While the cheaper iPhone 14 and 14 Pro series are prized for designs that allow for easy replacement of the glass back, the same can’t be said for the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
Bowing to criticism received over the years, Apple is offering some concessions towards easier repair of iPhone 14 phones, with most internal components being able to be removed without risking unintentional damage to the phone. Even the glass back can be patched “in-house” without the need for sophisticated laser equipment to spray the extremely strong adhesive. However, the concession is only for the cheaper iPhone 14 and 14 Pro series, with the Pro Max model still coming with the glass panel “cemented” to the back of the phone:
So while the glass cover replacement comes with an official price tag of $169 for the first two, accidents resulting in cracked glass backs on iPhone 14 Pro Max phones carry a repair cost of $549, which can only be avoided by opting for AppleCare+ insurance. In other words, the seemingly inexplicable design decision is actually Apple’s way of making AppleCare+ insurance, available for a monthly fee, more attractive.
The even worse news is that the iPhone 14 Pro Max is no more rugged than the rival Galaxy S22 Ultra, both of which failed after the first drop-test from a height of about three feet above a concrete block. Although both models came out seriously “cracked”, Apple’s flagship also ended up with one of the camera lenses cracked, pushing the cost of repair even higher. The bumps received on the edge of the casing are just as easily transmitted to the screen, which cracks from the first “smack” received face down. The only good news is that the steel metal frame doesn’t scratch very badly and the OLED panel continues to function normally, allowing the repair to be postponed if the budget doesn’t allow for it immediately.
As expensive as it is fragile, the iPhone 14 Pro Max needs as good an outer case as possible, offering effective protection both on the back and against blows from the side or rear.