iPhone 14 has a removable glass back — what it means for you

iPhone 14 removable glass panel
(Image credit: iFixit)

With the iPhone 14 only just released, more details about Apple’s latest smartphone are coming out every day.

One of the latest details to come out is that the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus include a removable glass back panel. This was reported on by MacRumors in an aggregation of TechCrunch and CNET’s reviews.

The good news is that this removable panel makes the iPhone 14 the first iPhone to open from the back in generations. This makes it significantly easier to replace this back panel — not that your wallet would necessarily know it.

That is the bad news: it can get incredibly expensive to replace this glass panel. While prices for the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus with their removable glass panels are relatively reasonable ($169 and $199 respectively), the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are not.

The Pro model will set you back an estimated $499 to replace the back panel, which is half the price of the phone itself. Same for the Pro Max, which costs $549 to repair just the back glass panel.

AppleCare Plus is the only realistic way to repair your iPhone 14 

iPhone 14 Pro

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

As we recently covered, iPhone 14 repairs cost more now than ever before. Battery replacements have nearly doubled in price across the entire iPhone 14 lineup.

If you have a base model iPhone 14, the sticker shock largely ends there. Rear camera fixes and cracked front screens remain the same as the base model iPhone 13. For users with the other models though, price increases are noticeable in virtually every repair category. Not great news considering that we are already hearing of issues with the iPhone 14 rear cameras

Of course, you can also try and repair the phone yourself with Apple’s iPhone Self Service Repair kits. Well, except that you can’t — at least not yet. Apple’s own Self Service Repair Store does not allow you to order replacement parts or tool kits for any of the new iPhone 14 lineup. So if you want your iPhone repaired, Apple is currently the only game in town that does not risk you voiding your warranty.

This is why if you are worried about damaging your iPhone 14 to the point where it needs repairs, you really need AppleCare Plus. Given that a two-year AppleCare Plus plan costs $269 for the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max ($50 less if you forgo theft coverage), you will likely come close to breaking even — if not saving money — on everything but battery replacement.

Especially if you are concerned about the glass on your phone cracking. That glass back panel we mentioned earlier? That only costs $29 with AppleCare Plus on any iPhone 14. So if you have an iPhone 14 Pro Max you would spend over $300 less with AppleCare Plus to repair that back panel, even when you include the cost of the two-year AppleCare Plus subscription. At that point, the math becomes simple: you need to just get the AppleCare Plus plan and save yourself — and your wallet. 

Also, be sure to check out the best iPhone 14 cases and best iPhone 14 Pro Max cases so far. 

Malcolm McMillan
Senior Streaming Writer

Malcolm McMillan is a senior writer for Tom's Guide, covering all the latest in streaming TV shows and movies. That means news, analysis, recommendations, reviews and more for just about anything you can watch, including sports! If it can be seen on a screen, he can write about it. Previously, Malcolm had been a staff writer for Tom's Guide for over a year, with a focus on artificial intelligence (AI), A/V tech and VR headsets.

Before writing for Tom's Guide, Malcolm worked as a fantasy football analyst writing for several sites and also had a brief stint working for Microsoft selling laptops, Xbox products and even the ill-fated Windows phone. He is passionate about video games and sports, though both cause him to yell at the TV frequently. He proudly sports many tattoos, including an Arsenal tattoo, in honor of the team that causes him to yell at the TV the most.