Apple Watch - Teardown

Some individual parts of the Apple Watch

  • Apple Watch
  • 6 Steps
  • Medium
  • 60 min.
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Introduction

A little look inside the Apple Watch. We show you two important components and find out how difficult future repairs will be.

Required tools

  • Hartplastik-Plektren

    Hartplastik-Plektren

    You need a flat but stable tool such as a pick to pry out parts that are glued in place.

    €1.00 at the iDoc store
  • Heat gun

    Heat gun

    You can use a heat gun to heat parts that are glued on so they’re easier to remove. In most cases, you can also use a hairdryer.

    from €14.99 on Amazon
  • For storing screws

    For storing screws

    We recommend storing your screws so you don’t mix up the various screws and small parts.

    €10.00 at the iDoc store
  • Steel Laboratory Spatula

    Steel Laboratory Spatula

    You need a flat and sturdy prying tool to disconnect glued parts.

    €9.00 at the iDoc store
  • Suction cup

    Suction cup

    A suction cup is perfect for lifting smooth surfaces such as displays or rear glass panels.

    €2.00 at the iDoc store
Show all replacement parts for the Apple Watch 

Getting started

If you get stuck or have questions, you can post a comment for each step. We’d be happy to help.

6 steps
  1. Technical details

    Apple Watch - Technical details 01

    Apple wants to revolutionize the new wearables market with the Apple Watch. The watch is available in two sizes and various versions.

    Key data about the Apple Watch:

    • 38 mm or 42 mm enclosure
    • 7000-series aluminum, silver
    • Ion-X glass
    • Back of enclosure made of composite materials
    • Digital Crown
    • Retina display with Force Touch
    • Heart rate sensor, accelerometer and gyroscope
    • Ambient light sensor
    • Speaker and microphone
    • Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n 2.4 GHz)
    • Bluetooth 4.0
    • Battery life of up to 18 hours
    • Water-resistant
  2. Lifting the display

    Apple Watch - Lifting the display 01
    Apple Watch - Lifting the display 02
    Apple Watch - Lifting the display 03
    Apple Watch - Lifting the display 04

    Now we can finally start taking things apart. Since we can’t find any screws on the Apple Watch, it seems pretty clear that the display is glued on.
    To soften the glue and make it less sticky, we carefully heat the outer edges of the display with a heat gun.
    Now we need a little suction cup, a pick, and a very thin laboratory spatula. We press gently to lift the display, while inserting the pick between the display and the aluminum frame.

  3. Disconnecting the display

    Apple Watch - Disconnecting the display 01
    Apple Watch - Disconnecting the display 02
    Apple Watch - Disconnecting the display 03

    Now we get our first look inside the cable. The touchscreen’s and LCD’s cables are attached to another ribbon cable. There’s also a metal bracket over the two plug connections to make sure vibration or shocks don’t cause the connections to come undone.

  4. Removing the battery

    Apple Watch - Removing the battery 01
    Apple Watch - Removing the battery 02

    Now we come to a component we’re sure to have to replace a lot in the future: the Apple Watch’s 246 mAh battery, which is supposed to offer a battery life of up to 18 hours. This little battery lets you talk on the phone for 3 hours, listen to music for 6.5 hours or have your watch on standby for 72 hours. The battery is only lightly glued in the enclosure, and you can easily remove it with a spudger. The only other thing you have to do is disconnect it from the cable.

  5. Removing the NFC antenna

    Apple Watch - Removing the NFC antenna 01

    The antenna could get damaged when you remove the display if part of the antenna stays on the aluminum frame and the other part sticks to the display. Then the antenna gets torn in half, but you can attach it again with instant glue.

    To remove the antenna, you need a tri-wing screwdriver.

  6. Summary

    Apple Watch - Summary 01

    The inside of Apple’s first smartwatch is a surprise. It’s not designed for you to repair it yourself, but you can remove the display and battery pretty easily and – what’s very important – independently of each other. This is good for repairs in general because you can trace most problems back to these parts.
    But you’ll have your work cut out for you if you want to replace other parts. For one thing, you’ll need very small tri-wing screwdrivers, and for another, the S1, the heart of the Apple Watch, has several soldered connections, making it virtually impossible to remove.

    The display is glued on. With a little practice, you can remove it

    The battery is only lightly glued in the enclosure

    You can only remove other parts with a tri-wing screwdriver

    It’s almost impossible to remove the logic board without damaging it

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