A9 Chip Source

You’ve probably heard that Apple is using A9 processors from two different sources for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. One processor is from Samsung, and the other is from TSMC.

It’s been confirmed via benchmarks that both processors perform similarly with no major differences in performance. With that said, each processor features a different die size, which was first noted by Chipworks. The Samsung processor is the smaller of the two. Physically, it’s 96mm squared, while the TSMC A9 is 104.5 mm squared.

Chipworks conjectures that two different sources were used due to supply constraints. They also say that they are further researching both processors in an effort to gain better clarity.

Ultimately, it really doesn’t mean much to the end user, but I know that curiosity gets the best of us at times. If you’d like to check to see who sourced your A9 processor, you can follow these simple steps.


Note: You will need to register your Apple ID as a developer, but you don’t need a pair developer account. Check here for more details. This code is open source, and thus has been examined and scrutinized, unlike some other shady apps that may claim to do the same thing. Special thanks to David Stockley for building this app.

A9 Chip TSMC Samsung

Step 1: Download Xcode 7 from the Mac App Store.

Step 2: Launch Xcode 7.

Step 3: Click Source Control in the menu bar and click Check Out.

Step 4: In the repository location box, paste the following: https://github.com/WDUK/A9ChipSource.git and click Next.

Step 5: Connect your iPhone 6s to your Mac via USB

Step 6: In the drop down device selection menu, select your iPhone 6s

A9 Source David Stockley

Step 7: Wait as Xcode 7 indexes and processes symbol files. This will take a while. Once complete, the status will say Ready.

Step 8: Click the Play button, and the code should compile and the A9 Chip Source app will be installed on your iPhone.

Step 9: Launch the A9 Chip Source app, and you should see the chip source—either TSMC or Samsung.

Which chip is inside your iPhone? Both my iPhone 6s and 6s Plus feature the larger TSMC chips.



  • rockdude094

    damn I have the samsung :@

    • Victor Molina

      Isn’t that one smaller hence better??

      • Morgan Freeman

        For all intents and purposes, there is no difference. Some people just like to complain about perceived losses with things like this. They feel they’ve been wronged, somehow. But really… what would have happened if no one ever mentioned there were two different chips? Nothing. Nothing would have happened, and no one would have complained. Because there is really no difference. Unless there is some malfunction that only affects one of the two chips, then there is a slight reason for concern…but until then… there is no reason.

      • rockdude094

        Other reasons include a sense of humour, Mr. Freeman… I have a samsung fridge, if that makes you feel better 😛

      • Morgan Freeman

        That’s better! 🙂

      • coLin

        I find that Morman Freegan sounds more interesting hmm

      • Lawrence

        There is a slight advantage on the Samsung battery life, you’ll get around 1 to 3 hrs more of standby time.

      • Morgan Freeman

        Are you sure about that? 1-3 hours sounds substantial and in no way a ‘slight benefit’… Cite your source, please. Thanks!

      • Lawrence

        Stand by time, not screen on time. Benchmarks will come soon.

      • Morgan Freeman

        Yes I know what standby time is. I still don’t believe you. That is significant, not slight.

      • onenine

        Samsung a9 chip has shown slightly better performance scores on the geekbench test… For paying $500+ on a phone, I would like a “better” performing phone.. just saying..

      • mkimid

        Performance is depending on the clock speed, should be same. But, if Samsung version has lower heat, it will reduce the chance of throttling of CPU, and better performance can be expected over long time & heavy load. But, there is nothing to proof something now ~

    • Shaw

      Big Con!

      • Morgan Freeman

        For what reason, exactly? Or are you just saying that “because Samsung”? Seriously curious..

      • Shaw

        Some reports points out that SamSung one is a litter bit better…

      • Morgan Freeman

        Then wouldn’t that be a ‘pro’ and not a ‘con’? Are you sure you know what you are talking about, sir? This is why essentially it doesn’t even matter… if it’s such a tiny difference that you can’t even keep them straight…. you know what I mean? 🙂

      • Shaw

        con=congratulation here, sorry that English is not even my 2nd language. Don’t take it so serious…

      • Morgan Freeman

        No apology necessary, Shaw! I’m sorry for coming off a bit raw! 🙂

      • macfoxpro

        Some reports points out that TSMC one is a little bit better…

  • I get code signing issues, so the program won’t run:

    • Andrew Breyen

      Make sure Xcode is up to date, and you are signed in with a valid Dev apple ID.

  • John


    • nonchalont


  • Rafael David González

    Just to be sure I understood correctly—I would need a developer account (at $99/year) in order to compile the code from GitHub using Xcode and place it on my iPhone, correct?

