iPhone 14 Teardown: Secrets Apple Didn’t Tell You – Apple iPhone


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If this surprises you, you’re not alone. Surprise us! The new features and external changes to the iPhone 14 are so slight that The Verge suggests it should be called the iPhone 13S, saying that the iPhone 13, which was launched a year ago, is still on sale and is nearly identical to the iPhone 14.

But that’s actually not the whole story. Because Apple didn’t mention the secret redesign in their keynote. If reviewers take apart the phone, what they’ll find: The iPhone 14 opens from the front and back.

This is the iPhone 14 reborn as a beautiful butterfly – the middle frame in the middle, the accessible screen on the left, and the detachable rear glass on the right.

This is no small matter. The new metal midframe supporting the structure required a redesign of the entire interior, as well as a rethinking of RF and effectively doubling its protective perimeter. In other words, Apple has gone back to the drawing board and redesigned the iPhone’s internals to make repairs easier. It’s an upgrade so seamless that even the world’s best tech critics haven’t noticed.


We’ve written thousands of smartphone repair guides, so before diving into the details of 14, let’s take a bird’s-eye view of smartphone evolution. The iPhone has gone through several major architectural shifts over the years.

The original mobile phone opened the screen first, which is why iPhone 3G screen replacement becomes a breeze. But other parts, like the charging port and battery, are much more difficult.



To get around this, Apple on the iPhone 4 let the phone turn on first. This allows for all sorts of cool aftermarket options, like our transparent back panel (which I still think sucks), but unfortunately makes screen replacement a real pain. Apple went back to a (more streamlined) front entry with the iPhone 5, and has stuck with it. Turning on the phone screen first makes screen repairs much easier, and generally works well, except for one major downside – we’ll get to that in a minute.


This design is in stark contrast to other products in the mobile phone industry. Every Android phone opens from the back. iPhone rivals have been glued to the back panel since the Galaxy S6. Any repair tech will tell you that screen replacement on a Galaxy is a lot harder than screen replacement on an iPhone. You have to unwrap the rear panel and systematically go through the entire process of removing components from the phone. Once the whole thing is basically unmanufactured, you’re left with the screen assembly. Then you have to put your whole phone together! Considering the screen is the most common repair component, that’s quite a bit of work.



From our perspective, the iPhone’s design optimizes for fast Apple Store service in two key components: the screen and the battery. Of course, the downside of this front-optimized design is that it’s difficult to replace the rear panel. This wasn’t really an issue until the iPhone 8, when they switched to radio clear glass to support wireless charging and NFC payments. Then, with the iPhone X, they soldered a bulky camera lens cover to the glass.


If replacing the screen on a Galaxy phone is difficult, then replacing the back glass on an iPhone X (or 11, 12, or 13) would be even worse. The easiest part is removing each component from the phone. Seriously, you don’t want to leave any parts in there because the process is pretty rough on the hardware. The adhesive holding the rear glass in place is so strong that our usual prying, heat or chemical methods cannot remove it. Repair shops employ various aggressive shattering and scraping techniques to remove the glass while carefully working around the welded camera bezel. The “easiest” method is to use a laser to systematically grating to evaporate the adhesive, then use a razor blade and cutting tool to smash and scrape away the glass shards. At the very least, heavy-duty gloves are required if you don’t want to cut your hands. As a result, it’s not really a viable process for DIYers.


Back to the iPhone 14. The back glass is simply attached with two screws and a connector. Apple appears to have used a slightly less aggressive adhesive, which makes it easier to open than previous screens. As a bonus, removing the exact same screws as the rear glass gives you access to the screen. With just two screws, both the screen and the rear glass are ready to use, which is great.




It was a dramatic rethinking of the phone, and the new approach influenced most aspects of the design. Adding a completely new open surface presents a set of engineering challenges. There’s double the girth to seal against water, many RF “complications”, and changes to all parts.



Whenever you glue or weld something together, it’s easier to achieve thinness and durability goals. We’ve said long ago that if designers put a little more effort into avoiding glue, they can get all the design features and functionality they’re looking for, plus repairability. This time, Apple made the effort.


There’s a new midframe behind the screen on which all the internal components are mounted. The sheer number of antennas that make modern 5G + GPS + Wifi + Bluetooth + satellite signals work in one device requires a lot of grounding. Ten new electromagnetic interference fingers connect to contact points that separate the rear panel to maintain the ground previously achieved by soldering.


Achieving the high level of durability we all expect is an incredible engineering challenge. When you drop your iPhone 13, its metal frame absorbs shock, transferring and distributing the force to the glued battery and firmly bonded rear glass. The iPhone 14 meets the same challenges, but achieves the required torsional stiffness in a completely different way. A new midframe sits between the display and the inside of the phone.

Another design challenge is the number of components integrated into the display assembly. Historically, that has included Face ID sensors, speakers, and ambient light sensors. We noticed in the 13 Pro that Apple has moved the earpiece and front-facing camera from the display to the main unit. At the time, we appreciated the incremental increase in modularity, but we didn’t fully understand how it worked. It now appears to have laid the groundwork for a vastly improved design.

The flagship features advertised for the iPhone 14 include satellite-powered SOS, an upgraded camera, and a missing SIM card slot. As you can see in the image below, we see some chips in the motherboard.


Apple’s quest for density is unparalleled. The iPhone 14 Pro Max logic board uses the A16 processor, which is 10-15% faster than the 14’s A15.


The US version of the Pro Max logic board has a communication chip and a larger SIM reader gap inside.

We can confirm that the satellite connection on Apple’s new phone is powered by the new Qualcomm X65 modem, which adds the new 2.4 GHz n53 band capability to support Globalstar. ICJay Monroe, Executive Chairman of Globalstar, touted it in a press release earlier this year: “We have appreciated the close relationship with Qualcomm since the company’s inception and thank the team there for what they have done to help us deliver on our Band 53 promise. hard work.”

