Apple first introduced the glass backing with the iPhone 8; replacing that panel isn’t easy or inexpensive.
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.
A new iPhone 14 teardown video from iFixit shows a significant repairability improvement: removable back glass. In addition, 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 considerable deviation from the past few generations of iPhones that weren’t so repair-friendly.
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.
In some parts of European nations, a part of the European Union (EU), local regulations provide customers a minimum of two years warranty on hardware imperfections that existed at the time of purchase, which overlaps the advantages of AppleCare.
It effectively suggests that, in certain countries in the EU, an AppleCare Protection Plan still spreads phone/Internet backing from 90 days on all devices.
In most nations, the onus under EU law is on the merchant to establish that a hardware defect did not exist for the first six months after purchase. After six months, this is reversed, meaning that the customer may require to establish that a hardware flaw did exist when they obtained the product. Unlike the statutory guarantee, AppleCare also conceals defects that appear after buying if the device is handled perfectly.
AppleCare also incorporates an express replacement service for iPad and iPhones. In addition, AppleCare+ insures against accidental damage, unlike the statutory warranty. However, for Mac computers with or without any additional included covered Mac accessories, this still boosts cover to a third from the statutory two years.
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.” In addition, Apple appears to have used an adhesive that isn’t so strong, making it much 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 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 and M1 MacBooks.
It’s unclear when Apple plans to expand 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 its 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, keeps going out of its route to make this phone easier to repair,” iFixit says.
As a result, it bestowed the iPhone 14 with a repairability score of seven out of 10, the highest repairability score an iPhone has obtained since the iPhone 7.