Despite having earned a reputation in recent years as a company that’s unfriendly to home and third-party repairs, it looks like Apple’s next flagship smartphone will be more repairable than its predecessor.
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman predicted the upcoming change in the latest edition of his Power On newsletter. The article largely focuses on the new handsets’ expected (and already tipped) super-skinny bezels, but also mentions briefly that the 15 Pro’s interior design will be modified to improve repairability. This is an echo of a change that has already been applied to the non-Pro models.
“The inside of the iPhone 15 Pro is redesigned to match the revamped aluminum chassis from the regular iPhone 14,” Gurman writes. “That overhaul makes the phone easier to repair.”
That revamp wasn’t mentioned in Apple’s fall 2022 launch presentation or noticed by most reviewers, but it was described by iFixit as “the most significant design change to the iPhone in a long time.” The single biggest element of this redesign, the repairs site explains, is the simple fact that the iPhone 14 opens from both the front and the back. Some phones open screen first, which means the battery is difficult to access and replace; others open from the rear, which creates headaches for those who want to replace the screen. The iPhone 14 offers the best of both worlds.
And so, apparently, will the iPhone 15 Pro, which opens up the possibility that Apple might want to actually flag the change in its keynote presentation. (It makes sense that the company would play down any advantages of the non-Pro models, since it’s keen to upsell to more expensive models.) Yet the company has an ambivalent relationship with the idea of home and third-party repairs. When obliged by the looming threat of regulation to offer a Self Service Repair program, Apple rolled out something so uncharacteristically clunky and unintuitive that we suspected deliberate self-sabotage. The company would always prefer its customers to get their repairs done in an Apple Store or by a licensed third party, partly because of the revenues this brings in but also because they are less likely to encounter (and publicly complain about) problems with the procedure. (See: Apple repairs: price guide and how long repairs take).
It will be interesting to see, therefore, whether Apple tries to play up the repairability of the iPhone 15 Pro in the fall. But our bet would be on this remaining a secret benefit of the new generation. For all the latest news and rumors, check out our regularly updated iPhone 15 superguide.