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Face ID broke on my iPhone — but Apple could make it easier to fix very soon

iPhone 13 front camera close up
(Image credit: Future)

Apple could soon make it much more convenient to fix my iPhone. According to an internal company memo (via MacRumors (opens in new tab),) Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers will be able to repair Face ID and other damaged parts of the TrueDepth Camera system without replacing the entire phone. 

Face ID stopped working on my iPhone 13 Pro Max about a month ago. At first I thought maybe I’d gained some weight in my face, or I had completed the initial Face ID set up process at a weird angle. Since the start of mask-wearing days, I got used to entering my passcode manually after Face ID didn’t register anyway.

But eventually the lines between laziness and convenience crossed, plus now iOS 15.4 lets you use Face ID with a mask. I decided to re-enter Face ID biometrics when I had a few minutes this weekend. Except after I deleted my existing Face ID readings and tried to set up as I did when I first got my iPhone in November, it wouldn’t initiate a scan.

Face ID set up broken on iPhone

(Image credit: Future)

Even in ideal lighting and sitting up tall to avoid any double-chin action, my phone failed to prompt the circular head motions that capture all the angles of my face. I promise, my face was positioned in the frame. Not only did I look blurry, but the set up page kept telling me to move my phone lower or higher. I followed the directions to no avail. My arms got tired of holding my phone up after a while, so I gave up.

A quick Google search let me know that the issue probably stemmed from my TrueDepth Camera system, which probably got knocked around one of the many, many times I’ve dropped my iPhone. The best iPhone 13 Pro Max cases might protect against cracked glass, but after a few careless falls I’d probably be working a little wonky too.

I also learned fixing the TrueDepth system would likely require replacing my entire phone. I would be covered by Apple Care+ as part of the Apple Upgrade Program, but setting up a new iPhone seemed like more trouble than I was up for right now, even if I know how to set up an iPhone 13 using Quick Start. Entering my passcode would have to suffice.

So what peculiar timing that Apple might be rolling out TrueDepth Camera parts to Apple Stores and Authorized Service Providers for the iPhone XS and newer. If this is the case, I’ll be able to leave my iPhone at the Apple Store for a few hours rather than wipe it out and set up a new one. MacRumors didn’t provide a time frame of when the repairs could become available, but I’m sure I can manage until then.

Kate Kozuch is an editor at Tom’s Guide covering smartwatches, TVs and everything smart-home related. Kate also appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account (opens in new tab), which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her on an exercise bike, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.