The “New” MacBook Pro

November 8, 2011 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — Phillip

With the recent wave of mildly-updated “new” products from Apple, we were skeptical that the “new” MacBook Pro would be significantly different from the one it replaced. But, being the inquisitive folk we are at iFixit — and feeling it was our civic duty to investigate the matter, come hell or high water — we pulled out the checkbook and bought one, just to be sure.

Our initial skepticism was validated after pulling off the lower case with our trusty Phillips #00 screwdriver: nothing appeared to have changed. But a closer look within revealed that Apple did make some teeny-tiny modifications to its “new” laptop. Sadly, those changes did not involve any magic unicorns.

Everything seems to be identical to the previous generation at first glance.

The number of graphics memory chips has grown, resulting in double the graphics memory (how about that!) from last year’s model. Looking back at the last MacBook Pro teardown, we find Apple left room for an extra 2 Gb of graphics memory, which they apparently took advantage of this time. The only other big changes worth mentioning are the updated Radeon graphics processor and slightly faster i5 and i7 processors. If you’re keen on details, click on the logic board images below for a full-resolution peek. Fair warning for 56K users: the images may take a while to load, as they’re ginormous.

The growing population of graphics memory can be seen at the bottom center of the logic board.

Shiny new processors!

All in all, any changes to the new Pro are only hardware updates, leaving the internal and external design untouched. We get our hopes up every time Apple says they’ve got something new for us, but recently have become a bit disappointed with their definition of “new.” Undoubtably, the updated MacBook Pro is a little faster and yes, it’s a great computer, but if they’re not going to make significant changes to their machines, can they stop piquing our interest with the n-word? These things don’t run cheap!

Dozuki Open Beta: Let’s start a documentation revolution

November 1, 2011 Site News — eric

In the process of building iFixit, we spent years thinking about the best way to collaborate to write and publish online manuals. As you can tell from the way things work around here, we did a halfway decent job. And we’ve been pestered with requests to run online documentation sites like iFixit for other companies. We’re always looking for interesting ways to fund our mission of teaching everyone to fix everything, so we decided to make that possible.

Dozuki is reimagining how businesses publish instruction manuals, and today we’re excited to announce the launch of our public Beta. Now, anyone can leverage the platform that powers sites like and

Dozuki is the best way to write manuals. Teach people how to do anything– from maintaining a motorcycle to crafting a wooden table or creating a toy robot. We make it easy for you to teach people how to do amazing things.

Start your Dozuki site today!

It’s time for a documentation revolution.

Look at the example manuals above. Do they seem familiar? Well, unless you were around for the First World War they shouldn’t. Since these manuals were originally written, the world has seen a dramatic acceleration in the manufacturing revolution and the dawn of a digital age.

Even more recently, we’ve undergone a communications transformation: all of those previously printed documents are now distributed online via PDFs downloadable from the manufacturer’s website. Even the production process has changed dramatically. Manuals like these are now authored digitally, often utilizing specialized documentation software.

But very little has really changed since the early 1900s. Companies still churn out static manuals that expire quickly: the documentation is written once and then left to age poorly, unrevised until drastically different product revisions force an update.

The world needs living manuals that improve over time, use rich multimedia to convey technical instruction, and are just as mobile as people are. The world needs Dozuki.

Documentation: Content marketing at its finest.

With Dozuki, technical writers and super users alike will have cause for celebrating. Step-by-step guides really accomplish two important goals: they give users valuable resources for solving problems quickly, and they provide a venue for showcasing products. Dozuki-powered manuals allow organizations to effectively evaluate the financial impact of the individual efforts made by members of their documentation teams and user communities.

For example, take iFixit’s “Installing iPhone 4 Display Assembly” guide. This guide alone has over 1 million views; it’s the first search result in Google for its title; and it’s brought in $39,895.34 of referred sales for iFixit’s iPhone 4 Display Assembly.

