iPhone 5s Teardown

20 Sep


As we ready ourselves to delve into the delightful innards of the 5s, let’s check out some of its tech specs:

    Apple A7 processor with 64-bit architecture

    M7 motion coprocessor

    16, 32, or 64 GB Storage

    4-inch retina display with 326 ppi

    8 MP iSight camera with 1.5µ pixels and a 1.2MP FaceTime camera.

    Fingerprint identity sensor built into the home button

    Available in three different colors: space-gray, silver, and gooooooold (or as we call them, Not-at-all-the-Color-of-Space, Second Place Medal, and Bling!).


Apple continues the everlasting trend of locking users out with pentalobular screws. Luckily, we came prepared. We whip out our trusty iPhone 5 Liberation Kit, and to our pleasant surprise, it works!

Unfortunately, we are ill-equipped in the color department, as we only have silver and black replacement Phillips screws.

    We are currently involved in heavy lobbying to our product designers to create 14k gold replacement screws. Stay posted.

With our iPhone 5s sufficiently liberated, it reminds us of another polka-dotted iPhone teardown coming in the near future…


We’re done screwing around; it’s time to get this baby open! Just like last year, we enlist the help of a suction cup to free the display assembly from the rear casing.

Unlike last year, we make use of some gentle spudgering, just in case…


Our careful spudgering paid off. At the bottom of the phone, a cable connects the Touch ID sensor in the home button to the Lightning port assembly.

    This adds a small element of danger to disassembly, as pulling too hard on the suction cup could cause accidental damage to the cable.

We survive this first booby trap and swiftly disconnect the Touch ID cable connector with the help of a spudger.

Alas, our first peek at the internal layout of the 5s. Comparing it to the iPhone 5, we spot very few differences, the main one being the lack of a battery removal pull-tab.



With our favorite screwdriver set, we remove a few metal connector covers and embark on the epic battle of battery removal.

The missing battery pull-tab, though seemingly innocuous, indicates a bigger problem for battery repair: glue.

Perhaps the “s” in 5s stands for “stuck,” as in “this battery is stuck in with a lot of glue,” or “I hope you didn’t want to replace your battery—you’re going to be stuck with this one.”

While we’d love a tool-less battery removal as we’ve seen in other phones, we settle for thermal battery removal via an iOpener.

Holy adhesive! It appears Apple ditched the minimal adhesive in the iPhone 5 in favor of those two huge white runways of adhesive holding the 5s(tuck) battery in place.


The 5s has a claimed 10 hours of talk time on 3G, but there are rumbles that iOS 7 isn’t doing you any favors.

The 64Gb gold unit from Desay Battery Co., Ltd in Huizhou, China sports a 3.8V – 5.92Wh – 1560mAh battery. Comparatively:

    iPhone 5: 3.8V – 1440mAh – 5.45Wh. Talk time: Up to 8 hours on 3G. Standby time: Up to 225 hours.

    Samsung Galaxy S4: 3.8 V – 2600 mAh – 9.88 Wh. Talk time: up to 7 hours. Standby time: Up to 300 hours.

    Motorola Moto X: 3.8V – 2200mAh – 8.4Wh. 24 hours of “mixed usage.”

It appears different units sport different battery manufacturers; our 16Gb “space-gray” spare (right) comes to us from Simplo Technology Inc.


With the battery safely removed, we turn to the next step in our disassembly journey: removing the (unchanged) 326 ppi Retina display assembly.

A few flicks of a spudger to disconnect the FaceTime camera, digitizer, and LCD cables, and the display is free.

    Looking for some tech specs on the display? Well look no further! In fact, just look backwards…to the iPhone 5. Despite the trend in almost every other smartphone release, the iPhone 5s display is no bigger, better, or badder than the 5.


According to Chipworks, it looks like we found a Murata 339S0205 (based on the Broadcom BCM4334) Wi-Fi module.

Again comparing our 16 and 64 GB models:

    It seems that the Murata IC is the same between both iPhone 5s’.

