Fancy yourself a new generation iPhone? From a cost standpoint, the iPhone XR is the most sensible of the new models, though it's still not exactly cheap—pricing starts at $749 (as opposed to $999 for the iPhone XS and $1,099 for the iPhone XS). As with any high dollar smartphone, the thought of cracking it open for delicate repairs may seem gut wrenching. In this case, however, a teardown analysis of the iPhone XR reveals that some types of DIY repairs are at least feasible.
That depends on your skill level, of course, along with your willingness to take matters into your hands. These things aren't made of Legos, and so there is quite a bit more involved than just pulling pieces apart and then snapping them back together when you're done. A lot more, actually. It starts with having to remove those annoying pentalobe screws that Apple seems to love so much. There's also careful prying involved.
If you managed to open the iPhone XR, you'll be greeted by an internal layout that is a hybrid between the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, both of which are previous generation devices.
"A peek under the hood revealed design hallmarks reminiscent of both the iPhone 8 and X. Most notably, the iPhone XR returned to a single-decker logic board—a pre-X-series design—although the board is vaguely rectangular like its recent brethren. And after all the L-shaped battery shenanigans, we’re back to an old-school, bar-shaped, single-cell battery. If it ain’t broke...," the teardown folks at iFixIt noted.
One reason why you might be tempted to open up an iPhone (or any smartphone) is to replace the battery, especially if you tend to hold onto your mobile gadgets for a long time. Other than actually getting inside the iPhone XR, Apple doesn't put too many hurdles in the way—the 11.16Wh battery is not glued down and comes out rather easily.
The iPhone XR garnered praise for its "display-first opening procedure and easy access to the battery." It also earned points for the fact that a broken display can be replaced with minimal hardware removal, allowing users to preserve the Face ID feature when something goes wrong. There are some annoyances, like the pentalobe screws, though the biggest knock is that having glass on both the front and back doubles the risk of cracking. Furthermore, if you end up breaking the glass on the back, you'll need to replace the entire chassis.
At the end of the day, the iPhone XR earned a respectable 6 out of 10 repairability score.