Effective documentation drives profits. Engaging passionate customers helps documentation stay relevant and generates additional sales as those users are empowered to create and update the support content.

Manuals have remained unchanged for too long. Dozuki is the next evolution in technical documentation. Learn more about the Dozuki platform or get instant access to the Beta at

One more thing…

In honor of our Dozuki Open Beta launch, we’re now selling Dozukis on iFixit!

A dozuki is a saw used to make fine cuts into softer woods. Originating in Japan, it allows the user to create a narrow, precise cut due to its thin blade construction.

It is also unique in its design as it only cuts on the pull stroke, as opposed to the European standard (where the saw cuts on the push stroke). Accordingly, the woodworker can use gravity to their advantage when cutting with the saw, but they cannot put their weight into the cut like one could with the European saws.

A Peek Inside the iPod Touch 5th Generation

October 20, 2011 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — jake

It’s easy to overlook that a “new” iPod Touch recently came out of Apple HQ, especially since all the craziness of the iPhone 4S launch is still in full effect. We say “new” in quotes because we learned our lesson with the “new” Nano that was also released the same day — our teardown showed the Nano’s internals were almost identical to the previous year’s model.

After last year’s 4th Generation Touch brought such awesome upgrades — Apple A4 system-on-a-chip, 3-axis gyroscope, two cameras, and Biggest Loser-esque weight loss — we were more than eager to see what the 5th Generation would bring. So what does this year’s Touch have in store?

After close examination, we confirmed that the front panel is, in fact, white. +1 for us. So far so good.

And… that’s about it. To our dismay there is not much else different between the iPod Touch released last year and the one released last week. The disassembly process is identical to that shown in the 4th Generation Teardown, and all of the internals appear to be the same as well. Even the repair-unfriendly ribbon cable connecting the soldered volume buttons to the logic board is right where Apple left it.

Though we observed no drastic changes to the Touch’s innards, we proceded to closely examine the logic board:


Notable differences between the 4th Generation and 5th Generation iPod Touch logic boards include the following:

  • Possible upgrade to the WiFi/Bluetooth chip package by Murata with part number RV KM1721006
  • New markings VT1K3441AQ on the A4 chip, whereas last year’s A4 had K4X2G643GE markings
  • New gyroscope with markings AGD8 2131
  • 2129 33DH chip next to the gyroscope seems to have been packaged in the same die with the gyroscope in last year’s Touch

Even though this year’s iPod Touch yielded only minimal changes, we wouldn’t want to rob anyone of a nice layout shot, so here you go:

We’re quite hopeful that next year Apple releases a “Midas Touch” version of the music player, encased in solid gold. They can keep all the hardware the same and just call it “new” again!

iFixit on your iPhone

October 18, 2011 Repair Guides, Site News — Matt

The days of lugging around clunky service manuals are coming to a close. We need our documentation to be as mobile as we are. We need to be able to get into tight spots without having to flip pages. And we need to be able to travel without having to bring a library of documentation with us.

We at iFixit heartily believe that our manuals should keep pace with our mobility; we’ve worked ’round the clock to make this belief a reality. You’ve tasted the first fruits of our labor a while back: the iFixit App for the iPad, as well as one for the HP Touchpad.

We’re excited to announce that the iFixit app is now available for the iPhone and iPod Touch as well! Access all of our guides in a stunning native view wherever you go. You can search by device to find all related guides quickly and easily… But it gets better.

The new app now lets you browse iFixit repair guides even if you’re offline. Just favorite or bookmark a guide and it will be downloaded to your iDevice for offline use. So the next time you need to change the spark plugs on your hog out in the Mojave and you don’t have internet access, you needn’t fear. You have a library of repair in your pocket — but without all the heft.

iPhone screenshots of an iPad battery replacement guide.

iPhone screenshots of an iPad battery replacement guide.

iPhone 4S Camera Made by Sony

October 14, 2011 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — Miro

Chipworks definitely has some fancy equipment inside their labs. They took apart one of their iPhone 4S units this morning (using our teardown for guidance, of course) and tossed the 8MP camera directly under an infrared microscope to find out the manufacturer.

