iPhone X teardown reveals the TrueDepth camera system's secrets


After a quick tear-down of the iPhone X by MyFixGuide earlier today gave a sneak peek at Apple's most expensive and most advanced phone to date, but if you wanted a step-by-step teardown that guides you through every single component of the new iPhone, your best bet is the iFixit teardown right above.

The purpose of a teardown boils down to two things: first, give us a sneak peek at what the phone is made of, and secondly, understand how to easy it is to repair different parts, replace a cracked screen or a dead battery.

As to the curious part, let's start with that: the iPhone X turns out to have not one, but two battery cells, positioned in an L-shape. That's a first in an iPhone! It also means that the battery takes more space than ever, and the logic board with the processor and other chips is tinier than ever in proportion. Ounce for ounce, even the Apple Watch has more logic board than what is present on the iPhone X. The logic board size is in fact 70% that of an iPhone 8 Plus. How did Apple achieve this? Quite interestingly, by folding the board in half, or double-stacking it.

Next, the screen opens sideways, just like on other iPhones. The components underneath are what you'd expect:

  • Apple APL1W72 A11 system chip
  • 3GB RAM, SK Hynix LPDDR4x
  • Qualcomm MDM9655 Snapdragon X16 LTE modem
  • Toshiba 64GB memory
  • and so on...

Next up, the battery. Its total size is 10.35 Wh (2716 mAh at 3.81 V), slightly more than on the iPhone 8 Plus, which has a 2,675mAh battery cell. We have already tested the iPhone X battery life and it turns out to be slightly above the average for a 2017 flagship, but not quite in two day territory. Also, it lasts a bit less than the iPhone 8 Plus, despite having a slightly larger battery than it.


You also get a cool look at the new TrueDepth camera. The magic of it happens in multiple stages: your face is illuminated with IR light by the flood illuminator, then the front camera (in red on the picture) confirms there is a face, thirdly, the IR dot projector shoots a mesh of 30,000 points to understand the three-dimensional structure of the face and finally the IR camera reads the data and sends it to the phone.


There are a few good things about the iPhone X design when it comes to how easy it is to perform regular repairs: for example, Apple has prioritized screen and battery fixes in the design, so that you can swap a screen without having to remove the Face ID system. Instead of gluing down components tightly, Apple has used a lot of its proprietary screws (Pentalobe and tri-point) to keep all components in their place, and this is good news as dealing with screws makes repairs easier.

But here is the bad news:

If the back glass breaks, prepare to remove every component and replace the whole chassis

Yes, such a repair would be time-consuming and costly. Apple charges a whopping $280 for a screen replacement, but what is even more troublesome is that repair for other damage (allegedly, including a cracked back) costs an exorbitant $550.

source: iFixit

Related phones

iPhone X
  • Display 5.8" 1125 x 2436 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 7 MP front
  • Processor Apple A11 Bionic, Hexa-core, 2390 MHz
  • Storage 256 GB
  • Battery 2716 mAh(21h 3G talk time)

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41 Comments

1. mikehunta727 unregistered

Truedepth is dope for sure. Hoping Samsung implements something similiar on the S9... Iris scanner on my Note 8 works when it feels like it.. wish it was a bit more consistent with more angled range pickup too

2. AVVA1

Posts: 228; Member since: Aug 01, 2017

Rumor has it samsung is already reverse engineering Apple's Face ID.

5. uncle_gadget

Posts: 1050; Member since: Sep 20, 2017

So you believe rumors now? Are you aware Apple didnt make this component? Are you aware its available to any OEM who wants to buy it? Samsung already has similar tech since the Note 7. Th3 onky difference is Samsung is using a 2D ca era and not 3D. An ambient light sensor, infrared and a camera is already on the Note 7, S8 and Note 8. If they wanted to offer the same, all it would require is a 3D camera. Just because Apple rushed to be first, doesnt mean they had the idea first. This has been documented with fact 1000s of times.