The following are chip identifications on different layers of the motherboard:

Top-most layer


The chips corresponding to different colors are as follows:



The chips corresponding to different colors are as follows:



The red picture above is WiFi/Bluetooth Module

Underside of the top-most layer


The chips corresponding to different colors are as follows:



The chips corresponding to different colors are as follows:



The chips corresponding to different colors are as follows:



The chips corresponding to different colors are as follows:


Sandwich layer


The chips corresponding to different colors are as follows:



The chips corresponding to different colors are as follows:



The chips corresponding to different colors are as follows:



The red picture above is Bosch Sensortec 6-axis accelerometer/gyroscope

Bottom layer



Red is Satellite antenna

Orange is Patch antenna

Finally, we’ve heard reports that Apple is continuing their path of pairing parts to phones, where on new phones we’ll need to activate the rear glass after installation.

Using software to prevent the use of aftermarket parts is something we strongly object to. These “shackles” are frustrating and ultimately futile – no matter how hard they try, Apple has no control over all the repairs that happen to its products. We’ll report more on part compatibility after lab testing is done, unless Apple miraculously releases their service manual.

This is the most significant iPhone redesign since the iPhone X. It’s hard to underestimate what a change this is. For reference, Samsung hasn’t changed their phone architecture since 2015.

So, with the biggest update in years, we’ve raised the iPhone 14’s repairability score to 7 out of 10. This is the highest score we’ve given an iPhone since the iPhone 7. This is the most repairable iPhone in years.


Attachment: Apple iPhone 14 camera disassembly

Apple introduces an upgraded main rear camera on the base model iPhone 14, an improved front-facing camera module on the iPhone 14 Pro/Max, and of course the long-awaited rear camera resolution upgrade, which finally appears on the iPhone 14 Pro/Max.

As you can see from the teardown below, the front-facing camera modules of Apple’s iPhone 14 and 14 Plus appear to be the same as the iPhone 13, and at least from the groove layout, the position and shape of the grooves are basically the same. Therefore, it can be speculated that the TrueDepth camera and Face ID IR camera/emitter in the new iPhone 14/Plus may be the same sensors used in the iPhone 13 series (Figure 1).


Note: Figure 1. Apple iPhone 13, iPhone 14 front camera.

Apple has redesigned the front-facing camera module of the high-end iPhone 14 Pro/Max compared to the baseline model, and the notch is now called a “dynamic island,” according to Apple. The opaque area that hides the “pill-shaped” area of ​​the front-facing TrueDepth and IR cameras is no longer just a notch, but appears to “expand” to give the illusion that it’s part of the display, which is a nice feature , which can lighten the appearance of the front camera module.

Looking at a high-contrast image from an Apple iPhone 14 Pro/Max, the front-facing camera module has two areas, one for TrueDepth and the other for the IR camera/emitter assembly, as shown in Figure 2. The iPhone14 Pro/Max module has been redesigned to be more compact. The housing part of the IR Cam appears to be the same as in the iPhone 13 Pro/Max, but the TrueDepth’s housing looks a little different (Image 2).


The iPhone 14/Plus main rear camera has been upgraded to a sensor with a pixel pitch of 1.9 µm, compared to the 1.7 µm pixel size of its predecessor, the iPhone 13 base model rear camera. The larger 1.9 µm pixel sensor on this year’s iPhone 14/Plus appears to be a repeat of last year’s iPhone 13 Pro/Max rear camera. Figure 3 compares the two sensors, which are both 12MP masked PDAF autofocus.


Note: Figure 3. Apple iPhone 13, iPhone 14 main rear camera.

One of the most notable new features Apple has introduced this year is the new primary rear camera sensor in the iPhone 14 Pro/Max, with a resolution upgrade to 48MP. For quad pixels, the reported pixel pitch is 2.44 µm. In other words, the absolute pixel pitch of the sensor is 1.22 µm at 48MP and 2.44 µm at 12MP. Interestingly, the quad pixels revert to Apple’s traditional 12MP resolution. Quad Pixels offer full-array autofocus, which is also a new feature introduced by Apple.

Compared to traditional partial (masked) PDAF methods, full-array autofocus improves image quality because many more pixels provide the PDAF signal, especially in low light. The 2×2 microlens pitch for the main rear cam 48MP sensor is speculated to be 2.44 µm (Figure 4 below).


Note: Figure 4. Apple iPhone 13 Pro/Max, Apple iPhone 14 Pro/Max main rear camera.

In fact, our recent analysis of the iPhone 14 Pro/Max shows that this new 48 MP sensor is similar to its predecessor in that it also uses Masked PDAF. As always, Apple only employs incremental enhancement, and Masked PDAF seems to be their preferred method, except here, the dedicated autofocus pixels are now arranged in 2×2, as shown in the image in Figure 5.


Note: Figure 5. The new 48MP sensor for the main rear camera of the Apple iPhone 14 Pro/Max.

In addition to the new rear camera, the iPhone 14 Pro/Max ultra-wide camera is reported to have a full array of autofocus pixels, but preliminary images of the pixel array confirm that’s not the case. The iPhone 14 Pro/Max Ultrawide cam image sensor appears to be the same (and possibly reused) as the iPhone 12 Pro main rear camera, a 1.4 µm pixel pitch, 12 MP resolution Sony sensor. Figure 6 shows a side-by-side optical photo of the two cameras, confirming that the new Ultrawide camera uses Masked PDAF.


Note: Figure 6. Comparison between iPhone 12 Pro main rear camera and iPhone 14 Pro/Max ultra-wide rear camera, both with 1.4 µm pixel pitch and 12 MP resolution.

The article is in Chinese

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