Apple's new iOS update may cause third-party screens to malfunction, no confirmed local cases so far

iPhone 8 users who fixed their screens at third-party repair stores may find that their touchscreens have stopped working after installing the iOS 11.3 software update released on March 29.
iPhone 8 users who fixed their screens at third-party repair stores may find that their touchscreens have stopped working after installing the iOS 11.3 software update released on March 29.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Apple's new iOS update may hold nasty surprises for iPhone 8 users who fixed their screens at third-party repair stores.

Their touchscreens may stop working after installing the iOS 11.3 software update released on March 29.

The problem, first reported on tech publication Motherboard on April 10, can cause touchscreens to continue rendering the home page, but lose touch compatibility, in effect causing the phones to become unusable.

But a check with some third party repair shops here and popular online forums such as VRzone and Hardwarezone showed that this issue has not surfaced as a problem among local users for now.

"We have not encountered any cases so far," said Mr Glenn Chua, owner of GWmobile.

The iOS 11.3 update is an attempt by Apple to introduce new features such as information on battery health, and allowing users to turn off a feature that slows down phone functions.

Apple has not responded to requests for comment.

Previous iOS updates had caused some problems here.

Mr Roy Tan, owner of Atomware Singapore, said: "Last year, there were quite a bit (of cases) involving iPhone 6/6S/7 users who faced malfunctioning screens after a new software update."

After Apple released a follow-up software update last October, the issue was resolved.

Mr Tan said such problems can be avoided completely by replacing the phone screen with good quality LCD screens rather than subpar ones, according to Mr Tan.

"A cheap LCD replacement may cost $50 to $90, whereas a good replacement with original parts may cost from $140 to $190," he noted.

But iPhone users are unlikely to turn away from third-party repair shops.

A 26-year-old iPhone 8 user who gave her name as Meg said while she has not faced any issues with her phone, third party repair shops are attractive price wise when repairs are not covered by a warranty.

While screen repairs with an Apple approved retailer cost $42 under warranty, repair costs without a warranty can cost between $198 and $248 (excluding the iPhone X).

Mr Tan said if Apple chooses to block touchscreens replaced by third parties, business will see a huge impact. But he is not overly concerned.

"There will always be problems Apple will not fix... and the warranty does not cover (certain problems), such as water damage. There is still a market for other kinds of repairs."