March 20, 2023
iPhone 14 may be easier to repair, but only at official Apple stores

iPhone 14 may be easier to repair, but only at official Apple stores

After the release of new products such as the iPhone 14 / Pro series, Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch Ultra, Apple Watch SE 2 and AirPods Pro 2 headphones, Apple has quietly made some changes to the AppleCare + plan . It extended warranties on Apple products and increased coverage for accidental damage. While AppleCare+ offered accidental damage twice a year, these repairs are now “unlimited”. The price of AppleCare+ varies by device, and customers can choose to pay monthly or pay the full price. For the iPhone 14, AppleCare+ costs $9.99 per month or the full price of $199. It’s worth noting that even if you subscribe to AppleCare+, you still have to pay Apple for the service. This is if your device will need repairs.

At present, Apple has reduced the difficulty of repairing the iPhone 14 series. However, the question of “who can fix it” has been hotly debated. Apple’s iPhone 14 series appears to have tightened the restrictions on third-party repairs to some extent. Nevertheless, it is difficult to repair through third-party channels. A third-party repair store claims that disassembling the iPhone 14 is quite easy. However, getting it back to work after disassembling it is quite difficult.

The new issue centers around the iPhone 14 series’ All Weather Display (AOD). This is a feature that uses the phone’s two Ambient Light Sensors (ALS) to calibrate the screen brightness. To save power, the screen turns off automatically at night or when the phone is in your pocket. However, if your screen breaks and you replace the screen by a non-Apple authorized service center, ALS will still be disabled. This will leave the screen permanently black unless you can remember exactly where the cursor is.

Ambient light sensors have been a problem in older iPhones

The ambient light sensor has been an issue in previous iPhones. In fact, even controller placement is an issue. On the iPhone 12, for example, it’s in a sensor elbow that tilts on its own in the event of a mechanical failure. On iPhone 13, it has been moved to a new group of components, reducing the risk of accidental damage. The iPhone 14 ALS is in a similar location, so any issues are a software issue.

iPhone 14
Source: macrumors

Youtuber @Hugh Jefferys posted a video about this issue where he swaps motherboards between two sets of brand new iPhones (14 and 14 Pro). Although all parts are new and original Apple, these phones still have many errors and functional failures. This includes but not limited to FaceID, battery status, True Tone and auto-brightness, etc. Even the front camera doesn’t work properly. The problem persists when he swaps them again. It was not fixed until he downgraded the phone to iOS 16.0.

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That is, Apple has adopted a new “partial pairing” restriction on the iPhone 14 series. Every part of every phone is tied to a digital ID. The display will have a unique identifier stored on its hardware. So every time you check the box on the device, the ID is checked. As for the iPhone 14, it only works when its “own” screen is active. If the original ID is not detected correctly, then sorry, it is a brick. At the same time, users will also see a series of error messages directing them to visit their local Apple Support for a replacement.

Only Apple can fix this problem

The only way around this is to manually approve a new pairing ID. This can only be done through in-house software/tools by an Apple Authorized Technician. The process, which requires a technician to connect to Apple’s private network via the Internet, is “tightly controlled” by the company, the sources said. Prior to iPhone 13, third-party repair shops could use custom EEPROM programmers to fix this issue. Maintenance personnel can read the part ID code from the original screen and write it to the screen that needs to be replaced. This is usually a refurbished original screen, but unfortunately this method is no longer available for the iPhone 14 series.

iPhone 14 Pro

Due to this policy, repair shops other than official Apple stores will not be able to repair new iPhones. However, the cost of joining Apple’s Official Authorized Stores is so high for some smaller stores that many partner companies are debating whether to maintain the status quo. “As an independent repairer, the Independent Repair Program (IRP) is not profitable enough to support a retail business,” said one of the people, who asked not to be named.

But you should know that Apple has historically been against users self-repairing their devices, even though Apple previously released an official self-repair kit. Apple supports anti-repair rights groups and attempts to perform all repairs through its own service process. This has led to issues such as high basic maintenance fees for some Apple machines.

Apple cripples third-party repairs for personal gain

Critics have blamed Apple for crippling third-party repairs for its benefits. They claim that Apple’s monopolistic behavior is designed to make profit. However, Apple denies this, telling the US antitrust subcommittee that “the cost of providing repair services in 2019 exceeded the revenue generated from repairs.” Apple hasn’t explained whether this constitutes all of its repair business or if it’s just warranty repairs.

iPhone 14 Pro

The company has been forced to loosen its grip on the right to repair, thanks to a concerted effort by regulators and activists. In 2019, the company said it would allow third-party repair shops to receive the same tools, parts, and manuals as its ASPs. The company has since expanded the program to include Mac, iPhone and iPad repairs. On November 17, 2021, the company announced a self-repair program that will provide users with tools, parts, and manuals. But the end result is that consumers have to pay far more for repairs than they should or can pay to keep their iPhones working. For example, a third-party store using genuine Apple displays will cost around £140 to repair an iPhone 11 screen. The same repair at an Apple-authorized store will cost almost £220. That compares to £95 for display replacements made by third-party companies.

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