Apple will soon offer better support for third-party iPhone displays and batteries

Written on 06/30/2024
Taylor Bell

True Tone and battery health data will be available for third-party replacement parts ‘later this year’ even if Apple can’t verify their authenticity.

Apple today has a renewed focus on repair activities. The company is expanding its self-service diagnostics tool to Europe, giving customers in 32 countries an easy way to test their products for potential issues.

But perhaps even more interesting is the fact that Apple has also released a new white paper, "Longevity, by Design" (PDF link), which explains the company's "principles for design that lasts." I'm sure there will be a lot of analysis on each side, but there is actually some news in the papers. Apple has said that it will extend more software features to third-party iPhone components later this year.

True Tone is a feature that adjusts the white balance of the iPhone display to match the surrounding environment, but it is usually disabled when iOS detects a third-party alternative screen. But soon Apple plans to allow customers to enable True Tone "for the best possible performance."

The company says the results may not meet its usual standards because True Tone relies on server-side calibration (which varies by device) and "accurate communication between the product's display and light sensor. It cannot guarantee accurate communication between the product's display and light sensor, which is a non-OEM component." Customers can "disable True Tone in Settings if you are not satisfied with the performance of your display."

Battery measurements will also be available for third-party batteries. Here are the relevant sections from the whitepaper on this. I've highlighted the new parts:

Currently, battery health metrics such as maximum capacity and cycle count are not presented to consumers whose devices have third-party batteries. This is because the accuracy of these metrics cannot be verified by Apple. In fact, an Apple internal analysis has found that some third-party batteries sold as new are actually secondhand, with battery health metrics manipulated to appear as new. In an effort to improve support for third-party batteries, starting later in 2024, Apple will display battery health metrics with a notification stating that Apple cannot verify the information presented.

The white paper highlights how skeptical Apple is of third-party batteries. It includes data on many tests that have failed, in some cases causing fires or explosions. "We encourage all consumers to ensure that their products meet strict safety requirements," the document states.

"Late 2024" probably means that iOS 18 should get this expanded software support for third-party replacement parts. The next major update is expected to enter public beta testing sometime next month, followed by a full release in the fall.

Beyond the iPhone, Apple is also addressing long-standing criticism of its self-service repair program. Crucially, it will make sourcing spare parts much easier. The white paper states that "for most repairs, customers and service providers will no longer be required to enter the device serial number at a self-service repair store in order to purchase a new part."