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iPhone 5s Teardown (Abridged version)

  • Author:Macifixit Australia
  • Source:ifixit
  • Release Date:2013-10-07

As we ready ourselves to delve into the delightful innards of the 5s, let's check out some of its tech specs:

  • Apple A7 processor with 64-bit architecture

  • M7 motion co-processor

  • 16, 32, or 64 GB Storage

  • 4-inch retina display with 326 ppi

  • 8 MP iSight camera (with larger 1.5µ pixels) and a 1.2MP FaceTime camera.

  • Fingerprint identity sensor built into the home button

  • Available in three different colors: space gray, silver, and gold.


  • Apple continues the everlasting trend of locking users out with pentalobular screws. Luckily, we came prepared. We whip out our trusty iPhone 5 Liberation Kit, and to our pleasant surprise, it works!

  • Unfortunately, we are ill-equipped in the color department, as we only have silver and black replacement Phillips screws.

    • We are currently involved in heavy lobbying to our product designers to create 14k gold replacement screws. They'll be $50 each and strip the first time you try to unscrew them, so they will be perfect for the iPhone. Stay posted.

  • With our iPhone 5s sufficiently liberated, it reminds us of another polka-dotted iPhone teardown coming in the near future…


We're done screwing around; it's time to get this baby open! Just like last year, we enlist the help of a suction cup to free the display assembly from the rear casing.

Unlike last year, we make use of some gentle spudgering, just in case…


  • Our careful spudgering paid off. At the bottom of the phone, a cable connects the Touch ID sensor in the home button to the Lightning port assembly.

    • This adds a small element of danger to disassembly, as pulling too hard on the suction cup could cause accidental damage to the cable.

  • We survive this first booby trap and swiftly disconnect the Touch ID cable connector with the help of a spudger.

  • Alas, our first peek at the internal layout of the 5s. Comparing it to the iPhone 5, we spot very few differences, the main one being the lack of a battery removal pull-tab.


  • With our favorite screwdriver set, we remove a few metal connector covers and embark on the epic battle of battery removal.

  • The missing battery pull-tab, though seemingly innocuous, indicates a bigger problem for battery repair: glue.

  • Perhaps the "s" in 5s stands for "stuck," as in "this battery is stuck in with a lot of glue," or "I hope you didn't want to replace your battery—you're going to be stuck with this one."

  • While we'd love a tool-less battery removal as we've seen in other phones, we settle for thermal battery removal via an iOpener.

  • Holy adhesive! It appears Apple ditched the minimal adhesive in the iPhone 5 in favor of those two huge white runways of adhesive holding the 5s(tuck) battery in place.


With the battery safely removed, we turn to the next step in our disassembly journey: removing the (unchanged) 326 ppi Retina display assembly.

A few flicks of a spudger to disconnect the FaceTime camera, digitizer, rolex replica watches and LCD cables, and the display is free.

Looking for some tech specs on the display? Well look no further! In fact, just look backwards…to the iPhone 5. Despite the trend in almost every other smartphone release, the iPhone 5s display is no bigger, better, or badder than the 5.


  • We quickly extract the home button and Touch ID, Apple's new fingerprint scanner. Time to dust for prints!

    • A CMOS chip, the Touch ID is essentially a bunch of very small capacitors that creates an "image" of the ridges on your finger.

  • The sensor technology, developed by AuthenTec and bought by Apple a year ago, reportedly stores your fingerprints locally, so giving your iPhone the finger will not make it all the way back to Cupertino.

  • We worry about how well the sapphire crystal covering the sensor can protect it from degrading over time like most CMOS fingerprint sensors. If not, it could become a ticking time bomb, just like that super-glued battery.


  • We uncover the iSight camera.

  • The back of the iSight camera is labeled DNL333 41WGRF 4W61W.

  • According to our good friend Jim Morrison, Vice President of the Technology Analysis Group at Chipworks, "the DNL markings are consistent with the markings on the camera modules housing the Sony IMX145 we saw in the iPhone 4s and on the iPhone 5. The marks on the side of the module are different, but our industry insiders tell us this is Sony's again."

  • As Apple has stated the pixel pitch on this camera is 1.5 µ, this sensor should not be the IMX145, but a newer variant.

  • The bottom of the camera is labeled AW32 65BD 4511 b763.


  • For those of us counting steps and comparing with last year, we're unsurprisingly right on par.

  • A great example of Apple's iterative design, the 5s shows some streamlining and optimization in its internal construction.

  • Gone are those silly antenna interconnect cables, leaving one less thing to break or get accidentally disconnected.

    • If only they had decided to move that antenna connector from the bottom of the logic board to the top...


  • Time for your close-up, selfie cam!

  • A few screws hold the 1.2MP FaceTime camera in place.

  • While the updated pixel size in the iSight camera may get a lot of attention, DIY paparazzi is what bling iPhones are all about.


The lower peripherals on the 5s look very similar to those in the 5, though the speaker assembly comes out with slightly more ease in this iteration.

With the speaker assembly out, the headphone jack/microphone/Lightning connector assembly comes out easily.

As with previous generations, you will have to replace multiple components at once, since the design is not modular.


  • iPhone 5s Repairability: 6 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair)

  • Just like in the iPhone 5, the display assembly is the first component out of the phone, simplifying screen replacements.

  • The battery is still fairly easy to access, even though it's not technically "user replaceable."

  • The battery has lost the 5's convenient pull tab, and gained more resilient adhesive—it now requires heat and prying to remove.

  • The fingerprint sensor cable could be easily ripped out of its socket if a user is not careful while opening the phone.

  • The iPhone 5s still uses Pentalobe screws on the exterior, making the 5s difficult to open.

  • The front glass, digitizer, and LCD are all one component, thereby increasing cost of repair.