The iPhone X is a glass sandwich, and you really don’t want to drop it. That’s the verdict of the gadget repair site [iFixIt].
“Glass on front and back doubles the likelihood of drop damage—and if the back glass breaks, you’ll be removing every component and replacing the entire chassis,” the iFixIt team said in their in-depth look at the phone’s internal structure.
The $999 smartphone that launched on Friday has an all-glass 5.8-inch OLED screen on the front, and a glass back panel on the rear. Apple switched out the previous iPhone’s aluminum back to enable wireless charging, with the new material allowing the power to pass through without connecting a cable. Unfortunately, all this takes a toll on repairability.
The issue stems from the fact that the camera bump on the rear overlaps with the glass panel. The iPhone 8, which launched last month, also uses a glass back, but the camera remains separate from the rest of the pane. The dual lens camera on the X enables a number of unique features like a Portrait Mode that blurs the background of subjects, but the silver ring around the two lenses hampers easy repairs.
iFixIt tried using a thin tool, sliding it under the rear glass and pushing up, but to no avail.
“In this classic hand-stuck-in-cookie-jar situation, we can either cut off our hand (the camera bump) or shatter the cookie jar (the rear glass). Great,” iFixIt said. “We opt for the camera bump-ectomy for an intact glass panel. Those replacing a broken panel won’t have any good options—and they’ll have a heck of a time scraping out the shards of glued-down glass.”
The glass back offers some useful features, though. Wireless charging, which uses the Qi standard, means iPhone X owners can place their phone on a pad and charge from the same accessories as Android devices. The glass back will also enable support for AirPower, a charging mat that Apple plans to launch next year capable of charging up to three devices at once.
Overall, the website gave the phone a repairability score of six out of 10. That means if you break the rear glass and want to try fixing it, your best bet is probably leaving it to the professionals.