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iFixit dings Apple's right-to-repair commitment and drops iPhone 14's repairability score

It has to do with software that only approves new branded parts.


DIY repair gurus iFixit just issued a hearty rebuke at Apple, dinging the company’s self-proclaimed commitment to the right-to-repair movement. Additionally, the organization has retroactively lowered the repairability score for the iPhone 14, after originally being quite impressed by the phone’s easily-accessible hardware components.

The iPhone 14’s score shot down from a respectable 7 out of 10 to a “do-not-recommend” 4 out of 10. In other words, iFixit says the phone’s no longer a viable option for DIYers, even with Apple selling replacement parts via the company’s Self Service Repair program. This is because self-repair is more than just parts. There’s software involved and iFixit says Apple’s code purposefully limits repair options for most tasks.

The company derides Apple for creating a “labyrinthine maze of obstacles” for both consumers and third-party repair technicians. It all boils down to software that requires and checks for parts bought directly from Apple. Otherwise, you’ll lose functionality and receive endless warnings during use, as the system won’t successfully pair aftermarket parts.

The repair also must be validated by a proprietary chat system that requires personal information from the customer. Third-party technicians haven’t relished the prospect of handing out their customers’ private information just to replace a battery. Additionally, consumers and technicians alike typically rely on used or third-party parts, and Apple’s system dissuades both options in favor of purchasing pricey branded components.

A blog post on the matter by iFixit stated that it’s heard from several repair pros who have excited the business entirely rather than deal with Apple’s constant hurdles. The company also noted that community pushback began almost immediately after the iPhone 14 received its original repairability score.

iFixit still lauds Apple for making an “improvement over the status quo” by selling replacement parts, but says that the hoops a consumer or technician must jump through to replace a part makes the iPhone 14 “literally not repairable.” The site hasn’t issued a repairability score for any of the just-announced iPhone 15 models, but they should start coming in the next couple of weeks.