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iPhone 5 Torn Down: Easier To Fix Than iPhone 4S

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News Posted: Fri, Sep 21 2012 9:10 AM
You don't buy an iPhone device with the intention of tearing it open and modding the handset in any significant way. In fact, most of Apple's products are a bear to service and/or mod, but would you believe things are getting better? Perhaps you've heard, Apple launched a new smartphone, and believe it or not, the iPhone 5 isn't a complete disaster when it comes to tearing it open (and yes, "complete disaster" is where we've set the bar).

The folks at iFixIt did what they do best and promptly gutted the iPhone 5 in their latest tech autopsy. They've been doing this type of thing for some time now, grading devices with a Repairability Score that ranges from 1 to 10; the higher the score, the easier it is to crack open a device and service it at home.

iPhone 5 Teardown
Source: iFixIt

So, how'd the iPhone 5 do? In typical Apple fashion, the iPhone 5 is sealed shut with funky Pentalobe screws on the exterior, which means your standard Phillips or Flathead screwdriver isn't going to do the trick. iFixIt also noted that the front glass, digitizer, and LCD are all one component, so if one breaks, you're looking at a more costly repair than if they were all separate. Rounding out the negatives is existence of several smaller components being soldered to one ribbon cable. Boo!

On the unusually bright side, the iPhone 5 is, overall, actually easier to service than the iPhone 4S, scoring a 7/10 versus a 6/10. That's not too shabby.

iPhone 5 Glass
Source: iFixIt

"We're quite happy that the glass/display is the first thing that comes off the iPhone 5," iFixIt explains. "The majority of iPhone repairs are due to a shattered front glass."

The tech surgeons were also impressed that the battery comes out relatively easily with just a bit of prying once the front panel is removed.
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JOMA replied on Fri, Sep 21 2012 10:54 AM

Making the glass easier to replace is great but having the 3 parts being one piece is pretty terrible. That's going to cost a lot more to replace the glass now.

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