28.04.2020 – 13:26
iPhone SE 2020 teardown: camera sensor exposed
Nobody said not to compare Apples to Apples, so that’s exactly what iFixit did: a side-by-side teardown of the iPhone SE 2020 and its progenitor, the iPhone 8. The results?
Our first surprise was the "updated" camera—rumors suggested the SE borrows the iPhone XR’s image sensor, but the sensor we found is much smaller, practically a dead ringer for the one in 2017’s iPhone 8. Best guess? This is an iPhone 8 sensor benefitting from A13 image processing magic. We don’t have that dead to rights, but the cameras in the 8 and SE worked interchangeably in our parts swap test.
Our tests also confirm that the SE’s display works in the iPhone 8 (and vice versa), but the two displays are not identical. 3D Touch screens include a control chip on the back that governs the parallel plate capacitors that detect 3D touches. We first saw this when Apple debuted 3D Touch in the iPhone 6s, but a peek inside the iPhone SE display reveals no plate capacitors and a blank window where the control chip should be. It’s kind of remarkable that you can successfully swap an SE display into the iPhone 8 with that hardware missing, but it’s a win for repair
iPhone SE 2020 teardown highlights:
Though the two displays work interchangeably, the iPhone SE did not gain 3D Touch superpowers when we dropped in an iPhone 8 display. The SE seems to be software-limited to Haptic Touch.
We weren’t expecting to find 3D Touch hardware, but in its absence we thought we’d at least see a thinner display and a correspondingly thicker battery. Welp, we thought wrong! The iPhone SE has the same battery specs as the iPhone 8, but it has a new connector, making battery swaps between the two models impossible.
We’re pretty thrilled that Apple Frankensteined this phone together with parts from previous models. Replacement parts should be easier to find—and by recycling their design, they produce less overall waste. Apple didn’t have to give the SE their newest A13 Bionic chip, but because they did, it should guarantee that this phone lasts for many years to come.
iFixit is the world's largest online community for repair and was founded by Kyle Wiens and Luke Soules in 2003. ifixit.com connects people all across the globe and shows them how to easily fix their stuff. The website offers more than 60,000 free repair guides for phones, consoles, coffee makers and other everyday life items—written by a global community of fixers and DIY experts.
An additional online shop with high-quality toolkits and spare parts enables iFixit to provide its comprehensive platform and guides for free, and thus make repair knowledge accessible to everyone.
Dorothea Kessler | iFixit Europe Outreach & PR
Traenkestr. 7, 70597 Stuttgart, Germany