what the plastic tab is for or how it is used is anyone’s best guess at the moment.
The repair experts gave the battery replacement process a ‘C’, owing to the fact that Google hasn’t provided any documentation or guides to instruct users on how to most efficiently remove the battery pack from the phone’s adhesive clutches.
iFixit stopped just short of diving into Google’s new Tensor processor, but did reveal that the phone’s RAM is made by Micron Technology, Inc.