Apple’s iPhone 14 Redesign for Repair



SayMyName 10d
Odd article considering everything is still software locked to the phone. Sure it's easier to repair, but if you get your parts from anywhere else than apple's program directly, a lot of features will stop working.

Hugh Jeffreys made a video interchanging parts on two brand new iphone's and it disabled a lot of things including auto-brightness.

jitl 10d
Apple started offering home repair kits for iPhone this year, but they’re super difficult to use:

There’s speculation that offering the kits is an attempt to head off right-to-repair legislation. But seeing this redesign, I wonder to what degree the repair program is incentivizing repairability within apple’s corporate structure. Now that “profit/loss per self service repair” is tracked in a spreadsheet - does repairability matter more?

Anyways - it’s great to see some improvement here, for whatever motivation.

incanus77 10d
> Forget satellite SOS and the larger camera, the headline is this: Apple has completely redesigned the internals of the iPhone 14 to make it easier to repair.

HN: <crickets>

gcau 10d
Only the base model, and it's gone from bad to less bad? I can forgive that designing a phone to be easily repairable can be very hard, just as long as you don't purposely make it harder to repair, or unnecessarily expensive.
mmazing 10d

Uh, look at that wonky Qualcomm SDR735 chip.

Actually looking at it a bit closer it seems like the board was destroyed during disassembly?

everyone 10d
This has gotta be cus of pressure from EU? Like if they didnt make them more repairable it might be illegal to sell them here soon.
webmobdev 10d
It's good to see Apple behaving and recognising the momentum the Rights to Repair movement has got globally in the last few years (especially in the large market of EU, and now picking up in Asia). But I think iFixit has been too generous in giving the iPhone 14 a repairability score of 7 out of 10 when Apple still places additional unwanted hurdles and control through software:

> We are hearing reports that Apple is continuing their hostile path of pairing parts to the phone, requiring activation of the back glass after installation. You really shouldn’t need Apple’s permission to install a sheet of glass on a phone that you already own. Using software to prevent the use of aftermarket parts gets a big thumbs down from us. These locks are frustrating and ultimately futile—Apple simply can’t control all the repairs that happen with their products, no matter how hard they try.

anonymouse008 10d
Accuse me of being a fanboy - but this is amazing. Apple Care + is going to become an insane profit center and an absolute no brainer when purchasing a new Apple device.

This puts Apple’s recent “no limit to accidental repairs” policy update in perspective. When I saw that I said, “well I guess this is how they are going to use their cash reserves, because no way will this be net profitable”

To boot, I always wondered why it was so cheap - $200 for AC+ then $29 per screen or back replacement. When considering the employee time and equipment, that’s absolutely a loss.

As someone that just wants good things in the world, this makes my heart flutter. It’s wonderfully aligned with customers and does good for the bottom line.

Sorry to all my fellow repair brethren still slogging it out there.

kiririn 10d
This brings back memories of the Xperia Z1 Compact (+ several later generations) that used this same design of gluing the screen and back glass independently to a mid frame.

Unfortunately they are not good memories. The slightest, barely visible bend or sub-par repair and the back glass would peel up in one corner and coat the underside of the camera in dust and condensation

I’m not sure I would risk buying a phone with this design again. Apple will have to have worked some serious magic to make it strong and robust

oneplane 10d
This has got to be one extremely expensive toolchain and supply chain redesign to do, but since they have done it a few times before (instead of incremental changes) I suppose the money department has worked out when it is feasible to do that kind of thing while keeping the people in charge happy.

I'm curious to see if this is a 'test' to see if this doesn't have too many downsides, I imagine ingress area increasing this much might be a point of worry (well, there are flexible seals for that now), and instead of having a one-way stack you now have a two-way stack so tooling and workstations around that (even if we just think in terms of assembly and rework) are going to be a PITA to convert or completely replace.

Either this will be a success and allow for the architectural change to be applied to other products, or it's a medium-success in which this only works for specific parts/antenna/power envelope configurations and we won't see this design in other form factors.

