tech2 News StaffFeb 09, 2016 14:33:58 IST
First spotted on Apple support forums and later reported by The Guardian; if the TouchID sensor on your iPhone has been repaired or replaced by a third-party technician, your phone will be rendered useless come the next software update (or maybe even sooner).
Why? This is apparently a security feature meant to ensure that your TouchID is kept as secure as possible. After all, Apple envisions a future where your fingerprint is the key to your life (your phone, Apple Pay, passwords vault, etc.) and keeping your fingerprint secure is paramount. While we agree with the sentiments behind the design, the move does seem a bit overzealous, to say the least.
Google’s approach to the problem is far more sensible and we can only hope that Apple takes the trouble to implement something like that in the future. Google’s SafetyNet API ensures the security of GooglePay by running a compatibility test, a test that if failed (if, say, you have a rooted phone), renders GooglePay useless, but NOT your entire device.
Should you be worried? YES!
TouchID works by scanning your fingers via the sensor, encrypting that data and storing it on a chip embedded within the TouchID sensor circuit. Any damage to the home button means that your TouchID sensor will need to be replaced and any damage to the screen means that the entire front panel will need to be replaced (though not necessarily your TouchID).
The problem here is that while Apple knows how to replace the home button and reprogram the OS to accept the new button, it’s keeping that knowhow a closely guarded secret. So far so good, but Apple took this “security” a step further by ensuring that a repaired or replaced TouchID (by, and we can’t stress this enough, a third-party technician) would completely brick your phone.
Getting your iPhone repaired by a third-party technician is, in some cases, inescapable, and in others, a much cheaper option (a third-party screen repair job would cost Rs 11,000, an official repair job would be Rs 25,000). Apple has now eliminated that option completely.
If your phone’s TouchID has been tampered with, your phone will be bricked. There is no recourse. Your phone will have to be replaced (You’re really kicking yourself on missing out on AppleCare+ now, aren’t you?).
If you’re still unsure as to the status of your phone, here’s a simple cheat sheet for you:
TouchID repaired by a third-party technician: Buy a new iPhone
TouchID replaced by a third-party technician: Buy a new iPhone
TouchID replaced/repaired by an Apple technician at an Apple certified service centre: You’re in the green.
If you did get your TouchID replaced by a third-party technician and your phone is still working fine, don’t update your phone, backup all your data (over WiFi if possible) and take it to the nearest Apple store and pray that something can be done about it.
What Apple is effectively saying is, "Get your phone repaired at an Apple Certified Service Centre, or else..."
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