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Report: Latest iOS 11 update is bricking iPhone 8s with third-party displays

iPhone 8

If your iPhone is acting up, or if you happen to have a cracked screen, you can never go wrong taking the device into a nearby Apple retail store. The only downside, though, is that having Apple repair a device can sometimes be significantly more expensive than going through a third-party. As a result, and in light of the fact that iPhone displays are far from bulletproof, there are any number of third-party outlets who can replace a cracked or wonky iPhone display at a reasonable rate.

More often that not, you won’t be able to find much of a difference between the work Apple does and the work you’ll receive from a reputable repair shop. That said, a new report from Vice relays that the recent iOS 11.3 update Apple rolled out late last month appears to be bricking iPhone 8 units with screens provided by third-party repair shops.

Specifically, impacted iPhones can be turned on, but the display itself is absolutely non-responsive to touch, essentially rendering the device completely useless.

Apple released iOS 11.3 at the end of March, and the update is killing touch functionality in iPhone 8s repaired with some aftermarket screens that worked prior to the update. That means people who broke their phone and had the audacity to get it repaired by anyone other than Apple is having a hard time using their phone.

Now if this type of story seems vaguely familiar, you might recall that a similar story emerged last year when it was discovered that Apple took steps to prevent users from using independent repair shops to fix faulty home buttons on the iPhone 7. And one year before that, some device owners who had their home button serviced by a third-party had their devices bricked when they upgraded to iOS 9.

At this point, there’s no indication that what’s going on with iOS 11.3 is purposeful. In the meantime, we’ll have to wait and see if Apple will address the issue soon or perhaps roll out a minor software fix. Going forward, the harsh reality is that it’s better to spend a few more bucks getting a device repaired at Apple than going to a third-party, even though the latter is typically far more affordable.

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 15 years. A life long Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW. When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.