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Apple’s hidden redesign makes the iPhone 14 much easier to fix

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iFixit calls the iPhone 14 ‘the most repairable iPhone in years’

a:hover]:text-black [&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-63 [&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-black text-gray-63″>Image: iFixit

A new iPhone 14 teardown video from iFixit shows a major repairability improvement: removable back glass. The video demonstrates how you can lift the rear glass panel with ease, using only a heating mat, a suction handle, and an opening pick — a huge deviation from the past few generations of iPhones that weren’t so repair-friendly.

iFixit describes the process in more detail in a post on its site, noting that the back glass is “simply secured with two screws and a single connector.” Apple appears to have used an adhesive that isn’t so strong, making it a lot easier to take off the back panel without any expensive tools. iFixit also points out that removing those same screws will give you access to the screen in case you need to repair that as well.

Apple first introduced the glass backing with the iPhone 8, and replacing that panel isn’t an easy or inexpensive job. At the time, the cost to have Apple repair the glass backing was $349 for the iPhone 8 and $399 for the iPhone 8 Plus, a dramatic jump from the respective $29 and $99 prices for a screen replacement with an AppleCare Plus plan.

Last year, Apple lowered the price to repair the glass backing on the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 to $29 instead of $99, but only if you have AppleCare Plus. Without it, iFixit notes that the repair job could cost up to $599. Even if you wanted to replace the back glass yourself, Apple made it near impossible for the average person — it requires you to either use a laser or carefully break and remove every piece of glass from the panel.

Apple has been quiet about this repairability update to the iPhone 14, which is odd considering the strides it’s been making when it comes to repairs. The company launched its self-repair service earlier this year, supplying users with the parts they need to fix the iPhone 12 and 13 as well as M1 MacBooks. It’s not clear when Apple plans on expanding its self-repair program to include the iPhone 14, but it should make repairing the back glass a lot less expensive if Apple gives users the option to do so. Apple took a small step back on iPhone 14 battery repairs, though — it’s $30 more expensive than previous generations despite it having relatively similar specs to the battery it uses in the iPhone 13.

“Apple, a company that designs products that are as walled off and impenetrable as possible, has gone out of its way to make this phone easier to repair,” iFixit says. It granted the iPhone 14 a repairability score of seven out of 10, the highest repairability score an iPhone has received since the iPhone 7.

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