iPhone 6 Plus Teardown: The Repairability Score Is In

Earlier in the day, we escaped the Apple Store hoosegow with nary a scratch, but with two phones in hand: the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus. We chose the 6 Plus to bear the brunt of our spudgers first, so let’s talk about what we found inside.

Apple has completely redesigned how the home button connects to the main board. Gone is the awkwardly short and fragile cable of the iPhone 5s days. Instead, Apple has made the effort to run the home button cable all the way to the opposite end of the phone. We’re quite happy to see this improvement! We can’t think of a reason to extend the cable this way except to improve repairability. Thank you, Apple.

After all was said, done, and dismantled, the iPhone 6 Plus earned a very respectable 7 out of 10 repairability score.

iPhone 6 Plus teardown

Teardown highlights:

• It seems Apple is reluctant to switch from Pentalobe screws to good ol’ regular Phillips screws. Luckily, we brought our Pro Tech Screwdriver Set to remove those pesky Pentalobe screws. While proprietary screws are not our favorite, we are happy that we don’t have to go straight to heat.

• After saying the magic words, the 43 gram battery mystically lifts off the rear case enclosure. In line with rumors, the battery is rated at 3.82 V and 11.1 Wh of energy, for a total of 2915 mAh—nearly double the capacity of the 1560 mAh unit in the iPhone 5s, and slightly larger than the 2800 mAh burner in the Galaxy S5. The battery is also larger than the standard iPhone 6’s 6.91 Wh, 1810 mAh battery—which explains the longer life, despite the much larger screen.

• This is new! We have something new! The vibrator assembly is located to the right of the battery, below the logic board. Inside we find a delicate array of copper coils. They create alternating magnetic fields that shake a permanent magnet mass, which rides on a couple of springs.

• The back of the iSight camera is labeled DNL432 70566F MKLAB. Phase-detection autofocus has been around for awhile in DSLRs, but is relatively new to smartphones. However, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus aren’t the first to feature it — the Samsung Galaxy S5 had it first.

• The key feature differentiating this camera from that of the standard iPhone 6 is optical image stabilization—a technology we’ve seen before. The lens element on the left is nested into a tiny metal cage, nudged to and fro by the electromagnetic coils surrounding the sensor on the right.

• We’re button-pushers around here, so we took particular interest in this fancy new rubber gasket surrounding the power button. Similar gaskets surround the volume buttons. This seems to represent a move toward increased water/dust resistance, and therefore improved durability.

  • A whole load of chip ID, thanks to our buddies at Chipworks:
    • Apple A8 APL1011 SoC + Elpida 1 GB LPDDR3 RAM (as denoted by the markings EDF8164A3PM-GD-F)
    • Qualcomm MDM9625M LTE Modem
    • Skyworks 77802-23 Low Band LTE PAD
    • Avago A8020 High Band PAD
    • Avago A8010 Ultra High Band PA + FBARs
    • TriQuint TQF6410 3G EDGE power amplifier module
    • InvenSense MP67B 6-axis gyroscope and accelerometer combo
    • Qualcomm QFE1000 Envelope Tracking IC
    • RF Micro Devices RF5159 Antenna Switch Module
    • SkyWorks 77356-8 Mid Band PAD
    • SK Hynix H2JTDG8UD1BMS 128 Gb (16 GB) NAND Flash
    • Murata 339S0228 Wi-Fi Module
    • Apple/Dialog 338S1251-AZ Power Management IC
    • Broadcom BCM5976 Touchscreen Controller
    • NXP LPC18B1UK ARM Cortex-M3 Microcontrollers (a.k.a. the M8 motion coprocessor)
    • NXP 65V10 NFC module (likely contains an NXP PN544 NFC controller inside)
    • Qualcomm WTR1625L RF Transceiver
    • Qualcomm WFR1620 receive-only companion chip
    • Qualcomm PM8019 power management IC
    • Texas Instruments 343S0694 touch transmitter
    • AMS AS3923 boosted NFC tag front end
    • Cirrus Logic 338S1201 audio codec