iPhone 4S Teardown

Teardown

Teardown

Teardowns provide a look inside a device and should not be used as disassembly instructions.

iFixit: "Siri, may we disassemble you for all to see?"

iPhone 4S (Siri): "42"

iFixit: "I didn't ask for the meaning of life, Siri..."

iPhone 4S (Siri): "42 is the number of seconds you have left until I initiate the self-destruct sequence..."

iFixit: "Message received."

Apparently Siri is not too happy with our request, but when has a machine stood in the way of iFixit's exceptional team of tinkerers? Join us as we delve deep into the recesses of the new iPhone 4S.

A big thanks to MacFixit Australia for the generous use of their office in Melbourne. They stock Mac and iPhone upgrades and accessories and also carry our iFixit toolkits.

Want to be kept in the loop with the latest teardowns? Follow us on Twitter!

Also check out MJ's video review of the new iPhone 4S!

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Edit Step 1 iPhone 4S Teardown  ¶ 

  • First of all: we'd like to thank our awesome iFixit user, Markus Weiher, for taking some of the photos from Germany!

  • You asked, we delivered! The new iPhone 4S steps up to the grandest stage of them all, and iFixit is here to expose it.

  • The tech specs:

    • Apple's A5 System-on-a-Chip: 1 GHz Dual-Core Processor

    • 8 MP Rear-Facing (1080p Video Capture) + VGA Front-Facing Cameras

    • 802.11 b/g/n + Bluetooth 4.0 (oo-la-la!)

    • LED Backlit IPS TFT LCD Retina Display with a resolution of 960 x 640 pixels

    • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE + Dual-band CDMA/EV-DO Rev support (World phone)

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Edit Step 2  ¶ 

  • We finally have the much-anticipated iPhone 4S in our hands, and it sure is looking mighty fine!

  • Sticking with last year's rectangular design, the 4S looks very much like the iPhone 4 and sports the same stainless steel bezels around its perimeter.

    • Apple has supposedly fixed the antenna issue that emerged immediately following the release of the iPhone 4. Does this mean we won't be receiving a free case this year? Bummer!

  • The SIM slot is back! Since the iPhone 4S is a world phone, it will support both GSM and CDMA networks. Regardless of your carrier, you can be sure that the micro-SIM slot will be there to accept your GSM micro-SIM cards, as well as any CDMA "roaming SIM."

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Edit Step 3  ¶ 

  • Oh look! The 4S got the FCC stamp of approval. Bravo, Apple. But no gold stars from us yet...

  • The iPhone 4S's model number is A1387.

  • Notice the exterior antenna gaps around the perimeter of the iPhone 4S— Siri! You got some 'splaining to do!

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Edit Step 4  ¶ 

  • Pentalobe Screws, again? We were somewhat hoping there would be something new to keep us out this year, but it seems like our familiar friends have not moved far from their home at the bottom of the iPhone 4S.

  • A couple quick turns with our 5-Point Pentalobe Screwdriver and out they come! And guess what: our all-new pro driver was just released today. It comes in a great blue/black color, and it's guaranteed to be the best Pentalobe driver on the market. Hey, it's not like we haven't done this before.

  • Sorry, Siri. Despite your self-destruction threat, we will not be deterred. Let's see what you're hiding.

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Edit Step 5  ¶ 

  • We continue to tread largely familiar waters as we remove the back cover, the same way we did with the iPhone 4, and reveal the battery along with a mess of padded EMI shields.

  • "I must implore you not to go any further, iFixit. You do not have proper authorization," Siri firmly asserts.

  • Unfortunately, we have to stop here since the tag says "Authorized Service Provider Only."

  • Sike! That silly tag hasn't stopped us before, and today is no different.

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Edit Step 6  ¶ 

  • We finally get our first good look at the 4S's highly-acclaimed battery.

  • Look closely... closer... there it is: an extra .05 WHrs in the battery over the iPhone 4!

    • You probably want to know if you can use this battery in your iPhone 4. Sadly, it appears that the connectors are different shapes, so we'd have to say that it's not likely.

  • The iPhone 4S boasts a continuous talk time of 8 hrs on 3G, up to 14 hrs on 2G (GSM network) and up to 200 hrs on standby.

    • Comparing these times to those of the iPhone 4, the iPhone 4S offers an extra hour of talk time on the 3G network, the same amount of talk time on the 2G network, and 100 hours less standby time.

    • Taking into account the upgrade in hardware that comes with the 4S, though, the power consumption seems rather efficient.

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Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • A quick flick with our spudger disconnects the rear-facing camera.

