Detailed disassembly of iPhone 14, secrets Apple did not tell you


Release time:

2022-09-22

According to Apple, the best features of the iPhone 14 are a stronger processor, Satellite SOS and a bigger camera. But in fact, after dismantling, we found that Apple has completely redesigned the internal structure of the iPhone 14 to make it easier to repair. It's not even visible from the outside, but that's important because it's the most significant design change to the iPhone in a long time. However, the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max models still use the old architecture.

Detailed disassembly of iPhone 14, secrets Apple did not tell you

According to Apple, the best features of the iPhone 14 are a stronger processor, Satellite SOS and a bigger camera. But in fact, after dismantling, we found that Apple has completely redesigned the internal structure of the iPhone 14 to make it easier to repair. It's not even visible from the outside, but that's important because it's the most significant design change to the iPhone in a long time. However, the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max models still use the old architecture.

If this surprises you, you're not alone. Surprise us! The new features and external changes of the iPhone 14 are so slight that The Verge suggests that it should be called the iPhone 13S, saying that the iPhone 13, which was launched a year ago, is still sold and is almost identical to the iPhone 14.

But that's actually not the whole truth. Because Apple didn't mention the secret redesign during their keynote. If reviewers take apart the phone, they'll find this: The iPhone 14 opens from the front and the back.

 

 

This is the iPhone 14 reborn as a beautiful butterfly — the middle frame in the middle, the accessible screen on the left, and the removable rear glass on the right.

This is no small matter. The new metal mid-frame that supports this structure required an entire internal redesign, as well as rethinking the RF and effectively doubling its protective perimeter. In other words, Apple has gone back to the drawing board and redesigned the iPhone's internals to make repairs easier. It's an upgrade so seamless that even the world's best tech reviewer doesn't notice.

 

 

 

We've written thousands of smartphone repair guides, so before diving into the nitty-gritty details of 14, let's take a bird's-eye view of smartphone evolution. The iPhone has undergone several major architectural shifts over the years.

The screen of the original mobile phone is turned on first, which makes it easy to change the screen of the iPhone 3G. But in other parts, like the charging port and battery, it's much more difficult.

 

 

To fix this, Apple made the phone turn on first on the iPhone 4. This allows for all sorts of cool aftermarket options, like our transparent rear panel (which I still think sucks), but unfortunately makes screen replacement a real pain. Apple returned to the (more streamlined) front entrance with the iPhone 5 and has stuck with it ever since. Turning the phone's screen on first makes screen repair much easier and usually works well, except for one major drawback - we'll fix it in under a minute.

 

 

The design stands in stark contrast to the rest of the mobile phone industry. Every Android phone opens from the back. Since the Galaxy S6, iPhone rivals have been glued to the back panel. Any repair technology will tell you that screen replacement on a Galaxy is much more difficult than it is on an iPhone. You must unlock the back panel and then systematically go through the entire process of removing components from the phone. Once the whole thing is essentially unmanufactured, you're left with the screen components. Then you have to put your whole phone together! Considering the screen is the most commonly repaired component, this is quite a project.

 

 

From our perspective, the iPhone is designed to optimize fast Apple Store service for two key components: the screen and the battery. Of course, the downside of this front-optimized design is that it's hard to replace the rear panel. This wasn't really an issue before the iPhone 8, when they switched to radio-clear glass to support wireless charging and NFC payments. Then, when it came to the iPhone X, they soldered a bulky camera lens cap to the glass.

 

 

If replacing the screen on a Galaxy phone is hard, replacing the back glass on an iPhone X (or 11, 12, or 13) is even worse. The easiest part is removing each component from the phone. Seriously, you don't want to leave any parts inside because the process is pretty rough on the hardware. The adhesive that holds the rear glass in place is so strong that none of our usual prying, heat, or chemical methods can remove it. Repair shops employ a variety of aggressive breaking and scraping techniques to remove glass while carefully working around welded camera bezels. The "easiest" method is to use a laser system to raster evaporate the adhesive, then smash and scrape off the glass shards with razor blades and cutting tools. At the very least, you need heavy-duty gloves if you don't want to cut your hands open. As a result, it's not really a viable process for DIYers.

 

 

Back to the iPhone 14. The back glass is simply secured with two screws and a connector. Apple appears to be using a slightly less aggressive adhesive, which makes it easier to open than previous screens. As a bonus, removing the exact same screws as the rear glass gives you access to the screen. With just two screws, both the screen and rear glass are ready to use right out of the box, which is great.

 

This is a phone

A dramatic rethink, the new approach influenced most aspects of the design. Adding an entirely new open surface presented its own set of engineering challenges. There's twice the girth to seal against water, many RF "complications", and variations of all the parts.