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iOS 11.3.1 Fixes Bug Where Third-Party Screen Repairs Made iPhone 8 Touchscreens Stop Working (gizmodo.com) 104

The latest version of iOS 11.3.1 includes a fix for an issue where people who use third-party repair services to replace their displays had their devices become unresponsive. According to release notes, "iOS 11.3.1 improves the security of your iPhone or iPad and addresses an issue where touch input was unresponsive on some iPhone 8 devices because they were serviced with non-genuine replacement displays." Gizmodo reports: Retailers and customers alike suspected that Apple was deliberately letting the issue and other malfunctions that arose from replacing other components go unresolved in some sort of ploy to pressure customers into paying for officially licensed repair services that are more expensive. It's possible that some users indeed were forced to shell out a fair chunk of change to Apple for official repairs, in which case they might justifiably be angry that this was an issue that could be resolved with an update. iOS 11 was notoriously buggy after its release, and Apple has devoted so much effort to bug-fixing that this year's iOS 12 update will reportedly have fewer new features. Though Apple says the 11.3.1 fix will work, it also warned people to please not use third-party repair shops: "Note: Non-genuine replacement displays may have compromised visual quality and may fail to work correctly. Apple-certified screen repairs are performed by trusted experts who use genuine Apple parts. See support.apple.com for more information."
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iOS 11.3.1 Fixes Bug Where Third-Party Screen Repairs Made iPhone 8 Touchscreens Stop Working

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  • "bug" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by greenwow ( 3635575 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2018 @09:46PM (#56503993)

    Apple knew exactly what they were doing.

    • Re: "bug" (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Right, which is why it only affected the iPhone 8, not the 6S, 6S+, 7, 7+, 8+ and X, despite all of those currently being on sale. And thats why it got fixed in the next release.

      Sorry, but youâ(TM)re really reaching there

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Exactly; it was a helpful "feature" to help apple combat all the evil people repairing apple products and apple not making any money off it.

    • by MassacrE ( 763 )

      Sure, although they may have not known the side-effects of what they were doing (breaking phones that use unofficial parts that apple has never tested and doesn't qualify).

    • Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.
      • Re:"bug" (Score:4, Insightful)

        by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Thursday April 26, 2018 @04:35AM (#56505115)

        Yeah likely a coding error in the subroutine that scans for the magical genuine bit.

      • Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.

        Very true, but I'm having an extremely hard time seeing how incompetence can adequately explain detecting and disabling non-apple displays.

        • My guess is not all hardware is exactly identical in every way. Even those that are designed to be exact copies might have slight differences that cause malfunctions. Since Apple didn't test 3rd party displays when testing new software it didn't appear to be a problem.

          Remember the outcry a few years back when certain models iPhones had better battery life than others based on who manufactured the A9? The TSMC versions used less battery and ran cooler than the Samsung versions. Now these chips were supposed

          • My guess is not all hardware is exactly identical in every way. Even those that are designed to be exact copies might have slight differences that cause malfunctions.

            True but this was a working system. The displays used to work absolutely fine and then suddenly stopped after a software update which appeared to add no new features related to the display functionality. This was not a hardware malfunction. While it is possible to concoct scenarios where this sort of thing could happen entirely by accident you are beginning to stretch the bounds of probability. However, when you then include the fact that basically all 3rd part screens were affected for me that stretches p

            • True but this was a working system. The displays used to work absolutely fine and then suddenly stopped after a software update which appeared to add no new features related to the display functionality.

              Does Apple or any software company list every single change in an update? No they list the major changes. There could be change that affects the display system that isn't listed. That also doesn't include sub-systems that are affected.

              This was not a hardware malfunction. While it is possible to concoct scenarios where this sort of thing could happen entirely by accident you are beginning to stretch the bounds of probability.

              I would argue the probability increases greatly when Apple doesn't test whether a software update can affect 3rd party hardware. Just like a recent MacOS update has broken 3rd party DisplayLink displays.

              However, when you then include the fact that basically all 3rd part screens were affected for me that stretches probability beyond breaking point unless all the 3rd party screens were identical.

