Tools Featured in this Teardown

Video Overview

Introduction

The tornado of new Apple devices has taken us over the rainbow, and we have landed in the world of technicolor. We now "c" the light, but what will we "c" inside? Only tools, time, and tenacity will tell.

We know you are as anxious as we are to find out exactly what the "c" means. Here at iFixit, we like to answer the hard questions in life: "Why is it called the c? Why can't Apple name devices in a way that makes sense? What will the insides be like? What does the fox say?" You asked; we answered. So join us for a colorful taste of the Apple rainbow as we tear down the iPhone 5c.

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This teardown is not a repair guide. To repair your iPhone 5c, use our service manual.

Image 1/1: This is the second teardown of today's tear-a-thon, and though this device may be feeling blue, Teardown Team morale is higher than ever! Nothing can bring us down on such a beautiful night—if only the same could be said for [http://f.cl.ly/items/273c2q0P0013473C3m35/Apple-Store.jpg|these guys].
  • It's a big day, today. We just finished the iPhone 5s teardown, and now it's time to move on to the iPhone 5c.

  • This is the second teardown of today's tear-a-thon, and though this device may be feeling blue, Teardown Team morale is higher than ever! Nothing can bring us down on such a beautiful night—if only the same could be said for these guys.

  • We've said it before, but we really want you, our adoring public, to know how grateful we are for our good friends at MacFixit Australia for letting us use their office in Melbourne for the second teardown. Remember, they stock Mac and iPhone upgrades/accessories.

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Image 1/2: What makes the iPhone 5c different from the iPhone 5s? We're bent on finding out. For starters, the rear case is composed of plastic—looks like our work here is done…
  • With an array of colors to choose from (White, Blue, Pink, Green, and Yellow), we decided upon blue.

  • What makes the iPhone 5c different from the iPhone 5s? We're bent on finding out. For starters, the rear case is composed of plastic—looks like our work here is done…

  • Technical Specs include:

    • Apple A6 system on a chip (SoC)

    • 4-inch Retina display with 326 ppi

    • 8 megapixel iSight camera

    • 4G LTE connectivity

    • 16 or 32 GB Storage

"What makes the iPhone 5c different from the iPhone 5s?"

iPhone 5 owners are actually more interested in the differences between 5c & discontinued 5.

Benjamin D - Reply

from what i can see its only the colorful cases is what is different from the 5 and 5C

David -

Image 1/3: As promised, every port, button, and slider has had its metal swapped out for plastic.
  • So what does the "c" really stand for? We've already identified a major difference in "color," but we aren't ready to close the book on this mystery, just yet!

  • As promised, every port, button, and slider has had its metal swapped out for plastic.

    • "Cheaper," per chance?

  • Not only are these parts made of plastic, they also look a lot more…"childish."

    • The volume buttons are considerably larger, and the 10-hole microphone grille and 16-hole speaker grille have been replaced with 1- and 4-hole grilles, respectively.

Why use the word childish? The iPhone 5 was the first non-plastic shell iPhone wasn't it? Was the iPhone 4 considered childish? Are all the plastic Android-based phones childish? Well, forget the last comment because everyone knows the answer.

plink53 - Reply

I know what "c" is for! And that's good enough for me.

Edis0n - Reply

The original iPhone model had an aluminum case. The 3 and 3gs were plastic. The 4's went to a glass and aluminum frame. The 5 appears to me to be more steel than aluminum. The problem I saw with the 5 is a lack of seals like the 3's which meant oxidation will form around the edges (corrosion).

ozarkana - Reply

Image 1/2: Here's how the Pentalobe screws compare in size to an Australian coin of undetermined value.
  • These super tiny Pentalobe screws are slightly different than the ones we found in the iPhone 5 and 5s.

  • Here's how the Pentalobe screws compare in size to an Australian coin of undetermined value.

    • ¡ʍouʞ oʇ ǝʌol plnoʍ ǝʍ 'sı uoıʇɐuıɯouǝp ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ ʍouʞ ɹǝpun-uʍop spuǝıɹɟ ɹno ɟo ʎuɐ ɟı pu∀

    • EDIT: it's a 50 cent coin roughly an inch in diameter for the yanks.

50 cent coin is the denomination

heathsouter - Reply

The whole "durable shell" is not really true, after checking out some Test drop videos you can really see the its much worse then the aluminium in the iPhone 5S http://www.amongtech.com/first-iphone-5s...