What does itch a little is iFixit whining about the parts needing be a signed set to work together. Nobody has come up with a better integrity protection method, and no-protection isn't an option either for the ecosystem. Besides, instead of having a 'safe' and 'unsafe' option for which practically no user will ever be able to make an informed decision, you can simply choose not to buy it if this is a feature you seriously despise.

crisdux 10d
Totally speculating here. I wonder if this is preparing for a future where Apple encounters supply issues or pricing pressure caused by environmental and political turmoil. I could see the average lifespan of devices continuing to increase and more people using repair services. It also makes it easier to refurb devices for second hand use.
I’m not sure I care much about repairability. For me, makers should have the freedom to design products as they wish. I don’t think that phones and laptops would be as light and portable as iPhones and Macs are if Apple was inhibited by the Right to Repair movement from arranging internal components in such a jampacked way.

I also think that makers should have the freedom to design computers whose software tightly integrate with the hardware. Repairing a broken part with a third-party is exactly the opposite of tight integration. If people didn’t want tight integration, then products that are built specifically for tight integration are just not the right tool for the job that they want to do, and I don’t understand why they can’t simply choose not to buy the product. It’s not like the phone and computer markets are monopolies either. Androids and PCs of all form factors and OSes exist.

It would make more sense to me to call for regulation against pricing abuse for the repairs of tightly integrated products. The Right to Repair movement as it stands just doesn’t resonate much with me, nor do I agree with it, because integrated products that come with everything you need make for great user experiences.

postalrat 10d
Now just put a usb-c port on the phone and allow me to use any web browser.
pigtailgirl 10d
-- guessing - three things - 1) better margins on repair kits than hiring folks to replace screens all day - 2) difficult to assess if a screen/part is apple genuine or not at the store when dealing with trade-in/warranty returns - 3) apple genuinely cares about their environmental impact --
thathndude 10d
Really happy to see this write up. I’m probably in the tank, but I genuinely believe that Apple strives to do right by its customers, and to be a good company. it’s not a nonprofit, and I don’t expect them to act like one.

Sometimes I feel like people enjoy piling on because they are the big dog.

Again, please don’t mistake this comment for a blindness to some of its operations. But it’s nice to see them get credit for the good stuff.

hot_gril 10d
> Forget satellite SOS and the larger camera, the headline is this: Apple has completely redesigned the internals of the iPhone 14 to make it easier to repair.

This made me chuckle. I'm willing to bet that the overwhelming majority of users care far more about the camera than the repairability. The latter is hardly even something they consider. It might help them in unseen ways, like improving resale value.

lawgimenez 10d
> It’s an upgrade so seamless that the best tech reviewers in the world didn’t notice.

I think it’s bad taste on how he keeps on knocking tech reviewers. Of course they won’t notice because they don’t open phones for a living.

georgehm 10d
Does the iPhone 14 still have the battery glued to the back? Couldn't figure it out from reading the article. I recently replaced the battery on my old iPhone 6s using the ifixit repair kit. Of all the steps I found removing the tape attached to the battery was the flakiest/hardest operation. After many attempts I did remove it but I also ended up cracking the battery a bit :sigh:. Any changes that make the removal of the battery easier would be a great win for repairability.
outworlder 10d
> Why isn’t Tim Cook bragging about repairability?

This is Apple, they totally would have. If the flagship was also similarly repairable.

As it is, this is making the 14 more appealing to me than the 14 Pro.

_V_ 10d
I dunno, this article reads... strange.

I mean yeah, it is nice to be able to open it from front and rear. But what good does it make when they pair every single component to the motherboard? Yeah, technically parts are more accessible (physically) but thats only the beginning of the repair process. And unless you can buy genuine parts without hassle and put them in, you are still SOL.

To me it is like cheering that murderer did not also litter I mean I guess it is kinda nice of him, but...

mrtksn 10d
> Forget satellite SOS and the larger camera, the headline is this: Apple has completely redesigned the internals of the iPhone 14 to make it easier to repair.

I find this line hilarious because it's an example of law of the instrument[0]. iFixit and other activist repair shops treat these devices as if their(the iPhones) purpose is getting a repair and all this talk over they years about iPhone repairability was from that standpoint.

