All the individual parts of the iPhone 7

  • iPhone 7
  • 12 Steps
  • Difficult
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Taking apart the new iPhone 7 down to the last detail: We’ll show you all the exciting components like the Lightning connector without a headphone output, the capacitive Home button, the iSight camera with optical image stabilization and the earpiece that turns into a speaker. We’ll also find out how hard future repairs will be.

Getting started

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12 steps
  1. iPhone 7 teardown

    iPhone 7 - iPhone 7 teardown 01

    A year later, it’s that time again: Apple’s new generation of iPhones is available for purchase as of September 16, 2016, nine days earlier than last year. In this guide, we show you the iPhone 7 and disassemble it down to the individual parts. You’ll find out what to expect inside this phone, what has changed, and how hard repairs will be.

    Key iPhone 7 data at a glance:

    • OS: iOS 10.0
    • Dimensions: 138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm
    • Weight: 138 g
    • Display: Retina HD Display with 3D Touch 4.7" (1334 x 750) 326 ppi
    • RAM : 2 GB
    • Memory: 32/128/256 GB
    • Rear camera: 12 MP (3840 x 2160 pixels)
    • Front camera: 7 MP
    • Battery: 1,960 mAh
  2. Removing the enclosure screws

    iPhone 7 - Removing the enclosure screws 01

    Your average iPhone user wouldn’t notice any differences from the outside. The defining characteristics are the removal of the headphone jack, the rerouted antenna dividers on the back cover and the aluminum recess for the camera. Very sensitive people may notice the five-gram difference in weight. The range of available colors has changed. We got the new Black version, but the additional Jet Black color is also worth mentioning.

    Once again, there are two pentalobe screws next to the Lightning port. Removing them is just business as usual by this point.

  3. Disconnecting the display

    iPhone 7 - Disconnecting the display 01
    iPhone 7 - Disconnecting the display 02
    iPhone 7 - Disconnecting the display 03

    We’re especially excited to see what’s waiting for us when we take off the display. iPhone displays have been glued in place ever since the 6s. We’re expecting that to stay the same for the iPhone 7 because of the new IP67 certification.

    Just like last year, we get started with a suction cup, pick and heat gun. We carefully lift the screen and see that the display is still glued on.

    But watch out: You have to fold the display to the side because two display connectors are plugged into the motherboard along the edge of one side. If you lift the display above the FaceTime camera like in the past, the two cables could tear.

    As you probably already know, the connections are hidden under a silver cover so they can’t come undone.

    But what we’re starting to notice now is really annoying. It’s the second major step backward since Apple introduced the pentalobe screws: There are Y-Type screws all over the place, like here in the display cover. Repair fans will have to add another screwdriver to their collections.

  4. Taptic Engine

    iPhone 7 - Taptic Engine 01

    Apple has made some changes to the Taptic Engine. Like in the previous model, it’s screwed into the enclosure. There’s also a cable connecting it to the Lightning connector. We have to ask ourselves why it’s so big. It takes up a lot more space than the vibration motor in the iPhone 5. Apple could’ve used that space for a bigger battery.

  5. Battery

    iPhone 7 - Battery 01

    No changes here: Two adhesive strips hold the iPhone 7’s battery firmly in the enclosure. Luckily, it’s easy to pull them off to the side.

    But if you want to install the battery properly again, you should use new adhesive strips.

    The good news is that the capacity has increased by 8% from 1715 mAh (iPhone 6s) to 1960 mAh.

  6. Speaker

    iPhone 7 - Speaker 01

    The speaker is just screwed in place so it’s very easy to remove. You don’t even have to remove the logic board.

    The shape of the speaker is a little different from the ones in previous models. But the big change is that the speaker plays stereo sound in combination with the earpiece.

  7. iSight camera

    iPhone 7 - iSight camera 01

    As usual, Apple’s iSight camera, now with 12 megapixels and optical image stabilization, is relatively easy to remove. It’s only attached to the logic board by a connector and two Phillips screws.

    The optical image stabilizer means the camera takes up more space.

  8. Logic board

    iPhone 7 - Logic board 01

    Now we can remove the heart of the iPhone. The shape and structure of the logic board are very similar to those of the last model.

    The logic board is screwed in place at several points. Once again, we have to remove the new Y-Type screws. Before you can lift out the board, you have to remove the SIM card tray, and disconnect the Lightning connector and the antenna cable.

    Another interesting change is the shields that keep water from getting into any of the plug connections. All the connectors are covered with foam to keep out moisture.

  9. Lightning connector

    iPhone 7 - Lightning connector 01

    We know the Lightning connector will have to be different because there’s no longer a headphone jack. We’re excited to see what Apple did with the extra space.

    When we removed the Taptic Engine, we could already see that Apple hadn’t used the extra space there to install a bigger battery. What a shame.

    Other than that, the screw connections haven’t changed much, but there’s one screw that’s very hard to find. You could end up tearing the cable if you overlook this screw.

  10. Earpiece and FaceTime camera

    iPhone 7 - Earpiece and FaceTime camera 01
    iPhone 7 - Earpiece and FaceTime camera 02

    Both the earpiece and the front camera are under a cover. Unfortunately, it also has Y-Type screws in it. We still haven’t figured out what the logic behind using these screws was.
    But the biggest difference is that the display cables are now routed along the edge on one side of the display instead of next to the earpiece.

    As usual, the proximity sensor, brightness sensor and ambient microphone are on the front camera’s cable set. The camera’s resolution is now 7 megapixels.

  11. Home button

    iPhone 7 - Home button 01

    You no longer have to take off the rear panel of the display if you want to remove the Home button. We’re interested to find out if there’s any wear on the Home button at all, now that the old mechanical one has been replaced with a new capacitive Home button. That may mean the end of pressure point problems, as long as the electronics keep working.

  12. Summary

    iPhone 7 - Summary 01

    Despite the similarities to the earlier iPhone 6s, there are a lot of major changes inside this phone, some we think are great (splash resistance thanks to IP67 protection), and some we really don’t like (Y-Type screws).

    The display’s glued on again because of IP67. That means it’s more difficult to take off, but considerably less vulnerable to water damage. In our test, we found that no water got in at all due to the large number of rubber seals used on buttons, the SIM card tray, microphones and speakers.

    But all the Y-Type screws are really annoying. Even the best DIYers probably don’t have the right screwdriver for them, and buying one costs a lot more than the standard Phillips PH00 screwdriver you’d usually need.

    If you overlook the Y-Type screws, the individual parts are easy to remove, and only a few are really glued in place. Another annoying thing is that you have to take out the motherboard to replace the Lightning connector. This part is still vulnerable to damage.

    Overall, the phone is pretty easy to repair, but not as easy as the iPhone 6s.

    We were pleased about the following:

    • IP67 is the real deal. After leaving the iPhone underwater for about 10 seconds, we didn’t find any sign of moisture inside of it.
    • If you have the right tools, the display is pretty easy to remove compared to phones from other manufacturers, even though it’s harder than on previous models.
    • It’s easy to remove all the components, including the battery, without disconnecting the display because you can simply fold it to one side.
    • Taking off the display offers you access to the entire interior.
    • It’s very easy to replace the battery. The adhesive strips are less likely to tear when you pull them off.

    We weren’t so happy about these aspects:

    • Y-Type screws used just to make it harder to open. We find them totally unnecessary.
    • Not as modular as it could be. You can’t replace all the parts independently of each other.
    • A lot of screws.
    • Some parts are lightly glued in place (because of IP67).
    • The display glass is still slightly curved. Because of its exposed position, the screen is more likely to get damaged if dropped.

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