The iPhone 14 seems, on the surface, to be a boring upgrade over the iPhone 13. Externally, there are practically no changes to be seen. But a lot has happened under the hood.
It’s the biggest change in iPhone design since the iPhone X. It may not seem like it at first glance – because from the outside it looks like previous Apple smartphones. But inside it is iPhone 14 no longer recognizable.
What has changed?
Until now, iPhones have been designed to repair frequently defective components such as the display, battery, camera and charging port. This can be done with relatively little effort remove the display, giving direct access to the other components inside. The disadvantage of this approach is that the rear glass, which is also often damaged by falls, cannot be easily repaired. Replacing the back is therefore one of the most expensive iPhone repairs out there. Depending on the degree of damage, more than 500 euros are due – for example, if the entire back has to be replaced.
With the iPhone 14, Apple solves this problem. The display can still be removed with little effort. However, this no longer gives you access to the inner workings of the iPhone. Instead, the glass back can now also be removed, behind which all other components are located. With this, Apple is practically making a 180-degree turn. Instead of being repaired from the front, like many Android smartphones, the iPhone 14 is now being repaired from the back. Despite this, it retains the relatively easy-to-repair screen on the front. So the iPhone 14 combines the best of both worlds, making repairs easier than ever.
iPhone 14 makes repairs cheaper
The last iPhone that could still be opened from the back is the 4s from 2011. At that time, however, it was not possible to repair the display independently of the back. As is the case with many Android smartphones today, back then you had to fight your way through the entire inner workings of the device to remove the display. The approach in the iPhone 14 is therefore completely new for Apple.
Not only does Apple make repairing the iPhone 14 much easier – it’s also cheaper. The company now offers the exchange of the back for 199 euros. That’s still a lot of money, but cheap compared to the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max. For the 14 Pro, Apple offers the exchange for 599 euros – for the 14 Pro Max for a total of 668.99 euros. That’s for a reason. Because no matter how praiseworthy the repair-friendly design of the iPhone 14 is, unfortunately everything remains the same with the iPhone 14 Pro. Here, the back is not removable and must therefore be completely replaced in the event of repairs.
Apple hides the biggest change in the iPhone 14
Kyle Wiens, iFixit’s repairs expert, emphasizes “how significant this change is. To give a clue Samsung hasn’t changed its smartphone architecture since 2015.” iFixit therefore gives the iPhone 14 a repairability score of 7 out of 10 points – the best score for an iPhone in years. The iPhone 7 from 2016 was last given this rating. According to Wiens, the new design is a big step forward: “These changes to the iPhone will help it last longer and reduce its impact on the planet.”
Given this extensive redesign, it’s surprising that Apple didn’t say a word about it at the September event. Instead of the minor changes compared to the iPhone 13 the company could have emphasized the repairability of the iPhone 14. Instead, it didn’t say a word about it. Apple has kept the conversion of the iPhone 14 so secret that reviewers only found out about it when they opened the smartphone.
A step in the right direction
In recent years, a strong “Right to Repair” movement has emerged, especially in the USA, which is also supported by US President Biden. Apple, in particular, is often targeted by the movement, with its software lockdown on spare parts and limited repair options outside of licensed vendors. For example, Apple had planned a lock for display replacement parts in the iPhone 13. If the camera was replaced with an original spare part, unlocking via Face ID no longer worked. After much criticism from the “Right to Repair” camp, Apple reversed this lock. In mid-2022, Apple also announced the “Self Service Repair” program started. This is the first time that the company is offering a number of spare parts and the necessary tools for doing repairs yourself.
In Europe, too, the EU Commission is driving improvements in repairs. So contains a new bill the requirement for companies to provide spare parts for their smartphones and tablets for five years.
Tag: iphone design, iphone 14, apple iphone, iphone release