Technology

iPhone XR Teardown: Common Repairs Are Easier On This ‘Spiritual iPhone 9’

iPhone XR teardown
Image Source: iFixit (screenshot)

One set of teardown results many have been waiting anxiously for is finally here. iFixit released its iPhone XR teardown results over the weekend, bringing good news for those who already bought the handset or are planning to buy one.

Repairs for the display and battery are easier

The iPhone XR teardown revealed that basic repairs on the device could be carried out easily. According to iFixit, two common repairs for any phone — display and battery replacements — are easier on the XR than on most Android phones.

“The display-first opening procedure and easy access to the battery remain design priorities for Apple—making the two most common repairs easier than almost any Android counterpart,” iFixit says in a blog post.

Apple used a little adhesive to hold the XR battery, but once the adhesive is removed, it becomes easier to replace the battery without damaging the phone. The battery is marginally smaller than the iPhone 8 Plus, but it is a bit thicker.

Further, the iPhone XR has the best battery among all the three new iPhones. It has an 11.16 Wh battery, compared to 10.13 Wh for the XS and 12.08 Wh for the XS Max.

The modular SIM card reader and the logic board are also easily removable. The modular SIM tray is a first for an iPhone, and it’s lower than the one in the iPhone XS. This is good, according to iFixit, which believes it will allow faster swapping and lead to lower repair costs for the logic board.

Other findings from the iPhone XR teardown

Although iFixit gave the iPhone XR the same score of 6/10 in repairability as it gave to the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, the experts shared some interesting findings. The Pixel 3 XL received a repairability score of 4.

Other findings from the iPhone XR teardown revealed that the handset uses copper, which suggests faster charging with less power. Further, the handset has a Taptic Engine, which supports haptic touch, to compensate for the loss of 3D Touch capabilities.

Apple’s iPhone XR has an LCD which is 0.3 inches bigger across than the AMOLED display used in the iPhone XS. The display is also thicker and heavier because it needs a backlight. iFixit believes the bigger display is a big reason why the Lightning connector is off-axis.

“The new ‘misaligned’ Lightning port looks to be a symptom of the thicker display assembly. The LCD is less pricey, but its need for a backlight makes it bigger—which may have perturbed the port symmetry,” iFixit says.

Here are the negatives about the iPhone XR

As far as the negatives, iFixit says waterproofing makes it a bit difficult to do some repairs, and like the iPhone XS and XS Max, the iPhone XR has a glass back. Thus, if you break it somehow, you will have to replace the phone’s entire chassis.

The iPhone XR teardown also revealed that the handset has uncommon pentalobe screws around the charging port. Such screws make it difficult for third parties to carry out repairs, but it also helps with easy opening of the device with the display coming out first.

One difference between the iPhone XR and the XS that iFixit couldn’t figure out is why the iPhone XS has an IP68 rating for water and dust protection, while the XR has an IP67 rating. According to iFixit, opening the XR felt almost the same as opening the XS.

iPhone XR or “spiritual iPhone 9”

The iPhone XR shares some characteristics with two older iPhones, the iPhone X and the iPhone 8. The handset does not feature the L-shaped battery which is in the iPhone X and XS; rather, it has a rectangular battery and a rectangular logic board like the iPhone 8. However, similar to the iPhone X, the XR ditches the Home button and Touch ID for additional Face ID sensors.

According to iFixit, the TrueDepth camera system in the iPhone XR is the same as the TrueDepth camera system in the iPhone X and XS. Such sharing of these characteristics between the two iPhones makes the iPhone XR the “spiritual iPhone 9,” declares iFixit.

“But the XR isn’t all throwback—it’s got the latest silicon, and contains features entirely new to iPhones. We found Apple’s first-ever modular SIM reader, possibly there to help with their newfangled multi-SIM plans,” iFixit says.