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iPhone 15 Pro might give me the courage to ditch iPhone cases for good

Published Sep 18th, 2023 9:43PM EDT
iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max color options.
Image: Apple Inc.

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I’ve been using iPhone cases for years to protect my phone. I’ve also been advising everyone to use screen protectors and cases since the launch of the iPhone X. That’s when Apple introduced the “glass sandwich” design it still uses to this day. But the iPhone 15 series might be the first iPhone series I’d be comfortable using without a case. And it’s the iPhone 15 Pro’s updated design that has me excited about the prospect.

No, I don’t plan to upgrade to iPhone 15 this year. But if I were, I’d have to get the iPhone 15 Pro or 15 Pro Max. That’s because I own an iPhone 14 Pro, and the iPhone 15 isn’t enough of an upgrade.

I’m using a plastic film to protect the iPhone 14 Pro’s rear glass, extending to the sides. I also rock a similar screen protector. They’ve worked well for a year now, but I can’t say I’ve dropped the handset in a way that would have worried me. I don’t use a case as I feel the iPhone 14 Pro is heavy and bulky enough as it is. Plus, I get to enjoy the actual iPhone 14 Pro design this way.

Stainless steel is very durable, of course. The issue here is the glass. As strong as it might be, glass is glass, and it can always break when you drop your phone.

The same goes for the titanium iPhone 15 Pro. Yes, the titanium frame is durable. But the iPhones have the same glass on the front and back. But there is one big change this year, which Apple highlighted during the iPhone 15 event last week.

iPhone 15 Pros introduce a new internal design that makes the rear glass panel cheaper to replace.
iPhone 15 Pros introduce a new internal design that makes the rear glass panel cheaper to replace.

Apple has changed the iPhone 15 Pro manufacturing to make it more repairable. That is, the iPhone 15 Pro now uses the same design as the base iPhone 14. Apple can easily swap out the rear glass without having to replace the entire frame of the device.

That means the cost of repairs has dropped significantly for the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max. You have to pay $29 for the rear panel replacement if you buy AppleCare+ for your device. Without AppleCare+, the fee goes up to $169 or $199, depending on which iPhone 15 Pro model you buy.

Those fees are much lower than the same fees for the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max. If the display on one of those breaks, you’ll have to pay up to $549 to replace the rear glass panel. You can almost buy a brand new iPhone 13 for the same price.

Replacing the rear glass on the iPhone 14/15 and iPhone 14/15 Plus costs $169 and $199, just like the new Pros.

Now I know how cheap it will be to replace the rear glass on my next iPhone, and that’s enough for me to consider ditching cases completely. On that note, I’ll also consider getting AppleCare+ coverage to lower those rear glass replacement fees.

However, I will keep protecting the front glass, which continues to be an expensive replacement. We’re looking at $329 and $379 for the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max. You’ll find all these price estimates on Apple’s repair page at this link.

That said, there are plenty of new iPhone 15 cases you can buy right now, including Apple’s new FineWoven models.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.