Apple iPhone 14: barely improved repairability and always more expensive

The iPhone 14s is slightly easier to repair than the iPhone 13s. But changing the parts will cost you more. Apple’s new smartphones once again highlight the problems associated with repair.

Apple announced yesterday, Wednesday, September 7, its brand new line 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 developed with this new series of iPhone: the repair index.

At the same time as Tim Cook presented his new gadgets on stage, the company also posted the complete repair index calculation tables online on a dedicated page on the website. Good news, iPhone 14s are slightly easier to repair than their predecessors, but not by any means. As a reminder, the repair index is mandatory information to be provided for all smartphone manufacturers selling their products in France. It allows you to quickly assess how easily you can take your phone apart and repair it.

Half-hearted improvements

The iPhone 14 Pro Max, for example, gets 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 take apart your new iPhone with a screwdriver in hand. The iPhone 14s is actually no easier to disassemble than the iPhone 13s, on the contrary. When we delve into the details of the calculation method, we see many – but small – differences.

On the footnote “disassembly, access, tools, fasteners“, Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro Max earns a small 10.3/20, where the previous generation rose to 10.8. In terms of sheer ease of separation, the iPhone 14 Pro Max inherits a 5/10 and the iPhone 13 Pro Max a 5.8 /10. The note regarding the tool required for disassembly has not changed. On the other hand, the note of “characteristics of the fasteners between the parts in list 1 (where breakage or breakdown is the most frequent) and in list 2 (where good condition is necessary for the equipment to function);“, climbing 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 bit easier to repair. And if you already have tools to disassemble iPhones, you can safely 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 internal repair program has boosted this aspect, making documentation and spare parts more readily available. On the documentation, the iPhone 14 Pro Max shows a nice 15.4/20, and on the parts it inherits 14.2/20 (against 12.3 and 11.3 respectively on the iPhone 13 Pro Max). These few extra points allow the phone to show a slightly better overall rating than its predecessor.

Parts still too expensive

Unfortunately, where the real hit is on the cost of spare parts. On the criterion “The ratio between the price of parts and the price of new equipment“, the iPhone 14 Pro Max has a timid 10/20, where the previous model was 13/20. Still, this is one of the crucial (and most underrated) points in the repairability index. If a phone is repairable, but its parts are exorbitant expensive, there’s a good chance no one will take the plunge – the question 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. 13 and 13 Mini get at least average. Otherwise, the ratings are essentially the same as the iPhone 14 Pro’s, except that ease of disassembly is slightly improved on the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus (6.7/10 versus 5.8 on the previous generation). Overall, the “standard” iPhone 14s scores 6.9/10, compared to 6.4 for last year’s models.

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

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