A device-repair YouTuber condemns the US-market version of the iPhone 12 as “almost impossible” to restore independently
Hugh Jeffreys devotes his YouTube channel to tear-downs and repairs of damaged devices, iPhones included. A recent example of these videos highlights the increased lengths to which Apple has gone to discourage independent repair in the latest iPhone 12 series. Now, the vlogger has re-visited this issue with additional evidence that this problem gets even worse in certain markets compared to others.
A base 12 model with a smashed display and rear panel was the star of this show. It had in fact been on the channel before; however, this new unit had been imported from the United States. This had been done so Jeffreys could demonstrate the extra steps required for its dissection compared to the prior teardown.
This was attributed to support for mmWave 5G found in US iPhone 12-series devices, requiring additional antennae and connectors, some of which are wired to the board in a way that might lead to their damage on the part of an unwitting reparability enthusiast.
Jeffreys also asserted that the adhesive used to secure the glass panels to this iPhone was stronger compared to the other device of the same line he had worked on. The YouTuber turned to a REFOX precision laser-cutter (a significant investment in teardown terms, but apparently necessary in the case of some Apple mobile devices) to etch the glue off the back glass.
Nevertheless, Jeffreys succeeded in re-assembling and repairing the device, give or take a few false starts. However, the iPhone exhibited the dreaded “Important Hardware Message” warning of non-genuine parts baked into iOS as a response to third-party repairs on re-booting, not to mention the inevitable failure of TrueTone in the restored unit.