John Mark - Reply

17 year old fandroid performing the tests.

plink53 -

Just a small note here, the 50 cent coin in Australia is much larger than the 50 pence coin in the UK. So the photo can be misleading if you've had no experience with Australian currency. (Their notes have transparent plastic parts in them! :O )

Oliver - Reply

  • The front panel assembly is dispatched using a small suction cup. Despite the plastic backing, the display assembly of the 5c fits just as snug as the 5s and 5.

    • We are beginning to wonder if the "c" stands for "copycat".

  • Though it may look like we are performing painful dental procedures on a Smurf, we assure you that removing the 5c screws is as quick and painless as Novocain.

So do i not need a pry tool to take the screen off? Just the suction cup?

Faryn - Reply

  • Removing the battery requires the assistance of our iOpener, a departure from the easy battery replacements of yester-year.

  • After a few minutes of heat and some diligent spudgering, we leave our iPhone 5c black and blue in a pile of pieces.

  • Fear not, despite the new adhesive strips (also seen in the 5s), battery replacement is very much the same process as it was in the 5.

I think those are not adhesive strips but thermal tapes.

Prateek Garag - Reply

Image 1/2: Though the 5c is essentially a repackaged iPhone 5 (in colored plastic, in case that hadn't been made apparent, yet), the battery ''has'' been beefed up a bit, clocking in at 3.8 V—5.73 Wh—1510 mAh, compared to the 3.8 V—5.45 Wh—1440 mAh battery of the iPhone 5.
  • Checkpoint reached—battery released!

  • Though the 5c is essentially a repackaged iPhone 5 (in colored plastic, in case that hadn't been made apparent, yet), the battery has been beefed up a bit, clocking in at 3.8 V—5.73 Wh—1510 mAh, compared to the 3.8 V—5.45 Wh—1440 mAh battery of the iPhone 5.

    • Hopefully, this will address some issues with battery life brought about by the iOS 7 update.

  • Larger battery…Hmmm, could the "c" stand for battery "capacity?" It's a theory; it's probably wrong.

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  • As we go to remove the antenna connectors with our trusty spudger, we notice something we haven't seen in any recent iPhone: adhered connectors.

    • In case our years of teardown tirades were too subtle, we'll reiterate: we strongly dislike glue.

    • On a scale from 1 to taking selfies with an iPad, strongly adhered devices rank right up there with proprietary screws and people who don't appreciate cheesy puns.

  • Annoying adhesive aside, we get to removing the logic board from our little blue iFriend.

I guess the 4S isnt considered a recent iPhone even though its still being sold.

Computech - Reply

I'd much rather have the insides of my phone secured to the point where they don't fall apart in normal use. I believe that is why Apple is using glue. They don't want people coming in with phones with tiny connectors that fell apart when a little bit of glue would have kept them in place forever. I know iFixit stresses repairability but I'd rather have a device that doesn't require repairs every five minutes.

plink53 - Reply

Image 1/2: Apple A6 APL0598 application processor
  • Front side of the logic board:

    • Apple A6 APL0598 application processor

    • Qualcomm MDM9615M LTE Modem

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

  • While it's not as flashy as its newer counterpart, we have to admit a certain fondness for the A6.

  • The iPhone 5c contains Elpida B8164B3PM-1D-F 8 Gb (1 GB) DDR2 RAM under the A6 system-on-a-chip.

Again, as I commented on 5s...I am very curious about the LTE & cell chipset(s)...4 different ones, seem to be shared between 5c & 5s http://www.apple.com/iphone/LTE/ ...I am wanting to know how Apple has dealt with this...is the cell section modular/interchangeable or just different chips soldered in the same slots on the logic board?

They have a lot more iPhones to deal with than before: 5c=2 Mem sizes (only 1 on middle level iPhone in past), 5 colors, 4 LTE variations...5s=3 Mem sizes, 3 colors, 4 LTE variations. Whereas the non-LTE 4S has one cell chipset, 1 global model, 2 colors (1 mem size).

So are they using a sub-logic board that is interchangeable for 5c or 5s? How is this changed from iPhone 5 (iPhone 5 could not do LTE in emerging markets, such as china, which is why it was discontinued, they had to have 2 LTE iPhones for these new markets, so, that is one of the main reasons for 5c and kill 5, also=biggest change from 5>5c).

What is the same about 5c & 5s? How Logic board is attached?

Benjamin D - Reply

For iphone 5 they use the same PCB with different chips, for iPhone 5c/5s they use two different PCBs for US/world versions that are very different.

Tom Chai -

Just different chips soldered in the same place on the board. The circuitry is the same for each chip allowing Apple to the same board just different chip.

