iFixit originally gave the iPhone 14 a 7 out of 10 repairability score but has since revised it to a “do-not-recommend 4.” The reason being that there is a frustrating step in the repair process that was just brought to its attention. A software handshake that literally makes 3rd party repair a nightmare.
The problem stems from the fact that replacement parts like a battery or screen need to be validated through Apple’s System Configuration tool, which then pairs the new part to your phone with Apple’s blessing. The issue is that if you’re not an “authorized” repair outlet, your parts won’t work, even if they are genuine replacements from Apple.
Authorized repair shops still need to notify Apple of the repair in advance to match the serial numbers to the parts. This practice discourages parts harvesting, which is a big part of an independent repair shop’s business. Apple’s independent repair program has been criticized for years since it requires shops to agree to invasive audits and inspections from Apple.
And suppose you’re just trying to repair the iPhone 14 yourself. In that case, it’s a fairly annoying hoop to jump through because if you can’t authenticate the parts by Apple, you risk the phone not working properly and being hit by popups saying the phone can’t verify the parts.
iFixit has been a huge advocate for the consumer’s right to repair, showing its support for the recent bill to pass in California calling for the end of “manufacturers’ repair monopolies.” Though in good news, Apple has finally put a USB-C in the iPhone 15 in compliance with an EU ruling requiring all new phones to have USB-C for wired charging.