  • The iPhone 4S turns up the heat with its new 8 megapixel camera.

  • 8 MP is great and all, but as we all know, it's not just about the tools; it's about how you use them. The iPhone 4S knows how to use every last one of those pixels.

    • Apple boasts 73% more light with "next-generation backside illumination" for better low-light performance. Want pictures fast? This camera is roughly 33% faster and can snap multiple photos less than a second apart.

  • Still pictures not your thing? How about HD video at 1080p and 30 fps?

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Edit Step 8  ¶ 

  • With the help of our iPhone opening tool, we pop out the logic board.

  • The iPhone 4S logic board bears a close resemblance to its stateside CDMA counterpart. Once those EMI shields are off, though, we'll have a better idea of where the similarities stop.

    • Until then, what else can we do with an L-shaped block?

    • "Please halt all destructive activity" Siri responds upon hearing our intentions. Apparently she can still talk with her battery removed. Could she be running on pixie dust, perhaps?

  • Notice the white triangular sticker located on the right EMI shield? We did too... it's our dreaded enemy, the liquid indicator.

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Edit Step 9  ¶ 

  • We had to use our teeth, but we finally managed to rip the EMI shields off. The logic board now bares its soul:

    • Apple A5 Dual-core Processor (more on this later)

    • Qualcomm RTR8605 Multi-band/mode RF Transceiver. Chipworks has provided us with a die photo.

    • Skyworks 77464-20 Load-Insensitive Power Amplifier (LIPA®) module developed for WCDMA applications

    • Avago ACPM-7181 Power Amplifier

    • TriQuint TQM9M9030 surface acoustic wave (SAW) filter

    • TriQuint TQM666052 PA-Duplexer Module

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Edit Step 10  ¶ 

  • More fun chips on the logic board include:

    • TI 343S0538 touchscreen controller

    • STMicro AGD8 2135 LUSDI gyroscope

    • STMicro 8134 33DH 00D35 three-axis accelerometer

    • Apple 338S0987 B0FL1129 SGP, believed by Chipworks to be a Cirrus Logic audio codec chip

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Edit Step 11  ¶ 

  • How 'bout a close-up of that Apple A5 chip? 1 GHz Dual-core processor with 512 MB of DDR2 RAM... Yowza.

    • How do we know it's 512 MB? Check out the marking, specifically E4E4, denoting two 2 Gb LPDDR2 die—for a total of 4 Gb—or 512 MB. Thanks, Anandtech!

    • Oh hey, what's this? According to Chipworks, our German iPhone (marked in red) has Samsung DDR2 RAM, while the Aussie iPhone 4S (yellow) contains Elpida DDR2 RAM!

  • If Siri has an address, this is it. Though iCloud integration can be used with any iOS 5 device, Siri only works with the dual-core-equipped iPhone 4S.

    • Come on out, Siri. We don't wanna hurt ya. We just wanna talk.

  • Chipworks was cool enough to provide us with a die photo of the A5 processor.

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Edit Step 12  ¶ 

  • Let's see what's on the other side. Siri, roll over... Thank you.

    • Qualcomm MDM6610 chipset (an upgrade from the iPhone 4's MDM6600)

    • Apple 338S0973, which appears to be a power management IC, according to Chipworks.

    • Reading the covered chip at an angle reveals "PM8028," which is a Qualcomm power management IC.

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Edit Step 13  ¶ 

  • Murata SW SS1830010.

    • We suspect that this contains the Broadcom chip that reportedly provides Wi-Fi/Bluetooth connectivity, just like in teardowns past.

  • One more EMI shield comes off and we find another goodie:

    • Toshiba THGVX1G7D2GLA08 16 GB 24 nm MLC NAND flash memory.

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Edit Step 14  ¶ 

  • We find the same 960 x 640 pixel Retina display that debuted in the iPhone 4 last year.

  • The hardware might not be new, but the iPhone's display is still impressive. Graphics performance is also likely to be improved with the A5 powering it.

  • We noted that the Verizon and AT&T iPhone 4's display assemblies had different mounting tab locations. While most of the 4S has resembled the CDMA iPhone 4, the display assembly appears to be very similar the one found in the GSM version at first glance. Unfortunately, it's not the same.

  • What appears to be the ambient light sensor and infra-red LED for the proximity sensor comes off the display assembly.

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Edit Step 15  ¶ 

  • Cryptic markings under the display cable read FA11 110717 4M0 816-0420 05 768 46 37.9 1032 GZ MB, or more commonly known as "Attack at dawn from the north."