              Where do you get "all"? The original story [slashdot.org] from a few weeks ago says: "App

        • Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.

          Very true, but I'm having an extremely hard time seeing how incompetence can adequately explain detecting and disabling non-apple displays.

          Who said it DISABLED them? Perhaps, the phone simply couldn't COMMUNICATE with the slightly-incompatible third party Display/Digitizer. Ever think of that?

          • Yes, but that would generally mean that they would never have worked. This is a situation where a display worked absolutely fine and then suddenly stopped working after a software update. Clearly, the display could communicate at a hardware level.
            • Yes, but that would generally mean that they would never have worked. This is a situation where a display worked absolutely fine and then suddenly stopped working after a software update. Clearly, the display could communicate at a hardware level.

              Maybe Apple implemented a part of the Comm. Protocol that THEY had planned-for, but not yet implemented; so when the Grey Market Engineers Sniffed the Protocol out of a working phone (how else?), they didn't get what wasn't being used yet (or was being transmitted with a dummy value).

              To me, that sounds MUCH more likely; but what do I know? I'm just an Embedded Systems Dev. ;-)

              • Sounds like a plausible explanation of how you might break compatibility. However, given that the new protocol had no noticeable effect on the user experience - and given how quickly they reversed it probably no non-noticeable benefits either - that still suggests a dubious motivation for making it.
                • Sounds like a plausible explanation of how you might break compatibility. However, given that the new protocol had no noticeable effect on the user experience - and given how quickly they reversed it probably no non-noticeable benefits either - that still suggests a dubious motivation for making it.

                  How do you KNOW it had no noticeable effect on User Experience? Have you horse-raced all the combinations of firmwares and displays?

                  Maybe Apple just decided that the difference wasn't worth the negative press. Unfortunately, we'll probably never know.

                  • How do you KNOW it had no noticeable effect on User Experience?

                    Easy - no user has noticed an effect, therefore, there is no noticeable effect.

                    • How do you KNOW it had no noticeable effect on User Experience?

                      Easy - no user has noticed an effect, therefore, there is no noticeable effect.

                      No.

                      You have not HEARD OF any User noticing a difference.

                      BIG difference!

                    • No, it's exactly the same thing when you are talking about Apple fan boys. If any of them had noticed the tiniest change we would definitely have heard about it by now!
                    • No, it's exactly the same thing when you are talking about Apple fan boys. If any of them had noticed the tiniest change we would definitely have heard about it by now!

                      So, those who prefer Apple products are more discerning? Is that what you are trying to say?

                      Why, Thank You for the compliment!

                      Idiot.

                    • So, those who prefer Apple products are more discerning? Is that what you are trying to say? Why, Thank You for the compliment!

                      No, I think "anally retentive" would be a more accurate summation, but you are welcome.

                    • So, those who prefer Apple products are more discerning? Is that what you are trying to say? Why, Thank You for the compliment!

                      No, I think "anally retentive" would be a more accurate summation, but you are welcome.

                      One man's Attentive is another man's Retentive.

                    • 'Anally attentive' tends to have a very different meaning, but if you prefer that then to each his own I suppose! ;-)
                    • 'Anally attentive' tends to have a very different meaning, but if you prefer that then to each his own I suppose! ;-)

                      I don't know; but from here, it sure looks like it is you that keeps mentioning anuses...

    • Like a greedy diablo, 1 trillion isnt enough, greed just grows faster.

    • Testing Software (Score:4, Interesting)

      by k2r ( 255754 ) on Thursday April 26, 2018 @07:34AM (#56505625)

      This is nonsense. Apple is / sells quite a closed ecosystem hardware-wise, which keeps the number of possible components low and system stability relatively high. Yes, they fsck up, but having used devices from both major worlds even on a medium-enterprise scale they are quite ahead of the diverse and open world android.

      This said, Apple is under no obligation to test their releases against 3rd party modifications of their devices. This would be a cat-and-mouse game they can only lose. It think from a software-development perspective this is a sound decision. Either test against as many foreign hardware / modifications as possible and sell this, or only test against the low number of well known hardware / modifications and sell this.
      There is no middle ground.