The infrared microscope allowed them to look through the whole structure down to the base layer. They saw die markings several layers below the surface.

So what did they see? S O N Y.

The pictures below are of the Sony designation inside the camera. Note that the camera itself is significantly smaller than a dime.

"Sony" spelled out nice and clearly

"Sony" spelled out nice and clearly


X-ray cross-section of the 8MP Sony camera

X-ray cross-section of the 8MP Sony camera

You can read more info on the camera discovery straight from the horse’s mouth, or check out more awesome hi-res images of the iPhone 4S innards on our teardown. There is no third option.

iPhone 4S Teardown

October 14, 2011 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — Miro

We sent our henchmen around the world to track down the elusive iPhone 4S, and they found it. With the help of an iFixit user hailing from Germany, Markus Weiher, the iFixit team successfully dismantled Apple’s latest creation. Not even Siri’s incessant urgings and warnings were enough to deter our team from dissecting it!

If you’re one of the billions who’s pre-ordered this phone and you want to peek inside, follow our teardown guide and see for yourself. All you need is a spudger, a Phillips #00 screwdriver, a Pentalobe screwdriver, and the will to explore. Leave your warranty at the door — you won’t need it where you’re going.

Opening the 4S was no more (nor less) challenging than the iPhone 4. We’re always pleased to find a limited amount of adhesive in our patients, and easily removable rear panels are always a plus. However, the same pesky proprietary screws are present, and it’s never a joy to encounter fused (read: expensive to replace) displays. All things considered, the new iPhone 4S isn’t any easier or harder to repair than last year’s model, so it gets the same 6 out of 10 repair score as the previous-gen iPhone 4.

Teardown highlights:

  • Pentalobe screws, again? We were hoping there would be something new to keep us out this year, but it seems that our familiar five-sided 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!
  • Look closely… closer… there it is: an extra .05 watt-hours in the battery over the iPhone 4! That small change gives you an extra hour of talk time on 3G, but 100 hours less standby time. Go figure.
  • In true iFixit fashion, we removed the EMI shields for your viewing pleasure. The logic board now bares its electronic soul:
  • Apple A5 dual-core processor with 512 MB RAM
  • Toshiba THGVX1G7D2GLA08 16 GB NAND flash memory
  • Qualcomm MDM6610 baseband chipset
  • Qualcomm PM8028 power management IC
  • Qualcomm RTR8605 Multi-band/mode RF transceiver
  • Murata SW SS1830010. We suspect that this package contains the Broadcom chip that reportedly provides Wi-Fi/Bluetooth connectivity, just like in some of the past teardowns.
  • Skyworks 77464-20 load-insensitive power amplifier (LIPA) module developed for WCDMA applications
  • Avago ACPM-7181 power amplifier
  • TriQuint TQM9M9030 multi-mode quad-band power amplifier module
  • TriQuint TQM66052 (possibly a PA-duplexer module)
  • Mysterious Apple chip with markings 338S0987 B0FL1129 SGP
  • Oh hey, what’s this? According to Chipworks, our German iPhone has Samsung DDR2 RAM (K3P markings on the A5 processor), while our Australian iPhone 4S contains Elpida DDR2 RAM (B40 markings on the A5 processor)!
  • 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 the same as the one found in the GSM version.
  • It appears that Apple elected to go with the linear oscillating vibrator that we found in the Verizon iPhone 4, as opposed to the rotational electric motor with counterweight in the AT&T version. This vibrator motor is quieter, softer, and all-around less annoying than its counter-weighted predecessor.
  • We noticed several white and red liquid indicator strips placed throughout the phone. So don’t let your friends pee on it! (No, seriously)
  • Good news: not a single trace of any Cyberdyne Systems components were found… it seems for the time being our judgment day is not upon us.
Removing the 8MP camera

Removing the 8MP camera


Final layout

Final layout

Apple Thunderbolt Display Teardown

September 28, 2011 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — Miro

The big box we’ve been waiting for finally arrived. That’s right, Apple’s Thunderbolt Display crashed the party, and not a moment too soon. After managing to hoist this beast onto our operating table — while being mindful not smudge its 500 square inches of arsenic-free glass — we promptly grabbed our scalpels and went to work.