10. mikehunta727 unregistered

Somewhat similar but not the same at all in execution Try again

20. MrShazam

Posts: 987; Member since: Jun 22, 2017

Not same, just more versatile and more secure; at least up to par with 2015 technology in terms of security, if not better: http://mashable.com/2015/08/20/windows-hello-twins/#XnaFtBIWk8q5

29. Xilam unregistered

Techie it’s always like this: Apple introduces a new piece of tech on an iPhone - all you goons yell “android or w/e been working on it for years” or “something similar been tried”. But the difference is - that little extra detail that’s put into new tech makes a difference between an Atrix fingerprint sensor and iPhone 5s fingerprint sensor. I mean even that L- shaped battery is something new and took some engineering - but you are probably screaming “Samsung had a battery for years”.

35. KeyserSoze

Posts: 387; Member since: Oct 06, 2014

The difference is... FaceID has a GAPING security hole because it can be fooled by twins therefore it's inferior to any fingerprint reader. Apple's claim that FaceID is more secure is a big LIE... as usual. So you're saying Apple's huge engineering feat is placing 2 batteries together to form an L, is that your big bragging point? Wow, it must be so hard to connect 2 batteries together in series like those AA alkalines in a flashlight, who would be so bold to come up with such a genius idea? Oh wait... xD

38. uncle_gadget

Posts: 1050; Member since: Sep 20, 2017

Buying other pepple stuff and shoving it into a phone is innovative now?

31. apple-rulz

Posts: 2033; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

Are you aware that Samsung develops nothing, they too simply buy it? Nah, I didn’t think so, considering you’re not even aware that properly functioning keyboards exist. Here’s a few for you; Samsung Pay-Loop Pay Bixby-Viv Labs OS-Google

37. uncle_gadget

Posts: 1050; Member since: Sep 20, 2017

Really? Tbey use Sony sensors, tbey also make tbwir own. Tbey make their own ram, battery, displays, cpu, and the a tually have factoriws making rhe phones too. They develop more than any OEM in this cetagory. Apple.buys fingerprint sensor company, siri company, And more. Apple devlops a chip and a frame. SAMSUNG MAKES 95% OF ITS PHONE AND 40% of yhe iPhone, whil Apple makes 0% of any Samsung device. Done now?!

40. Xilam unregistered

Techie, you're not that good at debate if you think the points you listed are helping your argument... You just said that Samsung up marks their hardware by nearly 20 times.. not 3 times like it's actually is... Samsung pretty much bought everything either thru acquisition of talent, whole companies, or licensing and rights they make every product they make.. From OLED screens to Bixby.. samsung did not invent any of it... So Chill... If you argue that samsung improved that tech - i would agree, but so did apple with their acquisitions... For example: the FaceID tech behind all those sensors were puchased a few years back from a middle eastern company (primsense, I think).. but it was about a 12" long spanning several sensors and cameras and was designed to fit on TV's... Apple made it fit into a a tiny notch on a cellphone... innovation at best, dawg!

6. LiLLicky

Posts: 88; Member since: Oct 27, 2017

Rumor has it that ur a troll.

11. sissy246

Posts: 7083; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

That would be you

23. iushnt

Posts: 3086; Member since: Feb 06, 2013

This is good news for consumers actually, and not every one can reverse engineer it.

36. nottolate

Posts: 52; Member since: Jun 01, 2014

"Rumor has it samsung is already reverse engineering Apple's Face ID." For what? My old Nexus 4 from 2012 sitting in a drawer somewhere has face id that works just fine. Android users figured out 5 years ago you'll never use such a feature. Why not? Because that is not the way we use our phones is why not. We are accustomed to opening our screens as quickly as possible. For most people they've already pressed the fingerprint sensor even before the phone has completely left of the pocket. That means the screen is already on before it leaves the pocket. No wasting time raising it up to the face to get the ok from the face id software. Androids users have long since moved on to bigger and better things like Smart Lock and Trusted Agent.

7. uncle_gadget

Posts: 1050; Member since: Sep 20, 2017

The Iris scanner for me works 95% of the time. The only time it doesnt is when i dont hold it properly to my face. Its just not as reliable as the FPS. Which is why I use Smart Unlock. I never have to use biometrics most of the time.

