The copper sticker is almost certainly for NFC. The ring animation that was shown during the presentation when the phone is connected to the MagSafe charger is done through an NFC handshake. This is also how the phone knows it can try and charge at the higher wattage. NFC is also how the phone shows the ring animation for MagSafe cases (my red case creates a nifty red ring animation when I put it on).
I would guess that the iPhone 13/14 will eschew a physical connector and instead use a combination of the NFC from MagSafe and a version of the U1 chip (maybe a U2?) for high-speed close range data transfers without needing a physical connection. I don’t think we will see that type of high-speed data transfer on the 12 however as Apple looks to get MagSafe accessories out there.
So... Where's the teardown?
I was able to do this a few weeks ago without any major problems. I took the chance to replace the entire back plate with a new one since mine was pretty scratched up and the volume button was bent, turns out this was a great idea. A few notes: there are a couple screws under the plastic bit at the bottom that are covered with little paper stickers, I missed one of these and spent 20 minutes trying to get the phone apart before I realized it. When you go to pry the phone apart, be gentle, use lots of opening picks, and DO NOT pry at the charging port, the strip of metal along the top is pretty weak and will easily bend out of shape. There is also a plastic strip that runs around the edge of the display, be careful as you take the back off as this is easy to break. It is only a cosmetic thing but I notice the few areas that mine broke at now and then, not a huge deal overall.
You really cant. There is no hard drive in phones, only flash memory. There are some places that will use a reflow station to swap the flash modules but it is usually pricey and does not always work. Unless you have data of real value it is probably lost. For the future, make good, regular backups of any data you need just in case you ever lose/break the device.
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