Turns out the iPhone 14 isn’t a cookie-cutter copy of its predecessor like everyone thought, but the big changes are all on the inside. A teardown of Apple’s new “basic” handset finds that it’s easier to repair than earlier versions.
iFixit, which did the teardown, calls it “the most significant design change to the iPhone in a long time.”
Surprise! iPhone 14 is way more repairable
Apple is under pressure from the right-to-repair movement and governments around the world to make its handsets easier to repair. The goal is devices that last longer and are less ecologically damaging.
The new iPhone 14 is part of the response. “Apple has gone back to the drawing board and reworked the iPhone’s internals to make repair easier,” said iFixit in its teardown of the new model.
Most previous iPhone models open from the front, which makes swapping out the screen easer. Others opened from the back. The iPhone 14 opens from both the front and the back. That results in “a midframe in the middle, accessible screen on the left, and removable rear glass on the right,” according to iFixit.
Fewer components are glued together, and more are connected with screws. Removing two screws gives access to both the screen and the back glass.
The result of all these changes is what iFixit calls “the most repairable iPhone in years.”
The caveat here is that the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max do not have a similar, easier-to-repair design, just the 6.1-inch “standard” model. Whether the iPhone 14 Plus will use the new internal design is not yet known, as this model won’t be available for a teardown until October 7.
Design changes aren’t Apple’s only response to the right-to-repair movement. It also opened the Self Service Repair Store for Apple Products offering genuine Apple parts and tools for those who want to fix their own handsets.