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A device-repair YouTuber condemns the US-market version of the iPhone 12 as “almost impossible” to restore independently

The iPhone 12 might require seriously advanced teardown techniques. (Source: YouTube)
The iPhone 12 might require seriously advanced teardown techniques. (Source: YouTube)
The Australian phone-repair vlogger Hugh Jeffreys’ latest video features an iPhone 12 in need of a new display and rear panel. The YouTuber demonstrated that fixing these issues entailed quite a bit of effort, resorting to the use of fancy laser equipment at one point. Furthermore, this US variant has extra parts that makes its dissembly even trickier (and potentially more dangerous) than the average iPhone.
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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.

Therefore, the YouTuber reiterated his stance that Apple makes it “nearly impossible” for a user to repair their own 12-series device...especially if you bought yours in the US, as it seems.

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Deirdre O'Donnell
Deirdre O'Donnell - Senior Tech Writer - 4500 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2018
I became a professional writer and editor shortly after graduation. My degrees are in biomedical sciences; however, they led to some experience in the biotech area, which convinced me of its potential to revolutionize our health, environment and lives in general. This developed into an all-consuming interest in more aspects of tech over time: I can never write enough on the latest electronics, gadgets and innovations. My other interests include imaging, astronomy, and streaming all the things. Oh, and coffee.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 05 > A device-repair YouTuber condemns the US-market version of the iPhone 12 as “almost impossible” to restore independently
Deirdre O'Donnell, 2021-05-23 (Update: 2021-05-23)