    • Merman123


    • Andrew Breyen

      Nope! Swift is now Open Source!! You can register as a dev for free. Just can’t publish onto App Store, and get betas, etc. Follow links in article.

      • Rafagon

        I forgot to say thanks. Thanks!

  • n0ahcruz3

    Samsung made chips(designed by apple of course) samsung made displays, you’re good. Remember when apple used LG displays on some macs? Yikes…

  • Jerry

    This phone runs amazing. I don’t care if Nextel made the chip.

    • Lawrence

      Yes but the Samsung will give you longer battery life

      • Dave Elg

        “I have no evedence to support such decision, but you should probably just accept it as fact”

  • Anonomous.TECH.man

    Korea vs Taiwan

  • Dumb post. C’mon – such kinda posts simply go against the spirit of idownloadblog. What’s the point of checking the make of the processor? Are you going to chuck your phone back to apple since it has something made by Samsung?
    If you checked this out on your phone, you’re the ultimate nerd 😛

    • socrates

      Same thing as using the tool CPU-Z by CPUID. Since Apple doesn’t let us look inside our devices, why not use software to identify it?

      • Why not throw a party after find out which processor is in your phone? Is it not reason enough to celebrate?

    • It’s kinda a big deal to some when we both pay the same exact amount for a product and that product isn’t exact as the one someone else I know owns. Also is a big deal if the Samsung outperforms and has better battery life. The battery life tends to be the thing that the general public likes to bitch the most about too with Apple products.
      I also don’t see how this goes against iDB because we care to know what is inside our iPhones. If it weren’t a big deal I bet iFixIt wouldn’t be around anymore.

  • Wade Mason

    I’m pretty sure they’re not 96 or 104.5 mm squared. That’s around 10 cm or 4 inches. Maybe micrometers instead of millimeters?

    • ourjim

      Probably 96 square mm, so more like 10mm x 10mm, which makes more sense.

      • Wade Mason

        Definitely more likely. Something about the wording in the articles makes it sound off.

  • Xee

    If I had an iPhone 6s/Plus I would rather have the Samsung chip. Generally they make better chips and memory then other manufacturers.

    • Totally agree and I sure as hell better have the Samsung when my 6S Plus arrives!

  • Much ado about nothing.

  • HamptonWalley

    They measured only performance difference, but power consumption is more important. I bet the smaller Samsung chip consuming less power. I wish if there would be a way to tell which chip is inside without opening the box.

    • I at first thought you meant the iPhone itself and thought you were missing the step by step instructions, but I figured out you meant the box it comes in. I agree and wish there were a way to tell that. I would go and make Apple exchange it if so.
      Now for those that want to say it is not important and we are whiny, I am with AT&T and was forced to purchase with the garbage Next plan. I am literally stuck with this iPhone for the next 24-30 months and don’t want to get 15 months in to find that the non-Samsung chip tends to crap out, or have other issues. It isn’t cheap to buy Apple products and they should all be EXACTLY THE SAME.

  • Micrones

    I understand the need to constantly push out new content on IDB but this article is very dumb. Either the editors are running out of ideas or have too much time on their hands.

    IDB is gradually succumbing to writing trash tech articles and needs to focus more on articles that enlightens and more informative. there are more apple focused issues to write on than the make of a chip in an iphone. Seriously…….

    • Dan

      Got that right.

      • rockdude094

        This meme is for alien purpose only… your argument is invalid

    • DevXav

      A battery life comparison using scientific methods between 5s, 6, 6+, 6s and 6s+ and a video showing that would be an awesome article IMO.

    • Really? This is the one article I came here hoping to find tonight. I mean, I know the 1000s of Apple Watch articles were totally necessary this Spring, but this stuff is important, compared to “What color watch strap will you be buying?”

  • Chinch07

    TSMC in my 6s Plus.

  • Dexter SherloConan

    My iPhone 6s, model MKR32LL/A (64G, T-Mobile, Space Grey) and serial number starting with FK2 (manufactured in Zhengzhou, China), has TLC Rom and TSMC 16nm A9 chip according to the IOKit information. Also, it has been a hot debate in China that device whose serial number starts with C (manufactured in Shenzhen, China) is of the best quality, and F ranks in the middle while D (manufactured in Chengdu, China) ranks last.

    • HamptonWalley

      Thanks for the info, i will be looking for the one starting with C serial and inside the Samsung chip working.

    • My 6S Plus serial starts with a C. Although, curious to find out if it runs the TSMC A9 or Crapsungs.

  • Lawrence

    Samsung uses the smaller 14nm process obviously has better battery life.
    Look at intels core i procesor, every time they get smaller they get much much better battery life.

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  • jcbrown

    How do I fix this?

  • jcbrown

    How do I fix this (see attached)?

  • jcbrown

    How do I fix this?