People look at the new iPhone 14 from Apple Inc as its models go on sale in Beijing, China, on September 16, 2022.
Thomas Peter | Reuters
The iPhone 14, which went on sale last week, is the most repairable iPhone since the iPhone 7, which came out in 2016, said repair advocate and tool vendor iFixit in a blog post.
Apple has redesigned the iPhone 14’s internal chassis to allow users to remove and replace both the device’s back glass and screen by removing just two screws, according to a disassembly process conducted by iFixit.
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The changes will make it easier for Apple Store employees, independent repair shops, and end users to replace the phone’s screen, back glass, and battery, which are the most common repairs for most smartphones.
“Apple has completely redesigned the interior of the iPhone 14 to make the repair process easier,” wrote Kyle Wiens, founder of iFixit. “It’s not visible at all from the outside, but that’s a big problem.”
High-end iPhone 14 Pro models don’t use the new, more repairable design, according to iFixit.
The repair-friendly design on this year’s iPhone 14 contrasts with other iPhones and many Android devices that use glue and extreme tolerances that make older phones more difficult to repair.
Apple’s iPhone redesign comes as advocates persist for laws that give consumers access to manuals, tools and parts needed to repair increasingly complex electronics and industrial machinery, which they say will make them last longer, reducing electronic waste and environmental impact, while saving users money.
Advocates call the issue “the right to repair,” and many states across the United States have considered legislation that would force consumer electronics companies to publish manuals and sell original parts. New York lawmakers passed a right to reform measure earlier this year. It has not yet been signed into law.
The issue is also receiving attention at the federal level. President Joe Biden supports the right to repair and has asked the Federal Trade Commission to draft right to repair rules by executive order in 2021. The FTC also released a report delivered to Congress in 2021 on the legal landscape around the right to repair, identifying cell phones and car manufacturers are Two industries with limitations around reform.
Apple has taken some steps in recent years towards making it easier to repair its devices. In April, it introduced a program called Self-Service Repair that allows users and independent repair shops to rent the same tools used by Apple Stores in addition to purchasing genuine Apple parts. The company also provided repair manuals for its devices through the program.
However, Apple still insists that visiting an Apple-certified technician is the best way for the vast majority of customers to get their devices repaired.
“This design improvement is a huge win,” Wens wrote. “These changes to the iPhone will help it last longer and reduce its overall impact on the planet.”
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