Apple has always frowned on third-party, especially DIY, repairs to protect its secrets as well as its reputation. It has implemented hurdles in both hardware design and software to discourage unauthorized repairs, though that hasn’t really stopped the likes of iFixit from trying and fighting for the right to repair. The iPhone 13 series is no different, but the iPhone 13 Pro teardown reveals some changes that make repairing the phone easier and more difficult at the same time.
Getting into an iPhone is pretty much normal fare for iFixit by now, but that doesn’t make it less precarious, considering you have to start by heating up and prying off the display. It doesn’t help that the iPhone 13 Pro’s upper sensor cable is noted to be “scary thin and way too short,” almost like an invitation to disaster. Fortunately, the rest of the journey isn’t notably difficult either.
The L-shaped battery, which is larger this year, is still a pain point since it’s not easily removable. The good news is that replacing it no longer results in a blocked phone. You’ll still get the scary warning message, but the iPhone 13 Pro will still function as normal.
On the flip side, replacing the earpiece speaker will require even more work now that it’s located inside the chassis rather than fixed to the back of the display. That means that you’ll have to actually remove the logic board before you can get to it, which in turn requires removing other parts of the iPhone 13 Pro first. Fortunately, it’s not one of the most commonly broken components on a smartphone.
The relocation of the earpiece is part of Apple’s attempt to make the notch smaller for the iPhone 13 series. The other part involves combining the flood illuminator and dot projector into a single module. That said, iFixit does note that this only makes the notch narrower but is just as tall, so users aren’t exactly getting more vertical screen real estate anyway.