iFixit Drops iPhone Repairability Score to 4/10: “Atrocious Limitations”

The FPS Review may receive a commission if you purchase something after clicking a link in this article.

Image: Apple

iFixit has announced that it is retroactively dropping its repairability score for the iPhone 14, changing the score from a welcome 7 (“recommend”) to a much lesser 4 (“do-not-recommend”). According to a news post that the repair parts seller and how-to site shared yesterday, iFixit is doing this because of Apple’s move to systematic parts pairing, something that has led to what the company describes as “atrocious limitations” for individuals and independent shops who wish to make their own repairs. Aftermarket parts are said to be unusable thanks to a quietly introduced software handshake, which only passes with Apple-authorized parts.

Today, you need one more thing: a software handshake, using Apple’s System Configuration tool. It contacts Apple’s servers to “authenticate” the repair, then “pairs” the new part to your system so it works as expected. Of course, it can only authenticate if Apple knows about your repair in advance, because you gave them the exact serial number of your iPhone, and they’ve pre-matched it to a display or battery. This is only possible if you buy the screen or battery directly from Apple. Forget harvesting parts—which is a huge part of most independent repair and recycling businesses. It’s also impossible to pair any aftermarket parts—which means only Apple-authorized repairs can truly restore the device to full functionality.

In a move that will not surprise close observers of Apple, they have developed the system without notifying the people who do the actual repair work that it impacts.

Join the discussion in our forums...

Tsing Mui
News poster at The FPS Review.

Recent News