Inside Apple’s Secret iPhone 14 Redesign

    The greatest characteristic of the iPhone 14 is one which Apple didn’t inform
    you about. Forget satellite tv for pc SOS and the bigger digicam, the headline is that this: Apple has utterly redesigned
    the internals of the iPhone 14 to make it simpler to restore. It is under no circumstances seen from the surface, however
    it is a large deal. It’s probably the most vital design change to the iPhone in a very long time. The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max fashions nonetheless have
    the previous structure, so should you’re eager about shopping for a brand new cellphone, and also you need an iPhone that actually
    lasts—in addition to the one in your pocket—you
    ought to maintain studying. 

    If this surprises you, you’re not alone. It stunned us! The new options and exterior modifications to the iPhone
    14 are so slight that The Verge urged it ought to have been referred to as
    the iPhone 13S, saying “The iPhone 13, which got here out a yr in the past and Apple remains to be promoting, is sort of
    an identical to the 14.” 

    But that’s really not true—although nearly no person had any approach of figuring out.  Apple didn’t point out
    the key redesign of their keynote. If reviewers had disassembled the cellphone, they might have found
    this: The iPhone 14 opens from the entrance and the again.

    This is the iPhone 14 reborn as a good looking butterfly—a midframe within the center, accessible display screen on the
    left, and detachable rear glass on the suitable.

    That’s no small feat. The new metallic midframe that helps the construction required a complete inner
    redesign, in addition to an RF rethink and an efficient doubling of their ingress safety perimeter. In different
    phrases, Apple has gone again to the drafting board and reworked the iPhone’s internals to make restore simpler.
    It’s an improve so seamless that the very best tech reviewers on this planet didn’t discover.

    A Brief History of Phones
    We’ve written 1000’s of restore guides for smartphones,
    so earlier than we dive into the main points of the 14, let’s take a hen’s-eye view on the mechanical evolution of
    smartphones. The iPhone has gone by a couple of main architectural shifts over time. 

    The authentic telephones opened display screen first, making display screen swaps on the 3G a
    breeze. But getting at different elements, just like the cost port and battery, was so much more durable.

    Orange cables and blue boards—again within the days earlier than Apple
    dressed up their internals for us.

    To remedy that Apple flip-flopped their strategy with iPhone 4, making the cellphone open again first. That allowed
    for every kind of cool aftermarket choices like our clear rear panel (I
    nonetheless assume that is fairly badass), however sadly made display screen swaps a complete ache. Apple pivoted again to
    a (extra streamlined) front-entry for the 5, and has caught with it ever since. Opening the cellphone screen-first
    made display screen repairs vastly simpler, and has typically labored out fairly nicely, save for one main
    downside—we’ll get to that in a minute.

    Replacing the iPhone 4’s glass rear panel was a breeze.

    That design is in marked distinction
    to the remainder of the cellphone trade. Almost each Android cellphone opens from the again. Ever for the reason that Galaxy S6, the iPhone’s nemesis has had a glued on again panel.
    Any restore tech will let you know that display screen
    swaps on the Galaxy are a lot more durable than display screen swaps on the iPhone. You should unglue the again
    panel, after which systematically work your approach throughout the cellphone eradicating elements. Once the
    complete factor is actually de-manufactured, you’re left with the display screen meeting. Then you must put
    collectively your whole cellphone! It’s fairly a course of, contemplating screens are the commonest element to

    Motorola or Samsung, you’re in for a prolonged pry session to
    take away one of many least important elements.

    The iPhone 8 Ushered in an Era of Pain
    From our perspective, the iPhone’s design has optimized quick Apple retailer service of two important elements:
    the display screen and the battery. The drawback with this front-optimized design, after all, is that it’s laborious
    to swap out the again panel. That wasn’t actually a problem till the iPhone 8, once they switched to
    radio-transparent glass to help wi-fi charging and NFC funds. Then, with the X, they welded a cumbersome
    digicam lens cowl over that tumbler.

    If changing the display screen on a Galaxy cellphone is tough, altering the again glass
    on an iPhone X (or 11, or 12, or 13) is homicide. The simple half is eradicating each single element
    from the cellphone. Seriously, you don’t need to depart any elements in there as a result of the method is fairly tough on
    the {hardware}. The adhesive holding the again glass down is so highly effective that none of our traditional methods of
    prying, warmth, or chemical compounds budge it. Repair retailers deploy quite a lot of aggressive shattering and scraping
    methods to take away the glass whereas fastidiously working across the welded digicam bezels. The
    “easiest” approach makes use of a laser to systematically raster-vaporize the adhesive earlier than then shattering and
    scraping the glass shards off with razor blades and slicing instruments. At the very least, heavy responsibility gloves are
    required tools should you don’t need to slice your fingers open. Resultantly, this isn’t actually a viable
    course of for DIYers. I’ve by no means achieved it, and hope I by no means should.

    A Bold New Approach: 14th Time’s the Charm
    Enter the iPhone 14. The again glass is solely secured with two screws and a single connector. Apple has
    seemingly used a barely much less aggressive adhesive, making opening it up a tad simpler than screens of yore.
    And as a bonus, eradicating the very same screws because the again glass will get you entry to the display screen.
    Just two screws, and each display screen and again glass are instantly accessible. Incredible.

    This again glass seam is sufficient to make teardown techs weep with

    This is a dramatic rethinking of the cellphone, and the brand new strategy impacts most features of the design. Adding a
    complete new opening floor introduces a world of engineering challenges. There’s twice as a lot perimeter to
    seal in opposition to water, a number of radio frequency issues, and a complete world of elements modifications.