I'm happy that Apple is making the new iPhones easier to repair but I never in my life purchased a brand new device with intention or plan to repair it. Why would anyone try to sell me a device by talking about how easy it is to repair it? What I expect is that it would never need a repair and if it needs a repair the vendor will handle it. Also, iPhones were always the easiest phones to repair because specialists who repair iPhones could be found on every corner. Every repair shop repairs iPhones, so repairing an iPhone was never a real issue but something that repair nerds like to speculate on. It's almost as if the happiest they could have been if Apple shipped the iPhones broken but easy to repair using some cheap generic part.

I had my iPhones replaced, repaired or self services by buying the parts online through the years. It's no accident that iPhones always were best at retaining second hand value.


greyhair 10d
From the text of the article:

"Every Android phone opens from the back."

I have replaced screens an a couple different models of Motorola phones, and the screens popped off the front. Just looking at my Pixel 5a, the screen clearly pops off the front.

This wouldn't bother me as much, except it is on the ifixit web site, which posts videos on screens repairs, that clearly show any number of Android phones being opened from the front.

Disappointing mistake, coming from ifixit.

ahaucnx 10d
On our product (air quality monitor[1]) we made the concious decision to design it for long life and repairability by e.g.:

- using no glue or snaps

- all components on one PCB, no thin cables that can break

- standard philips/torx screws

- four screws to open the enclosure, four screws to take out the pcb

- expensive sensor modules on pin sockets for easy reaplacement

- only using components that are certified for longe lifetime -even if they cost a few dollars more (e.g. DC to DC converter)

- not using plastic for packaging and we ask our supplier to not use plastic when sending us the parts (e.g. no bag around the USB cable etc)

We wrote about this [2] and often do presentations for customers and have a slide about this and it gets a great response and I believe gives us an advantage compared to competing products on the market. As the market more and more appreciates this, Apple probably also realized that this can be a competitive advantage and give them positive press.

[1] [2]

bogwog 10d
> We are hearing reports that Apple is continuing their hostile path of pairing parts to the phone, requiring activation of the back glass after installation.

Hopefully that's not the case. Why go through the effort of a redesign like this if you're just going to continue handicapping repairs that way? Clearly it wasn't a marketing gimmick since they haven't mentioned it at all.

Reading through this article made me really start to consider buying a new iPhone. I've had my mind set on switching to Android for the past year, but a pro-repair pro-planet move like this needs to be rewarded in the marketplace, and I'll be telling everyone I know to get a 14.

...that is, unless they're still locking parts down with serial number checks.

dmitrygr 10d
> We are hearing reports that Apple is continuing their hostile path of pairing parts to the phone, requiring activation of the back glass after installation.

On the other hand, this makes stealing an iPhone more and more pointless, as more and more parts cannot be parted out and sold. After activation lock was added, thieves started parting out screens and batteries to sell them and get at least some value out of an otherwise useless stolen iPhone. Want to see how useless an activation locked iPhone is? Check eBay. I assume that for iP14+ it'll be even less. I welcome this move.

(all opinions my own)

ChuckNorris89 10d
>Apple has completely redesigned the internals of the iPhone 14 to make it easier to repair HN: <crickets>

Easier for who? Quote from the video:

"We're hearing reports of Apple continuing on the hostile path of pairing parts to the phone, requiring activation of the back glass after installation. Why in the world would you need permission to install a sheet of glass?! Using software to prevent the replacement of components with aftermarket parts gets a big thumbs-dwon from us."

Let's call it like it is. Apple is not doing you a favor for easier repairability, they're doing their bottom line a favor. If they actually cared, they wouldn't be so hostile to software lock you out of replacing a bloody glass panel.

The internal design is still greatly thought out though. I've been asking myself for years: why can't phone makers make phones with a mid frame that allow both sides to be easily swapped out, instead of one or another. Seems like Apple has cracked it. I hope other phone makers copy this minus the SW locks.

fennecfoxy 7d
Ahaha. Apple only changes stuff when they can jump on a bandwagon to make money.

First privacy/security, which they didn't give a crap about until they realised it was marketable.

Now right to repair, which they also didn't give a crap about and often went out of their way to prevent. Suddenly public awareness has increased and it's not become a marketable feature. So not surprising that Apple has jumped on it.