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iPhone 15 Pro Max teardown reveals few internal changes, digs at repairability

iPhone 15 Pro Max teardown [iFixit/YouTube]

The iPhone 15 Pro Max is built similarly to the iPhone 14 Pro Max even with a new frame, a teardown from iFixit shows, while camera improvements beyond the tetraprism lens are attributed to the new A17 Pro chip and software changes.

The annual teardown of Apple's flagship model has arrived, with iFixit releasing a video and article on the Monday after release showing the internal components of the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Also continuing its usual pattern, iFixit also criticizes the way the device is produced and its lack of repairability.

The teardown video takes apart the iPhone 15 Pro Max quite systematically, with pentalobe screws and the need for a suction cup blocking the removal of the display. Once inside, attempts to remove the battery are thwarted by failing tabs, which triggered complaints about removing another ten screws.

With the use of isopropyl alcohol, the battery is loosened from the frame. That battery is 17.1 watt-hours, which is 2.5% more than the iPhone 14 Pro Max's version.

The camera assembly is removable thanks to a number of disconnectable cables and a trio of "much less flimsy" Philips-head screws. Aside from the tetraprism assembly for the Telephoto camera, the sensors for the Main and Wide cameras are seemingly the same size as the iPhone 14 Pro Max versions.

This similarity in component size has iFixit believing that any improvements in picture quality "has more to do with the new A17 SoC than the camera hardware itself."

Deemed the most interesting find of the teardown, the logic board for the Pro Max is almost identical to the Pro model. Qualcomm chips are visible on the board, handling modem duties while Apple's own efforts continue to be developed.

For the back cover, iFixit praises the change for the Pro models that brings It more in line with the iPhone 15, making it easier for back glass repairs to be performed.

Digs are made at the eco-unfriendliness of producing the titanium elements over stainless steel or aluminum, as well as the easily scratched coating.

Locked parts

A companion article for the iPhone 15 range praises the removable back glass as a "notable achievement," however it then hammers the device for repairability over a need to acquire parts from Apple, and to deal with Apple's parts pairing system.

For the iPhone 15 Pro range, that includes the rear LiDAR assembly that is now "completely locked" to the device.

The "repairability" score for the iPhone 15 Pro Max, Pro, Plus, and standard iPhone 15 are all set at 4 out of a possible ten. The score is provisional as it includes credit for "anticipated service manual availability and selling repair parts," but it is weighed down by the inability to swap components due to software limitations.

Ahead of the iPhone 15's release, iFixit downgraded the iPhone 14 from 7 out of 10 to 4 out of 10, citing the same obstacles to repair.