Are you thinking of buying the new iPhone 15 Pro? Take a look inside first. An unofficial teardown of the iPhone 15 Pro by PBKreviews is currently making the rounds. The ten-minute video shows a modular disassembly of components, which vibes with Apple’s promises of easier repairs. Still, this look at the relative repairability of the new iPhone does little to raise the recent deduction of its iFixit repairability score.
If you’ve ever tinkered with the inside of a MacBook, the iPhone looks similar. The PBKnews video starts with removing the front display panel with a suction cup and spudger, a methodology introduced with last year’s iPhone 14. Then we see the disconnection of power and data cables, followed by the new periscopic camera system, affixed to the mainboard only by three tiny Phillips screws. You also see the module housing the front-facing camera system, battery, USB-C port—goodbye Lightning cables!—and the Taptic Engine.
PBKreviews gave the iPhone 15 Pro an overall repairability score of 7/10, which is decent. The biggest ding for the iPhone 15 was Apple’s general stacking of the inside components. Taking them apart and putting them back together is doable, but it requires more concentration and particular attention to all those little screws you’re taking out. By comparison, PBKreviews gave last year’s Pixel 7 Pro a 5.5/10. It received that ignominious score because of its lack of unique parts availability and tedious battery replacement.
Speaking of parts availability, the breakdown of the iPhone 15 Pro comes hot off the heels of iFixit retroactively dialing down the phone’s overall repairability score. iFixit lowered the score from a seven to a four out of 10, citing “the reality” that folks trying to fix their iPhones reported many hurdles. “Most major repairs on modern iPhones require Apple approval,” writes iFixit. “You have to buy parts through their system, then have the repair validated via a chat system. Otherwise, you’ll run into limited or missing functionality, with a side of annoying warnings.”
iFixit says that Apple’s parts pairing requirements also hurt independent repair shops and their ability to maintain a stock of extra parts. Apple requires sending over a phone’s serial number or IMEI to get that part in the first place. iFixit claimed in an earlier blog that this practice “puts an expiration date on iPhones.” The site has yet to take apart the iPhone 15 and inspect its insides. It’ll be interesting to see if it comes to the same conclusions as PBKnews or if it will stick to this new score due to Apple’s parts pairing program.