- iFixit has retroactively dropped the iPhone 14 repairability score.
- The iPhone 14 repair cost is much higher than that of iPhone 15.
- iFixit had previously rated the iPhone 14 repairability 7/10.
In the latest iFixit test, the iPhone 14 has gotten a repairability score of 4/10, down from its earlier rating of 7 and thereby changing its status from “recommended” to “not recommended”. iFixit scores determine how repairable a particular product is, basis how easy it is to disassemble and replace the damaged or non-functioning with components and instructions from the device manufacturers.
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iFixit’s iPhone 14 repairability score (2023): Why a lower rating?
The demotion happened after the iFixit reevaluated the degree of difficulty in major yet common repairs, like cracked backs and screens. This is hardly surprising considering recently reports that the iPhone 15 Pro series has a 2x cheaper repairability cost for the back panel compared to the outgoing 14 series.
iFixit blames Apple’s parts-pairing or serialisation as the reason for this increased difficulty in repairability. Starting with the iPhone 12, Apple started digitally marking internal components with dedicated serial numbers. More precisely, these digital serial numbers are recorded on chips called microcontrollers. These microcontrollers within different parts are linked or paired to the motherboard. The motherboard electronically checks the serial numbers of all parts on a frequent basis.
Now, if you get your phone repaired at the Apple Store, they configure the motherboard to accept the new component’s serial number. But, if you get it repaired from third-party repairers, even if you use an official Apple component, bought from Apple, the motherboard isn’t tuned to know the new serial number. So, the system would display error messages like “Unable to determine if it is a genuine Apple part” and some system functions associated with the changed component would stop working. For example: Battery Health Information within the iOS settings won’t appear.
Additionally, iFixit also reveals that third-party repairers have to send either customers’ personal information to the iPhone maker or agree to five years of audits to be part of Apple’s Independent Repair Provider program.
Apple would argue that parts-pairing is done to protect customers from faulty repairs and fake components, but iFixit reckons it all leads to increased profits for the company. In either case, it’s suggested to purchase an AppleCare+ plan when getting an iPhone since the repair costs come out to be exponentially cheaper if there’s a mishap with your phone.