Apple iPhone 14: barely improved repairability and always more expensive

The iPhone 14s are a little easier to repair than the iPhone 13s. But changing the parts will cost you more. Apple’s new smartphones once again highlight the issues inherent in repairability.

Apple announced yesterday, Wednesday September 7, its brand new range of iPhones. A16 Bionic chip, 48 Mpx photo sensor, 2000 nits screen… these mobiles are full of new features. But a figure, more discreet, has also evolved with this new range of iPhone: the repairability index.

At the same time that Tim Cook presented its new gadgets on stage, the company also posted online the complete repairability index calculation grids on a dedicated page of the site. Good news, the iPhone 14s are a little easier to repair than their predecessors, but by no means. As a reminder, the repairability index is mandatory information to be provided for all smartphone manufacturers who sell their products in France. It allows you to quickly assess the ease with which you can disassemble and repair your phone.

Half-hearted improvements

The iPhone 14 Pro Max, for example, receives a score of 7/10, where the iPhone 13 Pro Max got 6.7/10. Either way, the ratings are pretty decent, but that doesn’t mean you can happily disassemble your new iPhone whistling a screwdriver in your hand. The iPhone 14s are actually no easier to disassemble than the iPhone 13s, on the contrary. When we delve into the detail of the calculation method, we see many – but small – differences.

On the subnote “dismantling, access, tools, fasteners“, Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro Max earns a small 10.3/20, where the previous generation rose to 10.8. Regarding pure ease of disassembly, the iPhone 14 Pro Max inherits a 5/ 10 and the iPhone 13 Pro Max with a 5.8/10. The note concerning the tools required for disassembly has not changed. On the other hand, the note of “characteristics of the fasteners between the parts of list 1 (whose breakage or breakdowns are the most frequent) and of list 2 (whose good condition is necessary for the operation of the equipment)“, climbs from 7.5 to 8 between the last two iPhone generations. To put it more simply, the iPhone 14 Pro Max is harder to dissect than the 13 Pro Max, but the arrangement of parts makes it a little easier repair. And if you already have tools to disassemble iPhones, you can probably reuse them on this new generation of products.

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Where Apple has actually made progress is in the availability of technical documentation and spare parts. Probably the introduction of Apple’s in-house repair program has given a boost to this aspect, making documentation and spare parts more easily accessible. On the documentation, the iPhone 14 Pro Max displays a nice 15.4/20, and on the parts it inherits a 14.2/20 (against 12.3 and 11.3 respectively on the iPhone 13 Pro Max ). These few extra points allow the phone to display a slightly better overall rating than its predecessor.

Parts still too expensive

Unfortunately, where the real hit is on the price of spare parts. On the criterion “Ratio of parts price to new equipment price“, the iPhone 14 Pro Max has a timid 10/20 where the previous model was at 13/20. Yet this is one of the crucial (and most undervalued) points of the repairability index. If a phone can be repaired, but its parts are exorbitantly expensive, there’s a good chance that no one will take the plunge – the issue was recently raised by iFixit regarding Apple’s MacBook Pros. .

The situation is even worse on the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus, which show a score of 8/20 on the same criterion. The 13 and 13 Mini get at least the average. On the rest, the ratings are substantially similar to those of the iPhone 14 Pro, except that the ease of disassembly is slightly improved on the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus (6.7/10 against 5.8 on the generation former). Overall, the “standard” iPhone 14s score 6.9/10, compared to 6.4 for last year’s models.

The release of these new iPhones further underlines the ambiguity of the French repairability index. While we can only welcome the improved availability of parts and documentation, selling parts even more expensive than before (compared to the price of new equipment), Apple does not encourage especially repair. It’s a shame for a company that makes great promises on ecology. Because, it bears repeating, the greenest iPhone is the one you keep for as long as possible.

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