We got the warm fuzzies when we found out that no proprietary tools were required to dissect Apple’s colossal display. In fact, all you really need to pull the guts out of this machine are some heavy duty suction cups, Torx T6 and T10 screwdrivers, and maybe a spudger here and there.

All in all, we were struck by the Thunderbolt Display’s ease of disassembly, and its 8 out of 10 repairability score reflects our admiration. But what did we find inside? Lots and lots of goodies that usually don’t come standard with an LCD monitor. Although monitors usually don’t cost as much as a laptop, either.

Teardown highlights:

  • The LG display found inside is model number LM270WQ1. It’s the same display found in the iMac Intel 27″ from October of 2009, as well as the same basic LG display found in Dell’s competing 27″ monitor  — though the Apple version uses LED backlights as opposed to Dell’s traditional CCFL. Dell’s version is also matte, something that lots of Mac users have been complaining about since the old 30″ Cinema Display was discontinued.
  • The 27-inch (diagonal) TFT active-matrix LCD has a resolution of 2560 by 1440 pixels, the standard for displays of this size and price. Its 12 ms response time and 16.7 million colors, however, fall short of the 6 ms response time and 1.07 billion colors of Dell’s comparable display. We might be splitting hairs here, but those hairs would be viewed with 1,053,300,000 less colors on Apple’s display. Just saying.
  • The fan is easily removed simply by detaching a couple of connectors and unfastening a few screws. Apple has, as usual, chosen to go with a large, brushless fan to keep the colossal Thunderbolt Display cool and quiet.
  • Interestingly enough, the Thunderbolt cable that routes into the display also plugs into a standard Thunderbolt socket on the logic board. Apple could have just soldered the cable wires to the board, but instead chose to implement a cover that prevents the cable from being detached from the logic board’s Thunderbolt socket.
  • Both sides of the logic board are packed with enough chips that it’s hard to believe there’s no computer inside this display. Standouts include:
  • Pericom PI7C9X440SL PCIe-to-USB 2.0 host controller
  •  L129NB11 EFL, which looks to be the Thunderbolt port controller
  • Analog Devices ADAV4601 audio processor
  • NXP LPC2144 USB 2.0 microcontroller
  • Delta LFE9249 10/100/1000 Base-T LAN filter
  • SMSC USB2517-JZX USB 2.0 hub controller
  • Maxim MAX9736B Mono/Stereo high-power Class D amplifier
  • LSI L-FW643E-2 open host controller interface
  • Broadcom BCM57761 Gigabit ethernet controller
  • Supertex HV9982 3-channel switch-mode LED driver IC
  • We found some massive speaker enclosures near the side edges of the Thunderbolt Display and eagerly removed the screws holding them in place. Turns out the Thunderbolt Display comes with a 49 Watt 2-speaker sound system, including a miniature subwoofer.
  • We made quick work of the few screws and connectors that held the Flextronics power supply in place and found that this puppy provides 250 watts of maximum continuous power!
Taking out the LCD panel

Taking out the LCD panel

Disconnecting the Thunderbolt cable from the logic board
Disconnecting the Thunderbolt cable from the logic board
A wallpaper made from one of the Thunderbolt Display's chips. Click to view in native 2560 x 1440 resolution.

A wallpaper made from one of the Thunderbolt Display's chips. Click to view in native 2560 x 1440 resolution.

