Video Overview


Don’t want to spend $1,000 on a smartphone? This year Apple brings top-tier specs to the iPhone XR so you can get all the fancy features you want for less. Did they compromise too much? Not enough? Since when is $750 cheap? There’s only one way to find out—let’s tear it down!

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

  1. The iPhone XR may look a little different on the outside, but the specs look pretty familiar:
    • The iPhone XR may look a little different on the outside, but the specs look pretty familiar:

      • Hexa-core A12 Bionic SoC with a "next-generation" Neural Engine

      • 6.1" Liquid Retina LCD display with 1792 x 828 resolution at 326 ppi, True Tone, and wide color (P3) gamut support

      • 12 MP rear camera at ƒ/1.8 aperture with OIS, and 7 MP selfie cam paired with TrueDepth FaceID hardware

      • 64 GB of onboard storage (128 GB and 256 GB optional configs)

      • Broad cellular band support with eSIM capability and 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi‑Fi w/MIMO + Bluetooth 5.0 + NFC

      • IP67 dust/water ingress rating

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    • There were a lot of colors to choose from, but we have an affinity for blue and black.

    • Colors don't matter much when you can see through anything though! Our friends from Creative Electron gave us a sneak peek at the inside of this new iPhone with some XR-ays.

    a sneak ‘peak’ can only happen if you’re hiding behind a mountain…

    scwtech - Reply

    • Trying to stir up a bit of sibling rivalry, we stack the XR against the XS and see what differences we can spot.

    • We start our search at the bottom edge, where the XR's missing antenna band and nice symmetrical grilles remind us more of last year's X.

      • The XR inherited many of the same traits as its XS siblings, but it did not inherit speedy gigabit-LTE capabilities.

    • Switching on the displays, it's easy to see that the XR's bezels are a bit bigger—and if you get really close, the curves start to get a little rough around the edges.

    • The XR inherited a lot of features from the XS, but only got one camera—the wide-angle, while the telephoto stays with the XS.

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    • Similarities to the XS continue with the opening procedure: pentalobe screws surround the not-quite-centered-anymore charging port, and opening takes just a little help from an iOpener.

      • Differences include: surprisingly non-color-matched pentalobe screws, and a SIM slot that slid down toward the bottom of the phone.

    • One difference we can't seem to pin down is where the XS got its extra IP point—opening the XR feels about the same as the XS!

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    • The thoughtful, display-first opening procedure is over with just like that—about as painless as it gets on a water-resistant smartphone.

      • Apple perfected this design all the way back on the iPhone 5—and thankfully, they've never changed it.

    • Inside, the XR starts to look more like a fun hybrid between the 8 and the X. We're back to a rectangular battery, but there's also a rectangular logic board.

      • The question is: How many layers does that logic board have?

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    • On the way to freeing up the logic board, we're encountering a veritable plethora of standoff screws. We're used to one or two per iPhone, not X ten.

    • Luckily, we're armed and ready.

    • What's this? A modular SIM card reader! That's an iPhone first.

      • Not only does this mean quick swaps of a dead SIM reader, it also reduces the cost of replacing your logic board! Win-win!

      • This is likely a concession to the Chinese market, where eSIM is not supported—so in order to enable dual-sim functionality on Chinese models, Apple installs a dual Nano-SIM reader. The modular approach makes this much easier than it would be if the reader were soldered to the main board, as in past models.

    • The svelt, non-elbowed, single-decker logic board is now free to escape!

    With a modular Sim Reader, could it be we can swap the EU one for the Chinese sim reader and leverage true dual-sim? That would be excellent!

    Hugo Catarino - Reply

    I agree reason of modularity should be there. But I suppose is more an issue of industrialize with efficiency. Sound difficult that it would work on the ESim board ..? 3 Sim sound too much …. but is some to investigate. it may happen they put ESim hardware all over and that dual physical sims may come out swapping the modules… Thinking they have done it because sharing an advantage with users I doubt about. Is since 3 years that more and more components in the Apple lineup are soldered and not changeable and its obvious that a relevant part of their stellar margins came from an accurately strategy that consider ram sizes… or hd in the Mac arena…

    Andrea Marco Borsetti - Reply

    • With the logic board out, we get our first look at the onboard silicon:

      • Apple APL1W81 A12 Bionic SoC, layered over Micron D9VZV MT53D384M64D4SB-046 XT:E 3 GB LPDDR4x SDRAM

      • Apple/USI 339S00580 (likely a WiFi/Bluetooth module, similar to what's found in the XS)

      • NXP 100VB27 NFC controller

      • 3x Apple 338S00411 audio amplifiers

      • Skyworks 203-15 G67407 1838 (likely a power amplification module)

      • Cypress CPD2 USB power delivery IC

      • 76018 119G1

    The “76018 119G1“ module is the Qorvo PAD.

    yazhou_wang - Reply

    • More chips on the back side of the logic board. Show us your identification, please...

