Same-unit Face ID repairs will soon be available for iPhone XS and newer

Apple is, again, rumored to soon offer same-unit repairs for common Face ID issues by permitting authorized technicians to replace a TrueDepth camera component on the iPhone XS or newer without having to replace the whole iPhone itself.

A still from Apple's iPhone X ad showing a woman by the poolside using Face ID to unlock her phone
  • Apple is allegedly planning to soon permit technicians to repair Face ID on the iPhone XS and newer without replacing the whole device, like before.
  • The change could potentially make repairs more affordable whilst at the same time helping reduce the number of whole-unit repairs completed.
  • Service technicians currently replace the whole phone in case of a Face ID failure because Apple wouldn’t give them access to a TrueDepth camera service part.

Apple may “soon” offer same-unit Face ID repairs

MacRumors saw an internal Apple memo the company apparently sent to its authorized service providers informing them about the new same-unit repair policy for Face ID issues going into effect soon. As a result, Apple’s own retail stores, as well as authorized third-party technicians, will be able to fix Face ID problems without having to replace the whole phone itself.

The memo says the new service part will be available for the iPhone XS and newer:

Apple said authorized technicians will soon have access to a new TrueDepth Camera service part containing all Face ID and front camera modules, allowing for same-unit repairs.

The key to this change will be Apple’s Service Toolkit diagnostic tool which will help technicians determine when to perform a same-unit Face ID repair instead of a whole-unit replacement (also known as an iPhone rear system repair. The memo positions the change as a win-win for both the consumer and the environment.

Apple said the move will help to reduce the number of whole-unit repairs completed, as part of the company’s commitment to reduce the carbon footprint of its products. For customers, same-unit Face ID repairs could be more affordable than a whole-unit replacement, but the memo did not include pricing details.

This unexpected policy change would certainly be much appreciated. People could finally end up paying less for repairs for Face ID issues, so that’s a big plus!

Currently, Apple replaces the whole phone if Face ID breaks

Apple’s current policy has been in place since 2018, a year following the iPhone X unveiling. The iPhone X was the first model with Face ID, and Apple decided it would start issuing whole-unit replacements for any Face ID issues on the iPhone X. At the same time, the company would retain the same-unit policy for Face ID repairs on the iPhone XS, which launched in 2018.

Mind you, this is not the first time we’re heard about this rumored service policy change from Apple. In February of 2021, AppleInsider ran a story alleging Apple would stop replacing the whole phone to repair Face ID sensors or fix common issues such as cracked glass, according to a leaked internal memo.

All in all, it’s entirely possible that the latest Face ID service policy change won’t go into effect anytime soon so bear that in mind. After all, the MacRumors report states that Apple said related documentation and training will be made available “at a later date.” Read: How to fix Apple Watch stuck on the Apple logo