It seems that Apple finally gained a bit of sense. The new iPhone 14 has a removable back glass panel, which should drastically improve repairability. It could also open the door to iPhone 14 customization, assuming that users are confident enough to replace their phone’s glass back.
We haven’t seen an iPhone with a removable back panel in over a decade. The last model with this “feature” was the iPhone 4s, which launched in 2011. All subsequent iPhones require full disassembly just to replace the back glass. (And to clarify, you can still open the iPhone 14 from the front. The display panel opens as usual.)
The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus need to be disassembled from the back cover. No need to dismantle the screen. Be careful not to break it. pic.twitter.com/DSRw2H8PV3
— DuanRui (@duanrui1205) September 15, 2022
That said, the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max may not have this easily-removable backside. Early reports only show the standard iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus with the removable glass. (Though TechCrunch reports that you can replace the iPhone 14 Pro’s display without removing its TrueDepth camera array.)
It’s safe to assume that this removable back glass is a cost-saving measure. Broken back glass is a relatively common problem for iPhone owners, who usually visit an Apple Store for repairs. The new back glass takes less time to replace, so it should reduce labor costs for Apple.
This change also coincides with Apple’s new repair policy. The company now offers unlimited discounted repairs for AppleCare+ customers, which is a pretty competitive deal when compared with most carrier insurance plans.