Cut to the Chase: iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR

Apple was in the news last week. Something about a new iPhone or three.

So let’s get excited! The iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR were unveiled last Wednesday. As the press cycle does its thing, new articles pop up every day, touting the hidden benefits and revealing the unseen downsides. Should you buy it? Should you stay away? From our standpoint, the debate doesn’t matter. We know they’ll be bought. In droves. We also know they’ll break. In droves!

You can spend hours falling down the online wormhole hunting for hot takes, or you can see what we’ve collected below. We’ve tried to cut to the chase and give you the repair tech’s perspective, so that once an iPhone XS (or XS Max or XR) arrives on your desk, you know what to expect.

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The New Primary: iPhone XS

The iPhone XS is the immediate successor to the iPhone X. Pricing starts at $999.

Quick spec rundown: The iPhone XS has a notched 5.8” OLED Super Retina HD display, is rated IP68 for splash, water, and dust resistance, boasts the A12 Bionic chip, features dual back cameras, Face ID, wireless charging, and dual SIM support, and comes in gold, space gray, and silver.

Skip to the end: On the outside, it’s a lot like the iPhone X. No home button, no headphone jack. Face ID is here to stay. No in-display fingerprint scanner yet… The IP68 rating means it’ll be a tough nut to crack, and its back glass and camera lens are as vulnerable to damage as ever. Don’t expect any internal parts to carry over from the iPhone X. Try to reuse as many components as possible during a repair, since aftermarket sensors will likely disable FaceID or camera functionality.

Parts? OEM-quality replacement OLED screen displays should be available in 1-2 months (**Update** Now available). Aftermarket screens may take up to 6 months (**Update**: Now available). Small parts will start to trickle in immediately. Right now, you can buy tempered glass screen protectors, which are compatible for the iPhone X and iPhone XS.

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The New Plus: iPhone XS Max

The iPhone XS Max is a bigger version of the XS. You might call it the iPhone XS Plus, if Apple didn’t already call it the XS Max for that extra maximuminess they put inside. Pricing starts at $1,099.

Spec rundown: The iPhone XS Max has a notched 6.5” OLED Super Retina HD display, is rated IP68 for splash, water, and dust resistance, boasts the A12 Bionic chip, features dual back cameras, Face ID, wireless charging, and dual SIM support, and comes in gold, space gray, and silver. So just like the XS, but bigger.

Skip to the end: We mentioned this thing is big, so fingers are crossed for more butterfingers accidents. Expect the same difficulties as the iPhone X (and XS): tightly sealed screen, fragile glass, emphasis on keeping original sensors. This will be more interesting to pry open than the iPhone XS, because we didn’t get a plus-sized iPhone X last year to see how Apple would configure its components in a bigger device.

Parts? Expect 1-2 months for the OEM OLED screen display (**Update**: Now available) and 6 months for an aftermarket screen, just like the iPhone XS. Various small parts will show up in the meantime.

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The Affordable Alternative: iPhone XR

Apple introduces the iPhone XR as a budget option to accompany the flagship XS models. Pricing starts at $749.

Spec rundown: The iPhone XR has a full-body notched 6.1” Liquid Retina HD LCD display, is rated IP67 for splash, water, and dust resistance, boasts the A12 Bionic chip, features a single back camera, Face ID, wireless charging, and dual SIM support, and comes in red, yellow, white, coral, black, and blue.

Skip to the end: The iPhone XR is a compromise, a hybrid, a mashup you might say, of the iPhone 8 and the iPhone X. It has the notch, dropped the home button, but only has one back camera and an aluminum frame instead of stainless steel. That means it’s more fragile, and there’s more usable screen to scuff up or scratch. Will that translate to easier repairability? We like to think so. Also, it comes in the most colors since the iPhone SE.

Parts? OEM-quality and aftermarket LCD screen displays should be coming quickly, if not immediately, along with small parts (**Update**: GV+ screen assembly and small parts now available). This phone doesn’t release until October 26, so you have another month to wait before anyone gets a chance to break one.

Apple Repair Pricing Update

Remember how much it costs for Apple to repair an iPhone X? We’ll refresh your memory, since it will cost the same amount to repair the iPhone XS. Regarding non-warrantied repairs, without AppleCare+, it’ll cost $279 for a new screen and $549 for “other damage.”

It gets worse for the iPhone XS Max. $329 for a new screen, and $599 for “other damage.”

And while this won’t be a concern for awhile, it’ll cost $69 for a non-warrantied battery repair on the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR, compared to $29 for the iPhone SE through iPhone X.

With AppleCare+, repair pricing stays the same. It’s still $29 for screen repair and $99 for “other damage” on all iPhones.

Discontinued Phones

While the new iPhones were ushered onstage, a few were ushered out of the building. The most eyebrow raising? Maybe the…

iPhone X, which is only a year old. In the face of the XS and XS Max however, the iPhone X is a mere prototype, a biplane in the time of monoplanes, a steam engine in the time of internal combustion. You get the idea. Expect repairs for the X to taper off more quickly than any other model before it.

iPhone 6S: this workhorse, last of the old guard of iPhones with headphone jacks, was let go. This is the passing of an era. No iPhones currently in production have headphone jacks, which is concerning to many users. Is the Lightning port next?

iPhone SE: the hippest little iPhone gets the cold shoulder. Its stylish color options, if not its convenient compactness, lives on in the iPhone XR.

Watch out for iOS 12

Ah, iOS. Our archnemesis. Any time an iOS update arrives, Apple devices go haywire, as do some aftermarket parts. We’ll keep you updated about any issues, and if you come across any issues with our parts, please let us know!

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