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iPhone 15 Pro Max repairability: A step forward, but still not perfect


The iFixit teardown of the iPhone 15 Pro Max has yielded a mixed set of findings. Here’s a breakdown of the results:

1. Parts Pairing Requirement: Local repair shops still face challenges with Apple’s “parts pairing” requirement, which necessitates the use of official components from Apple and communication with a company employee before iOS will accept individual part replacements. This can make third-party repairs more complicated.

2. Positive Aspect – Dual-Entry Removable Glass Back Cover: Apple’s decision to reintroduce a “dual-entry” removable glass back cover, first seen with the standard iPhone 14 models, was applauded. This move benefits consumers as it makes back glass repairs more accessible and affordable. Previously, high-end model back glass repairs could cost as much as $550.

3. Titanium Frame Evaluation: iFixit scrutinized the phone’s titanium frame and found some drawbacks. While acknowledging that titanium production has environmental concerns compared to stainless steel and aluminum, the site also pointed out that the titanium frame is susceptible to easy scratching. Despite the material’s cool factor, it scratches easily, which may not be a favorable characteristic for a premium device.

In summary, while there are positive aspects to the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s repairability, such as the reintroduction of a dual-entry removable back cover, challenges remain for independent repair shops due to Apple’s stringent parts pairing requirement. Additionally, the susceptibility of the titanium frame to scratches may be a concern for users who value the aesthetics and durability of their devices.

In the iFixit teardown of the iPhone 15 Pro Max, several notable findings were made:

1. Logic Board Similarity: The logic board in the iPhone 15 Pro Max appears to be the same as the one in the iPhone 15 Pro, suggesting a degree of hardware consistency between the two models.

2. Battery Removal: Accessing the battery-removal tabs in the iPhone 15 Pro Max requires removing the speaker and Taptic Engine, which can add complexity to the battery replacement process.

3. Camera Hardware: The main and wide camera sensors in the iPhone 15 Pro Max are noted to be identical to those found in the iPhone 14 Pro Max. This suggests that the primary hardware-based camera update this year is the “Tetraprism” periscope lens, which enables 5x optical zoom. Any improvements in image quality are attributed more to the new A17 SoC (System on Chip) than the camera hardware itself.

4. Parts Pairing Concerns: iFixit continues to express concern about Apple’s “parts pairing” requirement and its impact on repairability. This requirement makes it challenging to use salvaged or third-party parts and complicates at-home and local repair efforts. The teardown video mentions that this year’s issue involves the LiDAR sensor, which can cause crashes if swapped out. iFixit believes that such issues need to be addressed, or the devices might as well come with a warning stating they are Apple property.

Due to the issues related to parts pairing and repairability challenges, iFixit gave the iPhone 15 Pro Max a low repairability score of 4 out of 10, highlighting the difficulties faced by local repair technicians and DIY repair enthusiasts in maintaining and fixing the device.

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