Alec - Reply

Image 1/1: Toshiba THGBX2G7B2JLA01 128 Gb (16 GB) NAND flash
  • The back of the logic board:

    • Toshiba THGBX2G7B2JLA01 128 Gb (16 GB) NAND flash

    • Apple 338S1164

    • Apple 338S1116 Cirrus Audio Codec

    • Qualcomm PM8018 RF power management IC

    • Broadcom BCM5976 touchscreen controller

    • Murata 339S0209 (based on the Broadcom BCM4334) Wi-Fi module.

Whose gyro and accelerometer is built in? Thank you

Mark - Reply

Image 1/1: Skyworks 77810-12
  • Backside of the logic board continued:

    • Skyworks 77810-12

    • Skyworks 773550-10

    • Avago A790720

    • TriQuint TQM6M6224

    • Avago A7900

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Image 1/3: Interestingly enough, the 5s (on the right) sports a slightly lighter display assembly, despite the addition of a fingerprint sensor and luxurious sapphire home button.
  • Since we have both of the new iPhones on the table, we'll take a little comparison tour:

    • Interestingly enough, the 5s (on the right) sports a slightly lighter display assembly, despite the addition of a fingerprint sensor and luxurious sapphire home button.

    • The 5c's 1510 mAh battery is just a hair slimmer than the 1560 mAh battery of the 5s.

  • We've been wondering if there's any chance of cross-compatibility of display assemblies between the 5c and 5s.

    • Alas, the FaceTime/speaker connectors are different sizes, killing hope of that plan.

So you mentioned that the 5s and 5c screen assemblies are incompatible, but my question is can i put an iPhone 5 screen (i.e. a white one) onto a 5c?

Ben Stone - Reply

The iPhone 5C and 5S LCD and Digitizer Assemblies have to be the same. They might have different prox flex's (camera, prox, speaker) but they are both compatible.

Alec - Reply

No. You would need an iPhone 5S screen assembly.. The connections are in a different place and are different making it so you can not use an iPhone 5 screen on an iPhone 5S/C

Alec - Reply

Could you put the 5s screen/TouchID sensor onto a 5c body? And perhaps have the 5c run the TouchID?

That's what I'd really want.

Philip Snowden - Reply

Image 1/2: Comparing the cameras on the iPhone 5c (left) and 5s (right), we see little difference between the two. The one difference between the 8 MP rear-facing cameras is the aperture. The 5c boasts an aperture of f/2.4 compared to the f/2.2 of the 5s.
  • Flip you for it! Tails or rear-facing camera?

  • Comparing the cameras on the iPhone 5c (left) and 5s (right), we see little difference between the two. The one difference between the 8 MP rear-facing cameras is the aperture. The 5c boasts an aperture of f/2.4 compared to the f/2.2 of the 5s.

  • Additionally, the vibrator motor assembly in the 5c is actually slightly larger than that of the 5s, despite its similar component design.

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Image 1/2: We may not have super strength, but we put this case to the muscle test, anyway. The results: this lacquered plastic is as strong and blue as [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captain_Planet_and_the_Planeteers|Captain Planet].
  • You've seen the internals, but a new question remains…Will it bend?

  • We may not have super strength, but we put this case to the muscle test, anyway. The results: this lacquered plastic is as strong and blue as Captain Planet.

    • It's good to know that, though the rear panel is made with plastic to presumably cut costs, Apple did not compromise build quality in the process.

  • Next we rip out the 5c's still-beating heart ports.

  • Much like internal organs, these ports are connected, so there is no easy way to get at just one of them.

    • Continuing this analogy, our ideal person, much like our ideal device, would be modular like this (work safe, we promise).

I wonder if the case is made out of plastic because it can be manufactured easier than the aluminum case. The video showing the injection molding, CNC detailing and drilling (aluminum can handle a much smaller hold than plastic since it doesn't melt at a low temperature), and robots "gluing" and placing the (probably stamped) steel antenna frames should be less expensive and faster to do than milling an aluminum block and finishing it. This process can be done in any country. I'd like to see how the individual components are added. It would be really fantastic if Apple were able to construct a robot and parts that could be totally put together my machine instead of requiring tiny hands to place tiny components and insert even tinier screws.

plink53 - Reply

So with the connections being different on the logic board for the display, would it be physical possible to swap the innards of the 5s into the 5c?

beerad - Reply

At the end of this teardown they did a side by side comparison of the 5c and 5s back housing designs and they seem to be interchangeable as they appear to have the screw holes in the same format on both 5c and 5s rear casing. I could be reading it wrong but the teardown says it will do a side by side comparison of the 5c and 5s back housing and only the only difference mentioned is the plastic vs metal.

jeremylester56 -

Image 1/2: Standing next to its sibling, iPhone 5s, the colorful 5c case looks very similar in structure.
  • All we're left with is a serious case of the blues.