      • Toshiba TSB3243VC0428CHNA1 64 GB flash storage

      • Intel 9955 (likely the XMM7560 LTE Advanced Pro 4G LTE baseband processor), 5762 RF transceiver, and 5829

      • Apple 338S00383-A0, 338S00375-A1 power management IC's (possibly from Dialog Systems)

      • Texas Instruments SN2600B1 battery charging IC

      • Apple 338S00248 audio codec (possibly from Cirrus Logic)

      • Skyworks 13768 front end module

      • Broadcom 59355A2IUB4G (likely a variation of the BCM59350 wireless power receiver chip)

    I still don’t get why the speed difference in the Xr vs the Xs. If they have the same chip, shouldn’t max download speeds be the same?

    jridder - Reply

    • Moving on from the logic board, here are two more logic boards.

    • The new XR board + SIM reader (center) looks a bit like an unfolded iPhone X board (right). The sprawling iPhone 8 Plus board is shown at left for comparison.

    • This new form factor pretty much perfectly fills the gap in the evolution of iPhone logic boards.

    • A closeup via X-rays reminds us that this "simplified" iPhone logic board is still enormously complex.

    • Even more silicon hides beneath other components, like the TrueDepth camera system.

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    • With the logic board out of the way, we fish out the famous Taptic Engine!

      • Though the XR does not support 3D Touch, it does get Haptic Touch, which is basically a long touch rather than a strong touch. Looks like the haptics are driven by a familiar linear-oscillating vibration motor.

    • Next out is that rectangle battery! We're more than happy to encounter four whole adhesive pull tabs that make removal quite breezy.

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    • All four tabs perform admirably, and the 11.16 Wh battery is removed goo-free!

    • We've already heard that the XR has the best iPhone battery life yet, but just how does it stack up? Time for a battery parade!

      • Left to right, we have: iPhone 8 (6.96 Wh), iPhone XR (who is #winning), iPhone 8 Plus (10.28 Wh), and iPhone XS (10.13 Wh).

      • The XR battery looks a bit smallish compared with that of the 8 Plus—but these looks are deceiving. The XR battery is thicker, and packs more juice, not less.

      • If you're looking for an Apples-to-oranges comparison, Android is still winning the pure capacity game. The Galaxy S9+ remains champion at 13.48 Wh, and the Pixel 3 XL follows closely at 13.2 Wh.

    • While we're stacking, let's take the opportunity to X-amine some X-series X-rays. Left to right, we have the iPhone X, the XR (with its less-dense aluminum frame), and the XS Max!

    Why is the iPhone X’s induction coil wire so much thicker than the others? Was that a change from the 8/X to XR/XS generations?

    Jacob Ford - Reply

    @unitof Correct—Apple redesigned their charge coils for this year’s models. Word is they are using copper coils (as seen in the steps below) rather than ferrite polymer composite (FPC). Good eye!

    Jeff Suovanen -

    • Here’s the single rear camera—the same newly-updated wide-angle module from the XS and XS Max.

      • The single-sensor XR seems like a logical competitor for Google’s similarly-equipped Pixel 3—but Google’s phone somehow manages to blow even the dual-camera XS Max out of the water beer. Solution? More cameras, maybe.

    • We line the camera up alongside the TrueDepth system powering FaceID—which, as far as we can tell, looks pretty much unchanged from when we first saw it in the iPhone X.

    • Not to be left behind, the lower speaker is next—it's still pretty easy to remove, which is good, because you’ll probably want it out of the way for a battery replacement.

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    • Next we turn our attention to Apple’s much-discussed Liquid Retina display.

    • The XR’s LCD is 0.3” larger across than the XS’s AMOLED, but it’s also thicker and heavier—as is expected from an LCD.

      • The need for a backlight means an LCD display assembly will always necessitate a slightly larger form factor than an equivalent AMOLED assembly.

        • As far as we can tell, this thicker display assembly is what has pushed the Lightning connector off-axis.

    • Getting back into the case, we dig out the wireless charging coil for a closer look.

    • We’ve struck copper! Copper’s lower resistance (compared to FPC in the X) should mean faster charging with less heat.

    FPC also uses copper. It looks like there is just more of it now in the wire, which is reducing the resistance.

    JohnnyNoy - Reply

    • With the XR fully excavated, we display the tidbits from our dig:

    • A peek under the hood revealed design hallmarks reminiscent of both the iPhone 8 (rectangular battery, single layer board) and X (square-ish logic board, Face ID), making this the spiritual "iPhone 9."

    • But the XR isn’t all throwback—it’s got the latest silicon, and contains features entirely new to iPhones. We found Apple’s first-ever modular SIM reader, possibly there to help with their newfangled multi-SIM plans.

    • Thanks again to our good friends at Creative Electron. Now we'll leave you with a really good joke:

    • What's a pirate's favorite iPhone?

