Critics and reviewers have already panned the base-model iPhone 14, which looks identical to its predecessor and uses the year-old A15 Bionic chipset. But this is one of the biggest iPhone upgrades in recent history—you just need to open the phone to see the difference.
In a new teardown, iFixit demonstrates how the iPhone 14 can open from the front or back. For the first time in years, iPhone owners can replace their device’s back panel without disassembling everything from top to bottom.
This change should also make it easier to access components within the iPhone. And oddly enough, iPhone 14 screen replacements should be less intimidating for consumers, as the front glass now hides just two display connectors and the TrueDepth camera module.
It seems that Apple reversed and rearranged all of the iPhone 14’s internal components to install the removable back glass. While Apple probably spent a fortune getting the job done, it may save a fortune in labor—replacing the back glass on an iPhone is an arduous task that costs hundreds of dollars (up to $600 in some cases). But with the iPhone 14, workers behind the Genius Bar have little to worry about.
Now, iFixit made a disappointing discovery during this teardown. It found that back glass replacements may require verification and calibration through Apple Self-Service Repair software (if you skip this step, certain smartphone features won’t work). This requirement prevents customers from using third-party components, which isn’t always a bad idea, but it also adds a ridiculous hurdle to the repair process.
Overall, the iPhone 14’s removable back glass is a huge upgrade. It’s something that we hope to see in future iPhones, and more notably, it’s the reason iFixit scores the iPhone 14 so highly. Check the above video to see iFixit’s full iPhone 14 teardown and repairability score.