iPad mini 3’s ‘hastily glued’ Touch ID Home button makes screen repairs difficult

iPad mini 3 (iFixit teardown, important bits)

Following their analysis of the iPad Air 2’s innards, repair experts over at iFixIt have now perfumed their ritual teardown dance with Apple’s iPad mini 3. As you know, the iPad mini 3 is basically the iPad mini 2 with the addition of Touch ID and a gold color option so there isn’t much to be analyzed here.

That being said, iFixIt was able to make a few noteworthy observations regarding the new tablet’s repairability. Specifically, they found that Apple engineers glued the Home button bracket to the front panel assembly, making Touch ID and Home button repairs difficult.

“Yes, that is hot glue holding the home button bracket to the front panel.” iFixIt said in an email announcing the teardown. “Good luck transferring that to your replacement glass (Which you’re going to have to do, to keep the Touch ID functionality after a cracked screen repair).”

Though “the crummy cabling” of the new Touch ID-equipped Home button wasn’t enough to earn the iPad mini 3 a lower repairability score, iFixIt said “it was a close call” giving the mini 3 the same repairability score of 2 /10 like its predecessor.

And here’s the Home button bracket glued to the front panel assembly.

iPad mini 3 (iFixit teardown, Home button bracket)

The Mini 3 inherits a 2 /10 repairability score from its older twin

Teardown highlights follow:

  • Apple A7 APL0698 SoC
  • SK Hynix H2JTDG8UD1BMR 16 GB NAND Flash
  • Universal Scientific Industrial 339S0213 Wi-Fi Module
  • Apple 343S00004-A1
  • NXP Semiconductors 65V10 NFC Controller
  • NXP Semiconductors LPC18A1 (Apple M7 Motion Co-Processor)
  • Apple (Cirrus Logic) 338S1213 Audio Codec
  • Apple 338S1199
  • Fairchild Semiconductor FDMC6676BZ and FDCM6683 MOSFETs
  • NXP 1610A1 Display Interface IC

And here’s the unfused front panel.

iPad mini 3 (iFixit teardown, unfused front panel)

Again, the differences between the iPad mini 2 and the previous Retina iPad mini are miniscule. The iPad mini 3 now supports Touch ID which can be used to make Apple Pay in-app payments, in addition to larger storage capacity options and a gold model.

iFixIt’s teardown analysis of the iPad Air 2 has identified a fifteen percent smaller battery inside