iFixIt tears apart the iPhone 5c

By , Sep 20, 2013

iPhone 5c (blue, iFixit teardown 004)

Just a few hours ahead of the iPhone 5s/5c launch in the United States and an additional ten major international markets, the repair wizards over at iFixIt gave the flagship iPhone 5s its usual teardown treatment. But wait, these guys are really quick – they’ve also posted their ritual teardown of another new iPhone, the gorgeous plastic iPhone 5c. I’ve included the most interesting tidbits and a nice video right after the break…

For starters, CellHellmet did a nice bolt-by-bolt teardown of both the iPhone 5s and 5c, have a look below.

Now onto the iFixit’s teardown of a blue iPhone 5C.

As you know, the iPhone 5c features a rear shell made from polycarbonate plastic with a steel frame inside that serves as an antenna and structural support.

Compared to its aluminum iPhone 5s counterpart, the plastic iPhone 5c shell is a tad heavier due a slightly lighter display assembly on the 5s – despite the latter sporting a fingerprint sensor and sapphire Home button with Touch ID sensor.

Because “a greater mass of plastic is required to match the strength and durability of a lesser mass of aluminum,” the 5c rear case weighs 43.8g vs 25.9g for the 5s.

It’s good to know that, though the rear panel is made with plastic to presumably cut costs, Apple did not compromise build quality in the process.

The front glass, digitizer and LCD are all one component, which increases cost of repair.

Apple is still using Pentalobe screws on the exterior. Worse, the screws appear to be slightly different than the ones in the iPhone 5/5s, making the device difficult to open.

iPhone 5c (blue, iFixit teardown 001)

The 5c’s 1510mAh battery (bellow) is just a hair slimmer than the 1560mAh battery of the 5s. Note the missing pull tab: the 5c’s battery is now glued, requiring heat and prying to remove.

Other tidbits: there’s little difference between the iPhone 5s/5c back-facing iSight cameras, except for aperture which is larger on the 5s ( f/2.2) than on the 5c  (f/2.4), allowing for better-looking photos on the former by virtue of letting more light in.

Additionally, the vibrator motor assembly in the 5c is actually slightly larger than that of the 5s, despite its similar component design.

Adhesive on the antenna connectors “hinder disassembly” and the volume buttons are “considerably larger”. The familiar ten-hole microphone grille and sixteen-hole speaker grille have been replaced with one and four-hole grilles, respectively.

iPhone 5c (blue, iFixit teardown 003)

Below is the iPhone 5c logicboard, featuring (from left to right) an Apple A6 APL0598 application processor, Qualcomm MDM9615M LTE Modem and Qualcomm WTR1605L LTE/HSPA+/CDMA2K/TDSCDMA/EDGE/GPS transceiver.

The 5c’s A6 chip incorporates 1GB of Elpida-made DDR2 RAM (B8164B3PM-1D-F 8 Gb).

The back of the motherboard includes a Toshiba THGBX2G7B2JLA01 128 Gb (16 GB) NAND flash, Apple-branded 338S1164 and 338S1116 chips, Qualcomm PM8018 RF power management IC, Broadcom BCM5976 touchscreen controller, Murata 339S0209 (based on the Broadcom BCM4334) Wi-Fi module and a few other components: the Skyworks 77810-12, Skyworks 773550-10, Avago A790720, TriQuint TQM6M6224 and Avago A7900.

iPhone 5c (blue, iFixit teardown 002)

Although both new iPhones sport a similar construction and share some internals, don’t get your hopes up too high for parts cross-compatibility, thanks to the differences between the display assemblies and the differently-sized FaceTime/speaker connectors.

Here’s iFixIt’s recap vid.

iFixiIt gave both new iPhones a repairability score of six out of ten (ten being the easiest to repair).

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  • Laurens Veys

    I know it’s not about the topic, but I have a problem with my iPhone 5. When there is a white background It seems to have a purple square. This square covers almost the whole screen. Now my question is: Has anybody seen this problem, and what is the solution? In a month my waranty expires.

    • Jonathan

      I don’t completely understand. Could you post a snapshot?
      But I’ll help you with what I can.
      First try the simple restore. Restore from a backup.
      If that fails, set up as new iPhone. If that works, you would probably have to put everything back on.
      But if that fails, restore again and restore from backup.
      If that’s the case and it’s not jailbroken, it’s probably a hardware issue such as a loose wire or fatal pixels. Take it to Apple to have it replaced.
      But if would still post a snapshot, I’m really curious to what it looks like now, lol.

      • Laurens Veys

        A snapshot will not work because the sqaure is not visible on it (when I look at it on the pc) , so it is most certainly a hardware issue. The purple square is really subtle, you can only see it from clos up.

      • Jonathan

        I see. Then I would take it to Apple to have it replaced. I’m glad you still have warranty on it.
        Perhaps if its in really good condition, you could sell it for maybe $40 off or so, and treat yourself to an upgrade to the 5S?

      • Laurens Veys

        Personally I prefer the black iPhone 5 versus the space gray iPhone 5S. Butt when I get it replaced, wont I get a refurbished one? I payed the full 790 euro (off contract in Belgium) so I’m not happy with a refurbished iPhone.

    • Max Kas

      Search online forums for the issue or just take it into Apple for a replacement.

  • 4p0c4lyps3

    ‘The gorgeous iPhone 5c,’ lol.

  • dev29

    so is it the same iphone 5 hardware???

  • Assaultive

    They had to “c” what was inside

  • dedegarrido

    Can we take the 5C battery and use it on the iPhone 5?