  • Crikey! We've provoked the flex ribbon cable connectors! Stand back! They seem to be guarding the markings C1113320826DJGHT-A1MOXF... possibly the code for unlocking the pixie dust vault?

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Edit Step 16  ¶ 

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Edit Step 17  ¶ 

  • A peek at the underside of the home button.

  • Legend has it that if you press the home button from this side, your iPhone will actually be sent to the moon (we refrained from testing this theory).

  • Again, notice the white and red liquid indicator strips.

Image #1

Edit Step 18  ¶ 

  • Siri, please stop staring at us like that. Come on, you knew we had to see what was inside; we're curious, ya know?

  • To get Siri to stop staring, we recruit the help of our plastic spudger to remove the second camera.

  • The front-facing VGA camera is good for exactly two things:

    • Communicating via FaceTime

    • Taking self portraits a la Myspace Facebook Google+

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Edit Step 19  ¶ 

  • We have reached the end of our journey. We are happy to announce that not a single trace of any Cyberdyne Systems components were found...it seems for the time being our judgment day is not upon us.

  • iPhone 4S Repairability Score: 6 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair). Very little has changed from the iPhone 4 in terms of repairability.

    • The iPhone 4S is still held together primarily with screws and limited adhesive.

    • The rear panel and battery are both easy to remove and replace (provided you have the right kit and/or correct screwdriver).

    • Apple is again using Pentalobe screws to secure the rear panel and keep people out

    • The LCD and glass -- a carryover from the previous generation -- are fused together, making cracked glass repair more costly.

    • Lots of smaller components are soldered to one ribbon cable, increasing the cost of repairing just one component.

Required Tools

Spudger

$2.95 · 50+ In stock

Phillips #00 Screwdriver

$5.95 · 50+ In stock

Recommended Tools

Universal Drive Adapter

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iFixit Lock Pick Set

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Inspection Scope

$39.95 · 50+ In stock

Frictionless Ratchet

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Portable Anti-Static Mat

$34.95 · 42 In stock

Popular Device Products

iPhone 4S Display Assembly

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Comments Comments are onturn off

Is that true? Do we know for sure that the A5 is under clocked to 800? (yes i know about the geekbench scores, but I wasn't sure if that was a test model or a final product)

If its a 1000 Ghz chip, will it be possible (without jailbraking) the phone to increase the frequency to its native clock speed?

Jerry Ross, · Reply

It will likely be possible, through jailbreaking, to increase the clock speed. But, this will be at the expense of reduced battery life. Furthermore, once you see the speed of this phone you likely won't see a need to increase the clock speed.

Noel,

Does it really have 512MB RAM?

Juan, · Reply

Yes, that has been confirmed and, again, 1GB of RAM would have resulted in far less battery life. A Microsoft employee has recently blogged about how the increased RAM on their phones would have severely reduced battery life as the RAM has to be kept active even when not in use.

Apple is very deft in making sure they can keep the battery life up while still providing an extremely enjoyable user experience and acceptable speed (in fact, much increased speed in this device over the iPhone 4). Remember, it's about the total user experience, not individual specs.

Noel,

You said the the Retina Display is the same as the iPhone 4, but I've read in some reviews that the display is exhibiting less contrast, with blacks being washed out more than the previous iteration. Can you confirm that the display has the same manufacturer or is in any way different SKU/part#?

soopermodel12, · Reply

Please turn over the image sensor and let us know what it is.

robkientz, · Reply

Did Apple end up going with Sony for the camera, or is it still by Omnivision?

michaelgar2000, · Reply

So, The iphone 4 screens can be used on the the iphone 4S, is that correct?

Can someone give a list of parts that are not interchangable please. so far i see:

Front Camera

Back Camera

Battery

Back Glass (markings)

any more?

PS: I'm not a fan of the attempted humour on this teardown, simple facts and not milked SiRi jokes would be better appreciated I feel.

Dave, · Reply

Can you do the same with the "new" ipod touch, I want to know if there is any difference with the 4g

amigui, · Reply

I didn't see any mention in the iPhone 4S teardown about the proximity sensor.

I've had my iPhone 4 replaced 3 times, first for the proximity sensor problem, then for the yellow screen, finally because it wouldn't install IOS 5.

The second replacement phone also had intermittent problems where my ear would put the phone on mute, or start 'dialing' while I was on a call.

I'm really interested to find out if they did anything about this with the new phone.

