The iPhone 14 has been given a major redesign, making it seemingly the most repairable iPhone ever.
According to a new teardown by iFixit, the internal architecture of the iPhone 14 has been upgraded to fundamentally change the inside of the phone.
“Apple completely redesigned the inside of the iPhone 14 to make it easier to repair,” said iFixit writer Kyle Wiens. “From the outside it’s not visible at all, but this is a big problem. It’s the most significant design change to the iPhone in a long time.”
Can you spot the lonely hole in the logic board? Thanks to @CreativeElctrn, you can! RIP SIM reader 😢
Check out the iPhone 14 Pro Max Teardown: https://t.co/X6S6dtbemF pic.twitter.com/EY9RcQPEDY
— iFixit (@iFixit) September 21, 2022
The iPhone 14 was released just 4 days ago on September 16, 2022, and the new features and external changes are so minor that many compare it directly to the iPhone 13. Under the case, however, is a different story.
The iPhone 14 now opens from the front and rear with a streamlined center frame, accessible display and removable rear glass. It’s this new midframe that required a complete redesign of the old iPhone architecture.
“Apple did not mention the secret redesign in their keynote,” Wiens said. “If reviewers had disassembled the phone, they would have discovered this… It’s an upgrade so seamless that the best tech reviewers in the world haven’t noticed.”
Over the years, Apple has jumped back and forth between the front and rear openings, with pros and cons inherent in each. Easy front access makes replacing the screen much easier, but it’s much harder to replace a battery or other internal part. Rear access is the opposite – easier access to internal components at the cost of a more cumbersome screen replacement.
The new midframe seems to be the solution. The iPhone 14’s back glass is secured with just 2 screws and a single connector, and using a much less aggressive adhesive makes taking the phone apart much easier. The best part? The same two screws also remove the screen, so all you need to do is unscrew 2 screws to access both the front and back.
iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus
In addition, new electromagnetic interference contacts connect to spaced contacts across the back panel, continuing the grounding previously done with welding. The iPhone 14 also adds an improved camera, satellite SOS and other improvements. Unfortunately, there is still the old “system configuration” hurdle.
Apple has long tried to control iPhone repair by using software to limit the use of aftermarket parts. However, Apple recently opened up the Self Service Repair Store, making repairs a little more accessible.
However, the iPhone 14’s rear window needs to be activated after installation. It’s a hurdle that makes repairing your iPhone 14 a bit more difficult – a real shame it’s still an issue given the significant strides forward with the phone’s architecture.
Still, the iPhone 14 is now the most repairable iPhone of all time… even if there is still progress to be made. However, a note: the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max models still use the old architecture.
Want to read more about the iPhone 14? Check out our comparison of the latest iPhone 14 models and find out about the iPhone 14’s lack of a SIM card tray.
Ryan Leston is an entertainment journalist and film critic for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.