    The design of both logic boards may be identical, but slight differences in markings (e.g. 94V-0 on the rightmost, nonexistent on the leftmost) may indicate that Apple is manufacturing the 5s logic boards at multiple locations.


Open ses-EMI! Behold, IC treasures identified:

  • SK Hynix H2JTDG8UD3MBR 128 Gb (16 GB) NAND Flash

  • Qualcomm PM8018 RF power management IC

  • Triquint TQM6M6224

  • Apple 338S1216

  • Broadcom BCM5976 touchscreen controller

  • Texas Instruments 37C64G1

  • Skyworks 77810


  • More ICs!

    • Skyworks 77355

    • Avago A790720

    • Avago A7900

    • Apple 338S120L

  • A super-awesome thanks to Jim Morrison and the Chipworks team for helping us decode and discern these delightful devices!

  • Sl4TBYL3jxPydqEe

  • Turning our attention to the backside of the logic board:

    • Apple A7 APL0698 SoC (based on this MacRumors post, the markings F8164A1PD indicate the RAM is likely 1GB)

    • Qualcomm MDM9615M LTE Modem

    • Qualcomm WTR1605L LTE/HSPA+/CDMA2K/TDSCDMA/EDGE/GPS transceiver.

  • As we search for a much-anticipated M7 coprocessor, we begin to wonder if it actually is a separate IC, or if it is additional functionality built into the A7.

    • Maybe the “M” stands for “magical,” the M7 is invisible, and Apple does use pixie dust to hold the device together. Or perhaps the “M” stands for “marketing”…

  • Our A7 was fabbed in July.

  • PcgFf2OGYhSrZ3xj


    It’s time to investigate the new kid on the block, and it’s fly like an A7. Along with the fingerprint sensor, the A7 is a major enticement for consumers to pick the 5s over the 5c.

    The A7 is advertised as providing twice the performance of the 5 (and 5c)’s A6 processor.

        The switch to the A7 marks the first use of a 64-bit processor in a smartphone. Based on AnandTech’s review, it seems that the bulk of the A7’s performance gains do not come from any advantages inherent to a 64-bit architecture, but rather from the switch from the outdated ARMv7 instruction set to the newly-designed ARMv8.

        The modern ARMv8 instruction set was designed for a 64-bit architecture. It does away with the legacy support of the last 20 years, which increases efficiency, improving performance without sacrificing battery life.

    We’ll have to wait until we get inside the chip to find out who manufactured it.



    Time for your close-up, selfie cam!

    A few screws hold the 1.2MP FaceTime camera in place.

    While the updated pixel size in the iSight camera may get a lot of attention, DIY paparazzi is what bling iPhones are all about.


  • The lower peripherals on the 5s look very similar to those in the 5, though the speaker assembly comes out with slightly more ease in this iteration.

  • With the speaker assembly out, the headphone jack/microphone/Lightning connector assembly comes out easily.

    • As with previous generations, you will have to replace multiple components at once, since the design is not modular.

  • fuHbmw4lwoLMJXcp

  • We find another hardware update: the new dual flash.

  • White and amber LEDs sit by the camera to balance the flash-induced ghostly tones of night-life photography.


  • iPhone 5s Repairability: 6 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair)

  • 6o1P6S2hVZlkIG44

  • Just like in the iPhone 5, the display assembly is the first component out of the phone, simplifying screen replacements.

  • The battery is still fairly easy to access, even though it’s not technically “user replaceable.”

  • The battery has lost the 5’s convenient pull tab, and gained more resilient adhesive—it now requires heat and prying to remove.

  • The fingerprint sensor cable could be easily ripped out of its socket if a user is not careful while opening the phone.

  • The iPhone 5s still uses Pentalobe screws on the exterior, making the 5s difficult to open.

  • The front glass, digitizer, and LCD are all one component, thereby increasing cost of repair.

  • by ifixit

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    Posted by on 20/09/2013 in IT


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