      Now there still is the elephant of software quality in the closed china shop of Apple, but that's a different topic.

    • I respectfully disagree. Here in the US, the argument for right-to-repair is circulating among many state and federal legislators. Breaking those legislator's iPhones, or those legislator's kids hand-me-down iPhones, would massively tilt that argument /against/ Apple.

      If a person in a leadership position actively made this decision then they are working against the company's stated objectives.

  • Right... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Freischutz ( 4776131 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2018 @10:55PM (#56504217)

    OS 11.3.1 Fixes Bug Where Third-Party Screen Repairs Made iPhone 8 Touchscreens Stop Working

    ... so all the screaming of bloody murder over Apple doing this deliberately to hurt people who use 3rd party spares was completely unwarranted. I suppose we'll have to going back to sharpening our teeth now in preparation for the next feeding frenzy.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      OS 11.3.1 Fixes Bug Where Third-Party Screen Repairs Made iPhone 8 Touchscreens Stop Working

      ... so all the screaming of bloody murder over Apple doing this deliberately to hurt people who use 3rd party spares was completely unwarranted. I suppose we'll have to going back to sharpening our teeth now in preparation for the next feeding frenzy.

      Or maybe it was the "all the screaming of bloody murder" that gave Apple pause...

    • ... so all the screaming of bloody murder over Apple doing this deliberately to hurt people who use 3rd party spares was completely unwarranted.

      Or maybe a company backed off after the outrage of their actions and this screaming of bloody murder caused them to release a version of software that didn't screw over consumers who daredeth to not contribute to the Cook retirement fund.

      Rather than calling it "unwarranted" a far more accurate term would be "effective".

      • ... so all the screaming of bloody murder over Apple doing this deliberately to hurt people who use 3rd party spares was completely unwarranted.

        Or maybe a company backed off after the outrage of their actions and this screaming of bloody murder caused them to release a version of software that didn't screw over consumers who daredeth to not contribute to the Cook retirement fund.

        Rather than calling it "unwarranted" a far more accurate term would be "effective".

        And maybe if Apple was really cracking down on 3rd party parts use they would have [A] done it accoss their entire product line, iPhones, iPads, Macs inclusive instead of limiting it to the iPhone 8, [B] not put a note on their website (like all other phone makers) warning you that usiing non-OEM spares may cause issues and you do it at your own risk and repair any damage at your own cost and [C] people around here would post articles and scream themselves hoarse in outrage when other device makers rennder

        • You're missing the point: The media shitstorm and calls of bloody murder worked.

          Maybe next time everyone should just shut up and Apple can be happy they've won over the public while people with bricked expensive toys can suffer in silence.

          Also if you think that Slashdot outrage is limited to Apple and Microsoft then maybe you should actually do something radical ... like read Slashdot without your observation bias filter running.

          • You're assuming that this was malicious, and I've seen no evidence that it is. The only evidence that's been brought up is that it's Apple, and therefore malicious. You're assuming that the fuss changed Apple's mind as opposed to alerted them to a problem, without a trace of evidence other than it's Apple.

            You seem to be missing the point that this isn't something Apple could have known about beforehand, and that it could have happened with any phone manufacturer.

            I have been reading Slashdot. Problem

        • maybe if Apple was really cracking down on 3rd party parts use they would have...

          If they had done any of those things they would probably have ended up in serious trouble, perhaps not in the US but in the EU almost certainly. However with what happened they can accomplish the same goal without all the legal problems. Now everyone knows that non-apple repairs might be detected and disabled at any time in the future, entirely by "accident" of course, and while those "bugs" might be fixed you could be without a phone for a few weeks and who whats to chance that?

          Of course it is entirely

          • Of course it is entirely possible that this was as represented - a genuine bug - but it seems like a somewhat unlikely one to have occurred by accident.