Rick DeNatale, · Reply

Thanks for the teardown, brilliant as usual. But I'm wondering about the new antenna configuration. On the 4, the antenna was two isolated pieces - as shown here http://images.anandtech.com/reviews/gadg... - but on the 4S it seems to be three isolated pieces. Which of these are antennas, and for which radios? I'm wondering what they've done to address the "death grip" problem.

zoara, · Reply

Are the Verizon iPhone 4 backplates compatible with the iPhone 4S (all carriers)?

jackassalloveragain, · Reply

Where is the GPS module? Still Broadcom chip?

jianbob, · Reply

does the camera rattle? as its reported to happen in several iphone 4s that they have rattle issue including me!

Martyn, · Reply

Thanks.

neoroman, · Reply

I know this comment is a little late, but you said that this was a German iPhone 4S, right? Have you done a tear down an either an AT&T version of the retail unlocked version of the 4S?

Ryan, · Reply

how to managed to rip the EMI shields off ?

which chips is block network ?

deafjohn, · Reply

I would like to know if the full opening procees does affect warranty provided for the terminal / smartphone, there are some seals around that must not be broken until the device goes on an authoryzed service and i have some questions about some technical issues found here on the iPhone 4s reviews in the reviewing area and specifications...

Adrian, · Reply

Thanks for sharing this info. Now I know how to unlock my Iphone!

bryanflake1984| http://www.aceofdiamonds.com.au/engageme...

bryan, · Reply

A new myth says volume buttons and mute switch on iPhone 4S are in a slighly different position, meaning current iPhone 4 cases does not fix, plus the supposedly fixed 4S antenna can not be used on the iPhone 4. Is this myth confirmed, plausibe or busted?

HQuest, · Reply

They're the same as the Verizon iPhone 4, but slightly different from the AT&T iPhone 4.

Biochao,

yes, I can confirm they are different than the att GSM iphone 4. As such, the bumpers will NOT fit correctly. The case partially occludes the vibrate switch and the volume buttons on the case are not hitting centered on the iphone buttons. Drilling out the hole for the mute switch to be slightly larger fixed the problem for me. The volume buttons work well enough.

Jerry Ross,

Where would one obtain the very nice driver you use to open the back of the phone?

Mark Baran, · Reply

s/Sike!/Psych!/

Troy, · Reply

You mean Psych?

Persistent Sound, · Reply

Psych, Psyche, Sike? It's tough to determine the correct spelling for a slang word. We chose to go with "sike" simply because it looks cool and Urban Dictionary featured it as their word of the day on November 24, 2007. :)

Jake Devincenzi,

Urban dictionary? Aside from the fact that anybody can write anything there, most of the entries agree that "sike" is a misspelling of "psych". And "psyche" is pronounced "sikee", and it's a different concept.

cityzen,

is the rear facing camera the Omnivision sensor or the Sony one? Looks like the OVTI one.

Chris, · Reply

A lot of people are asking, will this plug up to an Iphone 4, and will the Iphone 4 hardware support 8mp picture taking?

hectordtruong, · Reply

Anyone know what the Audio Chip is?

sanduneboi, · Reply

are you sure both triquint chips are power amps/ some are saying one is just a filter??

ski3938,

Are there any changes to the GPS chip in the iPhone 4S compared to iPhone 4? I noticed in the iPad 2 tear down you labeled it's GPS chip as a "monolithic". Is that monolithic vs. assisted GPS?

Jim Termini, · Reply

The iPhone 4S's A5 is clocked at 800 MHz.

Aerocowboy, · Reply

Even if Apple has limited the chip's performance, the A5 is still a 1 GHz processor.

David Hodson,

Since iPad 2 it is known that:

- Apple PN 339S0130 means DDR2 dies are from Samsung

- Apple PN 339S0137 means DDR2 dies are from Elpida

Apple PN is on A5 package

Dimitar, · Reply

Audio chip is still Cirrus Logic as you can tell by Apple 338S0973 chip that ChipWorks thinks is a Power IC. Its not ..its the Codec.

Midas Capital, · Reply

Status LED?

Jon Evans, · Reply

Can you see which company makes the ambient light sensor?

Allen Marecki, · Reply

The barcode decodes to

FA111107174MO816-0420057684637.91032GZMB

(all on one line).

Solak Vaslovic, · Reply

The new vibration motor is know as an Linear Resonant Actuator (LRA) : http://www.precisionmicrodrives.com/vibr...

TJrundy, · Reply

Is it in any way possible to swap the front facing camera for a better one? I hate that camera. It's garbage.

aenima133, · Reply

And the MOST important thing: Mirror

Idont, · Reply

Is the back glass more break proof (Gorilla glass perhaps) than the previous generation?

Mark Granger, · Reply

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