With the iPhone 14, Apple has completely revised the design of its smartphone which is much easier to open without breaking everything… but that does not mean that it makes repairs easier: the manufacturer continues to put serious obstacles in the way of all those who want to repair their devices themselves.
Big rantiFixit Today. Specialists in the disassembly of electronic devices, and major promoters of the right to repair, gave the iPhone 14 a “repairability” rating of 7 out of 10 last year. A good rating obtained thanks to the new internal design of the smartphone which provides relatively easy access to the internal components.
Serialization that locks repairs
This architecture is used again by the iPhone 15 and 15 Pro (the 14 Pro remained with the previous, more complex architecture). At first glance, this is rather good news and a net gain for the right to repair. But there : iFixit decided to lower the rating to only 4 out of 10! In question, a detestable practice by Apple which requires components to correspond to the serial numbers of the device, a software lock called serialization.
“ Most major repairs on modern iPhones require approval from Apple “, deplores Kyle Wiens, the owner of the store, who sums up the repairer’s obstacle course: ” You must purchase spare parts from Apple, then have the repairs validated via a chat system “.
Once the spare part is installed, an authentication system is essential to pair the component with iOS so that it functions normally. A process that requires notifying Apple of the operation – to obtain the desired part, you must in fact give the serial number of the iPhone. Without all of this, features will be missing, and the repaired iPhone will show alerts.
Serialization also prevents the use of components recovered from old devices, or purchased on the unofficial spare parts market. The situation has become so complicated for independent repairers that several of them have decided to drop the matter rather than have to attack the citadel erected by Apple.
If the manufacturer does indeed facilitate the opening of the iPhone and the supply of components and repair guides, in fact serialization represents an obstacle that is almost impossible to circumvent. Apple is also the target of an investigation in France on this problem.
Read How Apple locks its iPhones to prevent you from repairing them yourself
To have a defective iPhone repaired, you must therefore continue to go through the Apple Stores, the network of approved repairers, or for the most courageous, through the self-service repair store, opening in France in December 2022. But in all In all cases, it will be mandatory to provide the serial number of the device. All at “Apple prices”.
“ The problem lies in the intrusive level of control Apple has over this entire process, as well as the fees they charge for the privilege of repairing your own devices. Apple likes to control the user experience to make it flawless — and we understand that — but that experience should never come at the cost of our property rights or the planet. Already have a genuine screen or battery on hand? Too bad, you’ll have to buy a new one from Apple if you want it to work normally “. Kyle Wiens.
After years of often aggressive opposition, Apple ended up embracing the right to repair, with its “self-service” store or its unexpected support for a California law on the subject. But this apparent about-face is carried out according to the conditions dictated by the manufacturer. And in the end, it doesn’t change much!