            Why would you think that? Someone had an iPhone. The screen broke and they got a third-party one. At that point, Apple doesn't know what's in the phone, and hasn't tested for that hardware combination. Apple changes iOS, and tests against all the Apple configurations they have, and it works. It triggers some sort of incompatibility on a screen it was

        • The the shipments of 3rd-party (not Apple branded) parts they keep having Customs seize as "counterfeit" (which would require that the parts carry Apple branding, which they do not) and the 3rd-party repair shops they keep suing aren't part of a crackdown? They're Apple's way of saying they approve?
          • The the shipments of 3rd-party (not Apple branded) parts they keep having Customs seize as "counterfeit" (which would require that the parts carry Apple branding, which they do not) and the 3rd-party repair shops they keep suing aren't part of a crackdown? They're Apple's way of saying they approve?

            Show me an example where NON-Apple-Branded (but not Apple manufactured) parts were Seized at the behest of Apple.

        • ... so all the screaming of bloody murder over Apple doing this deliberately to hurt people who use 3rd party spares was completely unwarranted.

          Or maybe a company backed off after the outrage of their actions and this screaming of bloody murder caused them to release a version of software that didn't screw over consumers who daredeth to not contribute to the Cook retirement fund.

          Rather than calling it "unwarranted" a far more accurate term would be "effective".

          And maybe if Apple was really cracking down on 3rd party parts use they would have [A] done it accoss their entire product line, iPhones, iPads, Macs inclusive instead of limiting it to the iPhone 8, [B] not put a note on their website (like all other phone makers) warning you that usiing non-OEM spares may cause issues and you do it at your own risk and repair any damage at your own cost and [C] people around here would post articles and scream themselves hoarse in outrage when other device makers rennder 3rd party spares useless with an update because it happens somewhat regularly but only when Apple and Microsoft do it does it seem to warrant a Slashdot shitstorm.

          At least SOMEBODY has a damned BRAIN around here...

          Funny how 99.9999999999999999999% of the "Apple is teh EVILZ!!!" Posters are ACs?

          Now WHY is that?

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      It doesn't help that Apple parts are expensive and hard to come by. You can't even buy an Apple replacement screen yourself, you have to sign up as an authorized repair centre or take your chances on the grey market.

      It's not just iPhones either. Linux Tech Tips recently bought a top of the range iMac for many thousands of dollars. They cracked the screen while moving it and went to Apple for a repair. Apple said they couldn't even order a replacement screen and had no ETA on availability. They are selling p

    • OS 11.3.1 Fixes Bug Where Third-Party Screen Repairs Made iPhone 8 Touchscreens Stop Working

      ... so all the screaming of bloody murder over Apple doing this deliberately to hurt people who use 3rd party spares was completely unwarranted. I suppose we'll have to going back to sharpening our teeth now in preparation for the next feeding frenzy.

      Precisely.

  • Skimmer? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Wednesday April 25, 2018 @11:22PM (#56504315) Homepage Journal

    So could a repair guy install a modded screen that also captures PIN-code data and exfiltrates it, now?
    This might come in handy around DC and such.

    • Sure. And Apple wants to be the one to tell you who to trust. Just like the others [slashdot.org], somehow only the OEM is trustworthy and everyone else is not.

      The current push against right-to-repair by companies is mostly focused around the idea that everyone but the OEM is out to get you and that you shouldn't be legally allowed to trust anyone else. This is mostly because they have no remaining legs to stand on, and this one is flimsy. I'm sure car dealers would say only the dealership is safe for an oil change.

      • If you have an iPhone with genuine Apple parts, Apple is willing to say it will normally work properly. If there's other parts in it, nobody stands behind it. Simple.

        If you have a third-party screen, then you have to trust the third party as well as Apple for security. You have to trust Apple anyway, because if they want to put a sufficiently obscure back door into your iPhone you'll never find it.

  • "Note: Non-genuine replacement displays may have compromised visual quality and may fail to work correctly. Apple-certified screen repairs are performed by trusted experts who use genuine Apple parts. See support.apple.com for more information."

    if you didn't arse rape your customers on the repair cost then perhaps more would go the "genuine" path.

  • Is that like the "geniuses" at the "genius bar"?

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