iPhone 8 Teardown Highlights Smaller Battery And Snapdragon X16 LTE Modem

iPhone 8 Open

The iPhone 8 is out and that means it is time for a teardown. To ensure a timely dissection of Apple's latest generation smartphone, the technology surgeons at iFixIt hopped on a plane and headed to the Circuitwise headquarters in Sydney, Australia, where the local time is a full 14 hours ahead of the Eastern Time Zone, and 17 hours in front of the Pacific Time Zone. Talk about commitment!

While the location of this latest smartphone operation may have changed, the process of tearing into an iPhone device has not, at least for the most part. It starts with the removal of pentalobe screws and then heating up the display to loosen the adhesive and free up the waterproof seals. After slicing through the glue, it is just a matter of prying open the chassis to get at the guts.

One thing that has changed from previous generation iPhones is the use of Philips screws immediately inside the iPhone 8. Those pesky tri-point screws have not been completely abandoned—there are a few still found inside when digging beneath the surface components—but it is nice to see Apple swap at least some of them for more common Philips screws.

iPhone 8 Battery

Opening an iPhone is not for the timid. However, one of the reasons to tackle such an undertaking is to replace the battery, provided the warranty is up and the iPhone has trouble holding a charge. Luckily it is not buried. The battery is immediately visible when opening up the iPhone 8. That said, there are two additional stretch-release adhesive strips holding it down compared to previous iPhone models, for a total of four strips.

The battery inside the iPhone 8 offers up 6.96 Wh of power. That is down from 7.45 Wh in the iPhone 7 (and far less than the Galaxy S8's 11.55 Wh battery). Despite having a lower power rating, Apple claims that battery life in the iPhone 8 is "about the same" as the iPhone 7. More specifically, Apple claims the following:
  • Talk time (wireless): Up to 14 hours
  • Internet use: Up to 12 hours
  • Video playback (wireless): Up to 13 hours
  • Audio playback (wireless): Up to 40 hours
Rooting deeper into the iPhone 8 is a matter of patience. One nice discovery to be made is that of the LTE modem upgrade. In the iPhone 7, Apple opted for a Qualcomm Snapdragon X12 LTE modem with a maximum download speed of 600Mbps. In the iPhone 8, Apple upgraded to a Snapdragon X16 LTE modem, which bumps the max download speed to 1Gbps. Good stuff, though Apple is still throttling speeds—to 400Mbps, versus 150Mbps in the iPhone 7.

iPhone 8 Parts

At the end of the teardown, iFixIt decided the iPhone 8 earned a Repairablity Score of 6 out of 10. It earned kudos for the display and battery being easy to replace, but lost points for the durability of the glass back and for its lower components being "trapped under a fussy combination of brackets and delicately folded flex cables."