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Report: Apple may soon warn users if their camera was repaired using non-genuine components

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According to a report from MacRumors, future versions of iOS could inform users when their devices are repaired using non-genuine camera components.

Back in November 2020, not long after Apple’s iPhone 12 lineup was announced, repair website iFixit discovered reliable third-party repairs of camera components inside the new iPhone 12 devices will be all but impossible, due to needing a propriety piece of software. According to iFixit, as well as YouTuber Taylor Dixon, replacing the camera hardware of iPhone 12 devices resulted in unreliable and inconsistent performance due to Apple’s proprietary ‘System Configuration’ program needing to be run on the device by an authorized technician.

Below is the video from Taylor Dixon, showing the camera issues they had after swapping out camera modules:

It appears now that Apple is working on a warning system that will notify users when non-genuine components have been used. After updating to the second developer beta of iOS 14.4, MacRumors contributor Steve Moser came across code suggesting Apple will show a warning when the system detects the camera modules inside the device have been repaired or replaced with third-party aftermarket components instead of genuine Apple hardware. The text ‘Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple camera’ will appear in the Settings app, under General > About, if it notices an aftermarket camera module, according to Moser.

A document, shared by iFixit, that shows what components require Apple’s proprietary System Configuration program to be run on various devices for repairs. Click to enlarge.

While this is certainly aimed at preventing DIY repairs, it will also inform users who may have had their device repaired by unauthorized technicians at third-party repair centers. Apple’s System Configuration app was already required for battery replacements dating back to the iPhone XR/XS line, but as of the iPhone 12 lineup, both displays and camera components will also require the System Configuration tool to be run, as noted by iFixit.

There are a number of legal battles over the ‘Right to Repair,’ but as companies continue to shrink, stack and more tightly integrate components inside their devices, the days of modularity and DIY fixes appear to be numbered.

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