    Any time you glue or weld one thing collectively, it’s simpler to realize thinness and sturdiness targets. We’ve
    lengthy mentioned that designers may get all the design options and performance they’re on the lookout for, as nicely
    as repairability, if they simply put in a bit of extra effort to keep away from the glue. Well this time, Apple put in
    the trouble.

    There’s a brand new midframe behind the display screen that each one the interior elements are mounted onto. The unimaginable
    wealth of antennas that make trendy 5G + GPS + Wifi + Bluetooth + satellite tv for pc signaling all work in a single machine
    require intensive grounding. Ten new electromagnetic interference fingers connect with contact factors spaced
    throughout the rear panel to protect grounding that was beforehand achieved with welds.

    Achieving the excessive ranges of sturdiness that all of us count on is an unimaginable engineering problem. When you
    drop an iPhone 13, its metallic body absorbs that shock, transmitting and spreading the power throughout the
    glued-in battery and sturdily adhered rear glass. The iPhone 14 meets this similar problem, however achieves the
    required torsional rigidity in a completely completely different approach. A brand new midframe sits between the show and the center
    of the cellphone and takes the brunt of power distribution throughout the body and battery.

    Another design problem is the variety of elements which can be built-in into the show meeting.
    Historically, these have included the Face ID sensor, the speaker, and the ambient gentle sensor. We seen
    within the 13 Pro that Apple had
    relocated the earpiece speaker and front-facing digicam
    from the show to the mainframe. At the time, we appreciated the transfer as incrementally elevated
    modularity, however we didn’t fairly perceive the rationale. Now it seems it laid the groundwork for a vastly
    improved design.

    A Few New Features
    The marketed flagship options of the iPhone 14 are satellite-powered SOS, an upgraded digicam, and a
    lacking SIM card slot. We’ll dive into extra element with our iPhone 14 Pro Max teardown, however listed below are some board photographs whilst you

    Apple’s pursuit of density is unparalleled. The iPhone 14 Pro Max logic board options the A16 processor,
    which is an incremental 10-15% efficiency development over the 14’s A15.

    The inside of the US Pro Max logic board options the communications chips and the big SIM reader hole.

    One sneak peek forward of time: we will affirm that the satellite tv for pc connectivity is powered by a brand new Qualcomm
    X65 modem, which provides new 2.4 GHz n53 band
    capabilities to help Globalstar. ICJay Monroe, Globalstar’s Executive Chairman, bragged about this in a
    launch earlier this yr: “We have appreciated an in depth relationship with Qualcomm for the reason that
    inception of the corporate and need to thank the group there for his or her laborious work in serving to us ship on Band
    n53’s promise.”

    Parts Pairing

    Some iPhone procedures require ‘System Configuration,’ Apple’s favourite restore hurdle and
    distant half activation device.

    We are listening to stories that Apple is continuous their hostile path of pairing elements to the cellphone, requiring
    activation of the again glass after set up. You actually shouldn’t want Apple’s permission to put in a
    sheet of glass on a cellphone that you simply already personal.

    Using software program to stop using aftermarket elements will get an enormous thumbs down from us. These locks are
    irritating and finally futile—Apple merely can’t management all of the repairs that occur with their
    merchandise, regardless of how laborious they struggle. We’ll be reporting on elements compatibility a bit extra after we end
    our lab assessments, until Apple miraculously posts their service manuals.

    The Bottom Line
    This is probably the most substantial iPhone redesign for the reason that X. It’s laborious to overstate how large a change that is.
    For a reference level, Samsung hasn’t modified their cellphone structure since 2015.

    So, with the most important replace in years, we’re upgrading the iPhone 14 to a repairability rating of 7 out of 10.
    That’s the very best rating we’ve given an iPhone
    for the reason that iPhone 7. This is probably the most repairable iPhone in years.

    This is such an enormous deal that it ought to have been Apple’s large announcement—the iPhone has been redesigned from
    the within out to make it simpler to restore. In reality, simply days earlier than we began this teardown,
    iFixit’s very personal Sam
    Goldheart argued that these days, a product launch shouldn’t simply rattle off tiny new
    options. Why isn’t Tim Cook bragging about repairability? We had no concept this was coming, as a result of Apple
    didn’t point out it—in any respect. But they need to have. 

    This design enchancment is an enormous win. These modifications to the iPhone will assist it last more and scale back its general
    influence on the planet. With any luck, it is going to encourage different producers to comply with swimsuit. 

    All of our—and your—work has paid off. Our advocating, lobbying, yelling within the streets. We’ve satisfied
    Apple’s design group that repairability issues. Now we want your assist to persuade their advertising group to
    speak about it once they take the most important stage in tech.

    If you’re making an attempt to determine whether or not to go together with the 14 or the Pro or Pro Max, from a repairability
    perspective the reply is evident: It’s the 14 all the best way. Let’s hope this superior design turns into the
    commonplace throughout the iPhone 15 lineup. In the imply time, the greenest cellphone is the one you’ve already bought, so
    be part of us in skipping the improve, we’ve bought
    the refresh you want on the value you’ll like.

    Want your cellphone to appear like this, however with out the heating and prying? We’ve bought you. iPhone 14 Teardown wallpapers
    are stay—and free! The backgrounds for the 14 Pro will probably be obtainable quickly, for now, try the iPhone 14 Pro Max teardown to get a

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