Samsung Epic 4G Touch Teardown

September 20, 2011 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — Miro

Sprint’s version of the Samsung Galaxy S II has finally graced the iFixit team with its presence. It arrived on our shores just last week and was branded by Sprint as the Epic 4G Touch. Although we’ve watched this phone’s reputation grow throughout Europe, we were very excited to see what all the hullabaloo was about.

We were delighted to find that taking apart this allegedly Epic phone was not too challenging. In fact, the Epic 4G Touch appears to fare better than its overseas cousin in terms of disassembly and repair. Expect to use a Phillips #00 screwdriver and a plastic opening tool if you want to see what’s inside. Expect significant trouble if you try to replace a cracked display.

We wanted to reward the Epic 4G Touch with a laudable repairability score — you can disassemble most of the phone with just basic tools — but its fused display and glass knocked it back a couple points. The iFixit team gave it a very reasonable 7 out of 10 for repairability.

Teardown highlights:

  • The glass panel and AMOLED display are fused, making cracked screens a costly repair. And you have to use a heat gun to take the two apart. So don’t drop your phone!
  • The Epic 4G Touch has slightly more girth than its overseas counterpart, the Galaxy S II. At 9.65 mm and 128 grams, the device gained a millimeter and a 14 grams during its trip to the U.S.
  • Unfortunately, Samsung and Sprint decided not to include NFC support in this variant of the Galaxy S II, which means no Google Wallet support either.
  • We love phones with batteries that are easy to replace, and this device fits that mold — just pop off the back cover. The 1800 mAh Li-ion battery in the device has a claimed battery life of 8.7 hours of continuous talk time and 10.5 days on standby. Compare this with the Galaxy S II’s 1650 mAh battery.
  • The Samsung Epic 4G Touch does not come with a microSD card. If 16 GB of internal memory isn’t enough for you, you’re going to have to spring for your own card.
  • A Phillips #00 screwdriver from our 54 piece bit driver kit and some plastic opening tools allow us to take apart most of the phone. There’s a total of 9 Phillips #00 screws to remove in the whole device.
  • We are pleased to announce that the device doesn’t house a smorgasbord of EMI shields and that its single EMI shield is removable with only a few gentle pries. It made our job easier (and less destructive) for this teardown.
  • The front-facing camera assembly is paired along with what seems to be the LED/ambient light sensor. Since these components share the same ribbon cable, overall repair cost increases if just one component fails.
  • Motherboard chips include:
  • Samsung K3PE7E700B-XXC1 Dual-Core 1.2 GHz Processor
  • Samsung KLMAG4FEJA-A003 16 GB Flash Memory
  • Broadcom BCM4330XKFFBG 802.11 a/b/g/n MAC/Baseband/Radio with Integrated Bluetooth 4.0+HS and FM Transceiver/Receiver
  • Avago ACFM-7325 Band Class 14 PCS/Band Class 10 Cellular Band Quadplexer
  • Toshiba TC31501AAMBG
  • Maxim MAX8997 Power Management IC
  • Maxim MAX8893C Power Management IC
  • Qualcomm QSC6085 CDMA Processor
  • Yamaha YMU823 Audio Codec
  • Newsflash: The display on this Samsung phone is manufactured by Samsung. How about that!
  • AMS452GN05 is the official designation on the display ribbon cable, and it looks to be manufactured around January 11th of 2011.
  • We found the Atmel mXT224E mutual capacitance touchscreen controller. The sneaky fella was hiding on the rear side of the display assembly.
Separating the midplane from the display
Separating the midplane from the display
Final layout

Final layout

Droid Bionic Teardown

September 12, 2011 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — Miro

Motorola’s Droid Bionic ties its cousin, the Atrix, as the most repairable smartphone we’ve torn down. All you really need is a Torx T5 screwdriver (and some untrimmed fingernails, if you want to forego plastic opening tools) to take the whole phone apart!

