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Apple's iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C are harder to repair than the iPhone 5

Both score six out of 10
Fri Sep 20 2013, 12:16
Gold iPhone 5S teardown

TEARDOWN EXPERTS at iFixit have promptly taken apart Apple's latest iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C smartphones, and have delivered disappointing news that both handsets are trickier to repair than the iPhone 5.

The team at iFixit first went to work on the iPhone 5S, Apple's new flagship smartphone and the first iPhone to feature a built-in fingerprint scanner.

The fingerprint scanner known as Touch ID seemed to hinder the teardown process, with the iFixit team saying it added "a small element of danger" to the repair process because of the cable connecting the sensor to the Lightning port assembly, which could easily get damaged.

iFixit had some concerns about the durability of the TouchID's sapphire sensor too, saying, "We worry about how well the sapphire crystal covering can protect it from degrading over time, like most CMOS fingerprint sensors. It could become a ticking time bomb."

Still, iFixit somehow managed the disassembly, and went on to remove the battery and screen, which wasn't easy to do either. Unlike on the iPhone 5, the battery in the iPhone 5S is superglued to the handset's internals, and doesn't feature the removal pull-tab that was found in previous models, making it tricky to remove. The screen, too, is difficult to repair, given that the front glass, digitiser and LCD panel are all one component.

iFixit encountered similar issues with the cheaper iPhone 5C, again encountering the glued-in battery, hard to remove screen, pentalobe screws and the tricky to dissassemble antenna.

Because of these features, both phones got a repairability score of six out of 10. While this doesn't sound too bad, it means that the new Apple handsets will be harder and likely more expensive to repair than Apple's iPhone 5, which scored seven out of 10, and the Samsung Galaxy S4, which got a score of eight out of 10. µ


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