Apple is one of the most powerful brands in the world. It’s a company that creates some of the best everyday-use technology pieces. As a strong example – the Apple iPhone is one of the most popular types of smartphones out there on the market. However, being arguably the world’s strongest brand in the field of smartphones does come at a price. And we’re talking about “price” in both the metaphorical and literal sense – Apple’s products, and especially their latest offerings, tend to be on the expensive end.
And that’s not the worst of it. Apple seems to be on the move to monopolize not only its production on the iPhone devices but also their repairs. Even though there is some progress in this area in that Apple enabled the outsourcing of repairs of its devices to third parties – there is still a lot to be done in this area. And one of the reasons why we feel that this is the case is the iPhone 12 Camera.
iPhone 12 Camera Repair Issues
Don’t get us wrong, the iPhone 12 Camera is very powerful. Depending on the particular model that you will choose, the camera will either feature a triple-lens setup and a LiDAR scanner alongside other cutting-edge pieces of technology – or you will get a slightly less powerful dual-lens setup, which is still not to be underestimated. There have been significant improvements in the camera’s ability to take photos in conditions with dim light – as well as improvements in how the camera captures the details of the shot.
However, there’s ample anecdotal evidence that the iPhone 12 Camera is not to be swapped. As first reported by random YouTuber Hugh Jeffreys, if you swap camera modules between different models of iPhone, then the camera will become, in many cases, unusable. The phone will reject the new camera. Problems may also arise with the ultra-wide camera, as reported.
This does not seem like a general problem with the iPhone 12 hardware, as Apple has indeed made things a little bit easier with the latest model when it comes to swapping and replacing parts. But the fact that the camera dies if you try to replace it does seem a little suspicious given Apple’s previous history of making life difficult for third-party repair shops. However, it’s noteworthy to mention that the other iPhone models – including the iPhone 12 Pro model – have no problems whatsoever with getting their cameras swapped. So, in the end, it may very well be a one-time glitch or quirk that besets the iPhone 12 model. Though we have to say that we wouldn’t bet on this – given Apple’s previous practice of endowing their iPhone 7 and 8 models with cameras made by three different providers – and the camera models not being completely interchangeable.
Replacing the iPhone 12 Camera – A No-Go Zone
There are strong opinions that Apple is out to monopolize the phone-repair process when it comes to their iPhones. There’s anecdotal evidence that points to an alleged Apple internal training guide that got leaked – where it’s ostensibly stated that to repair or replace an Apple iPhone camera, you would have to use the Apple System Configuration app, which is an inside-use Apple piece of software. This suggests that Apple does indeed want to maintain a stricter degree of control over the repair and replacement of the various parts that the iPhone is made of. As an additional proof in this regard, we can take the fact that the internal Apple System Configuration app was only to be used to replace the iPhone battery in the past – and now it’s purported that it’s to be used with camera repairs and replacements, as well.
Apple has been known to bar any third party repair solutions when it comes to their Face ID and Touch ID sensors. Ostensibly, the reason why Apple chose this way according to official spokespeople is that there were immediate security concerns regarding these important technologies that may entail privacy invasion. And even though this may indeed be the case and Apple strives to protect the identity of the iPhone users – this is still a very difficult case to make when it comes to the camera and the battery, for example. It’s hard to suppose that the third-party replacement of the iPhone camera and battery will entail any breach of privacy or that Apple has to implement security measures by banning third-party repairs.
But there is a case to be made that this is a one-time glitch, as well. Apple has a somewhat bad history with its devices’ replacement parts. The fact remains that the swapping iPhone camera problem arises solely for the iPhone 12 model. The iPhone 12 Pro model, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to be affected by this. Isolated incidents like this one seem to suggest that it wasn’t on a deliberate design that the camera is not to be replaced by third parties. But again, the existence of ominous warning screens warning against third-party repairs that have been made for various iPhone models in the past by Apple – suggest that the exact opposite is true – that Apple does its best to prevent third party replacement solutions.
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So, where does this leave the customer? We would argue that it puts them in an unenviable position. And this especially when you consider the fact that other top-tier smartphone developers, like Samsung, for example, don’t make a big thing out of letting third parties do “unauthorized” repairs and part replacements of even their newest Samsung Galaxy models.
Apple has obviously determined that it’s the world’s strongest and most powerful smartphone brand (which is not that easy to argue against) and that it’s in the company’s best interest to monopolize the iPhone repair and part replacement process. We believe that the end-user, the customer, is worse-off because of this.
There is slim hope (if one could call it that) that the fact that the iPhone 12 camera can’t be replaced – is a rare hardware bug, and not a “feature” deliberately implemented. Either way, this doesn’t go in Apple’s favor as, at best, it shows a lack of quality control and testing of their final products, and, at worst, it shows that Apple is greedy when it comes to keeping all the rights to repair and replace the iPhone 12 parts.
Right to Repair your iPhone 12
And again, this article may seem like it does its best to tarnish Apple’s reputation as a premium smartphone developer by zoning in on one particular detail that doesn’t go in Apple’s favor. But this is not the case. We still have a lot of healthy respect for the overall quality that Apple imbues all its products with. And even despite the high price for the latest iPhone models and despite the inability to do third-party replacements and repairs of iPhone parts – we’d go so far as to say that buying an Apple product, regardless if it’s an iPhone or otherwise, is a very sound decision. The iPhone is a technological powerhouse and it introduces many new features and upgrades as compared to the previous versions of the smartphone. One can only hope that Apple will do its best to “open up”, so to speak, and let third-party repair shops do repairs and replacements of official Apple products such as the iPhone 12.
Here at Screen Fixed we’re big believers that Australian consumers should be allowed the freedom to have their tech repaired wherever they choose and, by whom they see fit.