      • The X-ARRRrrrrr

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  2. Final Thoughts
    • The display-first opening procedure and easy access to the battery remain design priorities.
    • A broken display can be replaced with minimal hardware removal, and with a little care you can preserve Face ID.
    • Apple again uses tiny uncommon Pentalobe and tri-point screws to stymie repair, but these fasteners are preferred over tough glue.
    • Waterproofing measures complicate some repairs, but make difficult water damage repairs less likely.
    • Glass on front and back doubles the crackability—and broken back glass requires an entire chassis replacement.
    Repairability Score
    Repairability 6 out of 10
    (10 is easiest to repair)


It’s here! Can’t wait to see what magic they did on the display.

Sandy34 - Reply

Next year: iPhone XR GTS SS Z11 LX

Juan Martinez - Reply

iPhone XR GTS SS Z11 LX Turbo Limited Luxury 2.0 Edge

Robert G -

where is the repairability score?

Ali Dhia - Reply

Battery size is smaller than in 8plus but capacity is bigger.. hmmm

dozerator - Reply

I think it’s thicker

Haotian Zhang -

It’s stated that it’s thicker. There are more than 2 dimensions.

David Berk -

Hi I’m wondering how much difference is there between the Taptic Engine’s iPhone Xs and Xʀ have?

Houston Duane - Reply

Hey Houston, the XR and XR Taptic engines look nearly identical size-wise, but have different screw patterns!

Sam Lionheart -

I heard rumor says iPhone XR has a Force Touch coil around the screen like the ones on Apple Watch. Can you do a screen teardown and find out if it’s true?

fieldont - Reply

How much does the wireless charging coil weigh?

wenhuf - Reply

Are there any Himax Technology parts in this phone?

jritchie2004 - Reply

Could you please purchase and disassemble the CHINESE version? It should have a PHYSICAL DUAL SIM SLOT, therefore I expect some differences in the internal hardware! Thank you

Max70 - Reply

would like an update on the Qorvo PAD/ will it only be in the Chinese version ??? Hopefully someone has an explanation of why it was not found in the teardown.

ski3938 - Reply

I was in the Higuera Apple Store when Kiki bought this phone! She bought a coral one too.

Anthony Bonvino - Reply

Who’s Kiki lol?

Rafael B -

Did I miss the Teardowns wallpaper?

Pete Karnowski - Reply

I wonder if you can switch out the sim slot with the dual sim slot of the Chinese version and get a real dual sim upgrade.

Ryo Saeba - Reply

That would be really cool!

Suchiththa Wickremesooriya -

indeed. Is the ST33G1M2 e-sim chip in the sim-reader module or in the motherboard?

If we could replace the sim-reader for true dual-sim it would be excellent!

Hugo Catarino -

Yes a proper dual sim would really reduce the aggro from providers. One thing has always bothered me about these glued shut phones: What happens to the waterproofing once you have opened one using an iopener or similar soource of heat? When reassembled, will they still be waterproof? (almost certainly not?)Could you remove the old sealant and rewaterproof it properly? What would you use?

I. Margaronis - Reply

Actually, the “juice” in the battery means very little to the user. What user cares more are:

1. Can I leave home without a charger, and without hoping for a charger until I come back?

2. What performance can I expect with such battery? (in simple words - Can I run latest 3d jaw-dropping 120fps game on the device without draining it in half an hour? Will I survive a 3 hour drive with navigation software running, without a charging cable?)

3. How much do I pay for this battery, in weight? After all - anyone can stick an accessory battery and have their iPhone work for 2-3 days. Only it’s… well… heavy!

So the battery parade isn’t very helpful - and as far as my own experience taught me - Androids with huge battery, still drain twice as fast as my old iPhone SE - while presenting mediocre, never-awe-inspiring performance.

I wish someone would come up with a GOOD benchmark on power and up-time on those iPhones.

Yes, I’m an iOS software developer - I KNOW apps can kill battery and Apple can’t prevent this completely.

Motti Shneor - Reply

It is true that battery capacity is only one of many influencers of how long a phone will last.

Here’s an article that compares how long phones last browsing the web before they die.

Arthur Shi -

It’s much better that it’s iPhone 8 siblings….

I mean, once you got all the screwdrivers you need, all you have to worry about is the way to pull off that display.

Lightning connector IS still modular. Unlike the other *cough* iPad *cough* lineup.

Xavier Jiang - Reply

Can i just say, i love your teardown and everything, but its been 8 years now that Apples been using pentalobe screws, and i think that the pentalobe driver has become quite common (most repair kits you buy, either from iFixit or for $2 off of amazon have a pentalobe driver), so i don’t think it merits being in the “neutral” section of the repairability criteria…

Andrew Demetriou - Reply

Hey, Andrew, thanks for reading and commenting! Glad you enjoy the teardowns! I agree that pentalobe and tri-point drivers are more widely available now than they were eight years ago, but pentalobe and tri-point screws still aren’t used anywhere besides Apple devices. That means that even someone who’s equipped to take apart all other electronics has to order special drivers to work on Apple products, and we view that as a move toward keeping people out of their devices.

Adam O'Camb -

where the iPad Pros at?

Suchir Kavi - Reply

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