  • Standing next to its sibling, iPhone 5s, the colorful 5c case looks very similar in structure.

  • The most noticeable difference is (unsurprisingly) the material.

    • The less visibly noticeable difference is weight: A greater mass of plastic is required to match the strength and durability of a lesser mass of aluminum. The 5c rear case is way heavier: 43.8 g vs 25.9 g for the 5s.

    • Nestled within the polycarbonate backing, is a steel frame that serves as an antenna and structural support.

  • As we approach the end of our teardown, we think we have solved the mystery of iPhone naming convention: and here it is.

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Image 1/2: Just like in the iPhone 5, the display assembly is the first component out of the phone, simplifying screen replacements.
  • iPhone 5c Repairability: 6 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair)

  • 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."

  • Adhesive on the antenna connectors hinder disassembly.

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

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

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

The one score down is totally unfair. Apple chose the command tapes for easy removal, and you guys took one score off just because you didn't know how to use them. This device should get at least 8, very modular design and straightforward repairs. The only frustration is the fused display

Tom Chai - Reply

24 Comments

Dear iFixit team,

is there any way you could find out, if the iPhone5S's camera could be used in an "old" iPhone5?

I would immediately order one from you, as soon as you had it in stock! :)

Thank you for your time...

eeegor87 - Reply

No unfortunately you can not.. The camera is different. The iPhone 5S has the connection for the camera on the top of the board, and the iPhone 5 has it on the bottom of the board. So the camera connection is on the under side of the 5S and the 5 has it on the top. Also the 5 has the flash connected to it. The 5S does not.

Alec - Reply

Can iphone 5c camera be replaced with iphone 5s camera? Because the assembly is remarkably similar.

Sondre Lerche - Reply

Check Here... iPhone 5C Screen Replacement https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DVHDBnU...

Gadget Guru - Reply

A friend spilled some Sangria on his iPhone 5c, and now the earpiece speaker doesn't work. I recommended swabbing it with a Q Tip and a sparse amount of Windex, but if that doesn't work I'm looking at replacing the earpiece. I do have a question on this though... could the spill have messed up the proximity sensor or the controlling chip for it? He is under warranty but I don't think Apple will replace it because it was a spill.

ozarkana - Reply

Would the iphone 5 logic board be compatible with the iphone 5c?

Dwayne Jones - Reply

Is it possible to fit the higher capacity battery from a 5S into a 5?

Martyn - Reply

My iPhone 5c battery cover is looking a bit past it and I'm thinking of changing it. Could I buy a iphone 5 cover and use that?

mick gilzean - Reply

Can someone please tell me how long it takes to disassemble this phone? (see step 16)

Jackieee - Reply

5-6min depending on the route you take to getting the screen off.

Brandon Ranson -

Hi team plz help I broke my iPhone 5 c replaced the screen twice but touchscreen won't respond and now says my phone isn't connected to Internet much app .

Angela Mcpherson - Reply

Have you tried replacing the screen?

Sam Murphy -

Is it possible to replace the A6 processor with the A8?

jesse slaughter - Reply

Can I replace the A6 processor with the A8?

jesse slaughter - Reply

my screen wont turn on since i dropped it and when i charge it it heats ups alot....help

Joe Gatewood - Reply

i dropped my 5c and the screen wont turn on, when i charge it, it gets super hot....help

Joe Gatewood - Reply

Can I put a iPhone SE into a 5C case? I love the look of pink 5c, but want so much it works like a SE, with powerful A9 and 12mp Cam

Dax Liu - Reply

Can I put an iPhone SE into a 5c case? Love the pink 5c so much, but so much wanted it works like a SE with powerful A9 and 12-mp camera.

Dax Liu - Reply

5c no loner responds to touch screen/can not slide screen to unlock device. Possible problem?

krissykuku4 - Reply

Same i tried hard resetting its still not working might be chip inside screen

Chason Banks -

5c no longer responds to touch screen. Cannot slide in order to unlock phone

krissykuku4 - Reply

iphone 5c ini tidak bagus

saya pemakain ga sampe 1 bulan sudah rusak

garansinya jga tidak ada gunanya di buat

terus kerusakan yang seperti apa yang bisa di pake untuk garansinya

mengecewakan sekali

Mark Nainggolan - Reply

my iphone5c isnt unlocking they say its the the chip a6 something like that that control the sllide unlocking

Chason Banks - Reply

Can I put an SE logic board in a 5c? Or can I carve the 5c into a 5/5s/SE shape?

balkicityfossils - Reply

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