The Nothing Phone 1 rekindled interest in transparent phone aesthetics, but modders have been at it for a while. The latest experiment to come out of the enthusiastic community is an iPhone 14 with a transparent back panel. Photos of an iPhone 14 with guts visible underneath are making waves on Twitter, but the mud’s identity remains unclear.
The wireless charging coil surrounded by the magnetic MagSafe ring, the battery pack, the Taptic Engine and the Lightning port are among the hardware elements that are clearly visible. It looks pretty neat, but if you really want it but can’t find the buyer to auction it online, you can still capture some of that magic with DBrand’s Something line of skins and cases for your iPhone. It’s a blatant rip-off of Nothing’s signature design, but it sure looks cool.
iPhone 14 change to transparent pic.twitter.com/ce4qJrQUdq
— Fix Apple 🍏 (@lipilipsi) September 22, 2022
The transparent modding job isn’t surprising, as teardowns have shown that after years, Apple has finally eased the scope of repairs with an updated internal assembly for the rear glass panel. It’s also not surprising that we haven’t seen many transparent mod jobs since the iPhone 11 series, which was a stark design that diverged from the iPhone XS.Read:How to watch ‘Abbott Elementary’ Season 2
Of course, that doesn’t mean you should order one of Apple’s self-repair kits, 3D print a clear back panel, and head into town for a DIY adventure of modding clear back panel onto your brand new iPhone 14. Apple still requires parts to be matched through its own software, and any damage may void the warranty.
A long history of clear modding
The transparent modding craze for Apple smartphones first gained traction with the iPhone 4, and a year later, iFixit sold a whole DIY kit targeting the iPhone 4S. Transparent mod kits for the iPhone 5 came out soon, and the iPhone 5s also got a similar treatment. AliExpress even sold transparent mod kits for iPhones for under $10 at the time.
Things got a little interesting when Apple adopted a round metal look with the iPhone 6, but as you can see in this EverythingApplePro clip, mods for this model were sold as well. The iPhone 7 was no different. Over time, the transparent modding tasks became even more refined, as can be seen in this video about a transparent iPhone 8 on the back.Read:You Can Now Add Splatoon 3 Widgets To Android And iOS Home Screens
When Apple entered the Face ID era with a fresh design on the iPhone X and wore it for another year on the iPhone XS, modders further improved their work with transparent back panel replacements. But Apple changed things with the iPhone 11, and not in a good way. As iFixit notes in the iPhone 11 teardown, “the back glass can only be replaced with a full case swap.”
The trend continued, and got even riskier, as Apple threw MagSafe into the mix and kept getting generous with the glue in it. Take this transparent mod result of the iPhone 12 and how unpolished it looks. It looks like the iPhone 14 will bring back the good old days of clear mod tasks on the back panel.
Apple dreams transparently, in patents
What about Apple? Well, it seems that the company has at least given some thought to the idea of transparent iPhones. Last year PatentlyApple saw an Apple filing describing iPhones with an all-glass housing. A somewhat similar glass-heavy design plan was also unearthed for the iPad in patent documents.Read:Lens on Android now lets you do classic reverse image searches via Google Images
Another particularly ambitious patent document indicates that Apple dreams of an all-glass iPhone with a transparent display. Taking it a step further, another Apple patent describes an idea where the top portion of the screen offers a see-through AR display, captured by images from the rear camera.
These patents may never see the light of day, but a well-done transparent back panel replacement for the iPhone 14 is a sign that fans at least have something to look forward to.