12. sissy246

Posts: 7083; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

I have glasses and it still works 9 out of 10 times. The only time is when i am out side and they turn dark.

17. ph00ny

Posts: 2026; Member since: May 26, 2011

Iris scanner works for me close to 100% for me and it's super quick. Sometimes i don't even see the screen to line up my eyes

19. MrShazam

Posts: 987; Member since: Jun 22, 2017

The iPhone X suffers from the same limitations according to several reviews, and isn't even as secure ( https://youtu.be/e8-yupM-6Oc ) nor versatile as the Iris scanner. Especially in the winter where you'll be wearing a scarf or balaclava. I sure hope Samsung doesn't downgrade to this overhyped joke.

21. mikehunta727 unregistered

What does that prove? Are people worrying about their twin sibling getting in their device? Not all twins can get in Face ID either.. some werent able to get in from testing so ... Face ID is no doubt better than Iris scanner. Iris scanner works half the time for me only and that's with nothing at all on my face I'm really hoping Samsung next year implements a form of Face ID, its a lot more consistent than Iris scanner and has better angle range

22. MrShazam

Posts: 987; Member since: Jun 22, 2017

It proves it's not even as secure as 2015 technology. My Iris scanner works fast and consistently when properly aligned, works with my scarf or balaclava on, and only recognizes my Iris even if I were to have a twin, and thus is no doubt objectively better. Face ID also requires it to be properly aligned and doesn't work in bright light either as stated in reviews, so, it's only a downgrade in terms of security.

24. mikehunta727 unregistered

Microsoft's version has been bypassed by some twins as well, people shouldnt be worrying about their own family member, much easier to get in a phone when the person is sleeping, just put their finger on the phone f you wanted to be a sinister fuck The iris scanner was already fooled by a close up photos of your eyes and some contact lenses Iris scanner barely works for me , it needs much improvement in terms of speed and angle range

33. MrShazam

Posts: 987; Member since: Jun 22, 2017

"Microsoft's version has been bypassed by some twins as well" A google search for that ( http://sck.pm/7dH ) only shows headlines denying that claim. No need to make an assinine apple shill out of yourself...not even gonna bother reading any further.

25. mikehunta727 unregistered

Of course it works in bright lights, that has been debunked already by a few notorious reviewers like Jonathan morrison, etc. It works outdoors in sunny days, pitch black room, etc just fine Face ID'S pick up range is also much better than iris scanner's angle scan range Folks who have the X already now are reporting similiar, that it works quite well in a multitude of conditions X should of still had a FPS though

39. uncle_gadget

Posts: 1050; Member since: Sep 20, 2017

Even if Samsung has it, it will still have wverytbing else. You dont have to gwt rid of something to implwmwnt something else.

28. DellB

Posts: 55; Member since: Jun 07, 2015

Face ID is an old version of Microsoft's Kinect technology. Matter of fact, there is a new version that is able to differentiate between identical twins. Microsoft owns the patent and is likely smiling to the bank. So what on earth does Apple manufacture or invent? rounded corners!

3. umaru-chan

Posts: 354; Member since: Apr 27, 2017

This phone and U11 plus are hands down the best phone of 2017. iPhone X are getting rave review all over the net. I guess that will makes that Samsung bit*ch who always posts how good samsung phones are based on web rating cry. Surely it'll get atleast 9.4 from PA. It's the best iPhone ever.

8. Landon

Posts: 1245; Member since: May 07, 2015

Samsung has produced some great devices this year but what are your thoughts on the V30? If I had to purchase any phone right now, it would probably be that.

13. sissy246

Posts: 7083; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

If ypu have no use for what any of the others offer, thats a great choice, IMO

18. Well-Manicured-Man

Posts: 673; Member since: Jun 16, 2015

I like the design of the V30 and it’s multi media capabilities. It’s camera though does not convince me tbh. Google’s pixels 2 are disappointments for the price. The display of the XL 2 is very bad. The screen of the pixel 2 is solid but not Samsung’s best tech. Still Google charges flagship pricing. I think that only Samsung and Apple delivered solid devices this year but none of them is really worth the upgrade. I will wait for 2018 and check what is coming to market then.

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