The iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max by Apple boast a new frame design that could potentially facilitate easier repairs for screen replacements or battery swaps, as indicated by a teardown analysis from iFixit, a parts vendor and advocate for gadget repair. However, despite these design improvements, the devices received a low repairability score of 4 out of 10 from iFixit.
The lower repairability rating is primarily attributed to Apple’s use of software that locks specific parts to the devices, making independent repairs significantly more challenging or almost impossible. While the new design makes accessing essential parts like batteries and screens more straightforward, the software-based constraints hinder repairability.
Apple made a notable change in the design by bonding the phone’s main components to an aluminum frame, which is further attached to the titanium casing users touch on the outside. This modification was emphasized by Apple and resulted in a reduced price for swapping a cracked back glass plate compared to the previous Pro models.
However, iFixit’s analysis revealed that several iPhone parts, including the Face ID sensor, Lidar camera, and wireless charging coil, cannot be replaced without using an official Apple configuration tool for authentication. This stringent parts pairing requirement limits genuine replacements to those approved by Apple, significantly affecting independent repair enterprises and contributing to the issue of e-waste.
While Apple has shown some support for the right-to-repair movement, backing a right-to-repair bill in California, and introducing Self Service Repair, challenges persist regarding the genuine accessibility and repairability of iPhone parts for independent repair entities. The movement emphasizes extending the lifespan of gadgets to reduce waste and benefit the environment, aligning with Apple’s focus on environmental sustainability in recent product announcements.