Not surprisingly, it received a 9 out of 10 repairability score, as the phone is held together with a limited number of screws and plastic clips. Adhesive is minimally used in its construction, and many components can be replaced individually — they’re not tied together with long, delicate ribbon cables. Heck, you can even replace the LCD separately from the glass!

It warms our DIY hearts to disassemble devices like the Bionic. It gives us hope for a world where people fix their devices instead of tossing them in the trash.

Teardown highlights:

  • A sticker, some clips, and a few — ahem, ELEVEN — screws around the perimeter of the Bionic are all that prevent us from peeking inside. All screws are of the Torx T5 variety, which are easily surmountable using iFixit’s 54-piece bit driver kit.
  • We were greeted by a forest of EMI shields once we removed the rear cover. It took us forever to desolder all the shiny squares.
  • We disconnected the loudspeaker from the otherwise unexciting rear case; it looked to be ideal for proclaiming the characteristic “Drooooooiiiiid” upon powering on the phone.
  • The 4G LTE SIM card module is held in place by two additional screws — and that’s the extent of screw-type fasteners inside this phone. They’re also the same T5 Torx size, meaning you only need one screwdriver to take apart the phone.
  • We’re relieved to see that Motorola isn’t using the same long ribbon cables found in some of their other devices. This is wonderful, since it means you don’t have to replace two or three fully functional components that are tied to the same cable as your dead component.
  • The rear-facing camera simply pops out. Inscription on the component is this wonderful gem: “NCAABA 65161 0100698 2001 SH.” We think that’s code for “8 MP behemoth,” but that’s just speculation.
  • The camera measures in at 7.1 mm x 9.3 mm (length x width) and weighs a porky 1.2 grams! Much like the Droid X and Droid X2, the large camera seems to be the main reason behind the “hump” at the top of the phone.
  • After some slash-and-burn on the EMI shield forest, we found the big players on the motherboard:
  • Elpida B8064B2PB-8D-F 1 GB DRAM and TI OMAP 4430 processor
  • SanDisk SDIN4C2-16G 16GB Flash memory
  • ST Ericsson CPCAP 006556001
  • Qualcomm PM8028 power management chip that works in conjunction with the Qualcomm MDM6600 to provide CDMA connectivity
  • Hynix H8KCS0SJ0AER and Hynix H8BCS0QG0MMR memory MCP containing Hynix DRAM and STM flash
  • ATMEL MXT224E-CCU Touchscreen Controller
  • Motorola T6VP0XBG-0001, believed to be the LTE baseband processor.
  • TI WL1285C, an 802.11n Wi-Fi/FM/GPS/BlueTooth 3.0 all-in-one solution
  • The back of the motherboard is absent of any notable features. It is possible that Motorola placed all of the chips on one side of the board to keep the thickness of the device to a minimum.
  • The qHD display in this phone originally appeared in the Motorola Atrix earlier this year, and we’ve seen one in every Motorola Android phone since.
Final layout

Final layout

Simon Says: “Learn to Solder”

August 29, 2011 Hardware, Repair Guides, Site News — Matt

If you read the title of this post and thought that we spelled “soldier” wrong, then you’re in the right place.  We’ll teach you the basics of soldering and provide you with an alternative to practicing on your iPhone — a nifty little “Simon” game!  Along the way, you’ll learn what a capacitor does, how to interpret those enigmatic, colorful bands on resistors, as well as which way a diode goes on a circuit.  Not sure what a diode is?  You’ll learn that too.

Who knew that hunching over and squinting at a 1.5″ x 2″ green board could be so much fun?  Not to mention that you’ll get to have your way with some hot stuff… Seriously, soldering irons get very hot, so be careful as you brandish that fiery weapon.

We’re convinced that by the time you’re done creating this nifty little device, you’ll have the burning desire to be an electrical engineer at heart. And if you finish soldering this cool little game, and you come to realize you don’t like taking orders from Simon, you’ve picked up the skills along the way to unmake Simon.  Just grab some desoldering braid and have at it!