iPhone 14 shortages could get worse than ever — here's why

Space Black iPhone 14 Pro
(Image credit: Luke Filipowicz / iMore)

Apple's iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro could be harder than ever to get hold of thanks to stress being placed on the world's largest iPhone factory. That stress, caused by ongoing COVID-19 lockdowns in China, could see iPhone manufacturing slashed by as much as 30%.

The factory, located in Zhengzhou, employs around 200,000 people. Recent reports have employees fleeing the factory to avoid fresh COVID-19 lockdowns, but Reuters reports that manufacturing capacity could fall by almost a third starting next month. The report cites an anonymous person with "direct knowledge of the matter."

Foxconn is reportedly already working to increase manufacturing capacity elsewhere including, a facility in Shenzhen city.

iPhone on lockdown

COVID-19 lockdowns are becoming increasingly problematic for China and the companies that work within its borders. Factories however are often allowed to remain open because their workers live on-site. That doesn't help when the outbreaks are local, though.

Qualcomm is by far the biggest producer of iPhones that Apple has, and with international iPhone sales still limited by a shortage of brand-new models more than a month after release, this news comes at a bad time for the company. The holiday quarter is historically a huge one for Apple and customers being unable to buy its latest phones couldn't be happening at a worse time.

Apple released its best iPhone lineup ever in September but walking into an Apple Store and picking one of the handsets up is still difficult. Online orders also show multi-week waits for delivery, although timeframes differ depending on the model and configuration chosen.

Apple's over-reliance on Chinese manufacturing has caused issues before, but it's already working to remedy that. Manufacturing capacity has already moved elsewhere, including India, in an attempt to ensure COVID-19 and other issues don't cause as much of an issue in the future. 

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.