iPad

iPad Mini more difficult to repair than larger iPad

Bill Detwiler shows you how to disassemble the iPad Mini and explains why it's actually more difficult to crack open and repair than the iPad.

Apple's iPad Mini may be a "concentration" of the iPad's best features. But, it's also a concentration of the worst. And as I show in this week's Cracking Open episode, it's small size, extremely fragile LCD, and super-tiny screws actually make it more frustrating to crack open and work on than the larger iPad.

The iPad Mini is Apple's answer to the rapidly growing market for 7-inch tablets--currently dominated by Amazon's Kindle Fire HD and Google's Nexus 7. The Mini has a 7.9" IPS display (1,024 x 768), a dual-core A5 processor, 512MB RAM, a 5 megapixel rear camera, 1.2 megapixel front camera, and comes in either Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + Cellular models. Our test unit had 16GB of storage, but 32GB and 64GB versions are also available.

For more information on the iPad Mini, including for real-world tests and pricing, check out Scott Stein's full CNET review. And for a comparison of the iPad Mini against the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD, Jessica Dolcourt has you covered.

Full teardown gallery: Cracking Open the Apple iPad Mini

Cracking Open observations

  • Extremely difficult to open: Like the larger iPad, the Mini's front glass panel is held to the metal body with extremely strong adhesive. Removing the panel involves heating the panel's edges (loosening the adhesive) and very gently prying it away from the body. This is a time consuming process that often take 30 minutes or more.
  • Digitizer cable relocated: On the larger iPad, the digitizer ribbon cable is located along the left edge in the lower corner. Apple moved the Mini's digitizer cable to the lower-right corner along the bottom edge.
  • Must remove LCD to remove front glass: The motherboard connectors for the glass digitizer are located under the LCD and two internal metal plates. You'll need to remove the screen and plates to disconnect the front panel.
  • Fragile LCD panel: The iPad Mini's LCD has a plastic backing, and the panel is much less rigid than the larger iPad's metal-backed LCD.
  • Internal metal plate: Like the iPod Touch, a large metal plate is located between the LCD panel and other internal components.
  • Adhesive overload: Not only are the front panel and battery held in place with adhesive so are the motherboard and just about every other component. Although the components are accessible, removing them is no easy task.
  • Tiny, tiny screws: Apple used standard Phillips #000 screws inside the iPad Mini, but they are some of the smallest screws I've seen and there are lots of them.
  • More difficult than iPad to repair: The fragile LCD panel, copious amounts of adhesive, tiny screws, and unit's smaller size actually make the iPad Mini more difficult to repair than its larger sibling.

Internal hardware

Our iPad Mini test unit had the following hardware:

  • Dual-core Apple A5 processor
  • 512MB RAM
  • Hynix H2JTDG8UD2MBR 16GB NAND Flash
  • Apple 343S0593-A5
  • Apple 338S1116 Cirrus Logic Audio Codec
  • Fairchild FDMC 6676BZ
  • Fairchild FDMC 6683
  • Apple 338S1077 Cirrus Logic Audio ICs
  • Murata 339S0171 WiFi module
  • 7.9" IPS LCD screen (1024 x 768 pixels at 163 ppi)
  • 3.72 V, 16.5 Whr, 4440 mAh Li-ion battery pack
  • 5 megapixel rear camera
  • 1.2 megapixel front camera

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

12 comments
macylajos
macylajos

Total agree with you, I also once damaged my ipad mini 64Gb screen as I was managing myself but it won't work but thanks to iphonedoctor.com.au they help to fix it at minimal price.

Jadtobaj
Jadtobaj

Hey Bill!


This is great.


You are right, maybe it is more difficult because iPad mini is more compact than the larger one?


Anyways, Bill do you recommend I should buy iPad mini parts from http://phonepartsusa.com or any other supplier?


Thank you.

brianpjones89
brianpjones89

Hi Bill

The iPad Mini is still very repairable compared with the iPad Mini Retina but it is nothing compared with some of the competition that almost open themselves. I do agree that Apple love a bit of adhesive and it does seem to be a trend with all Apple products, it won’t be long before repairs and even upgrades on laptops/desktops are impossible. I write occasionally for <a href="http://ipadrepaironly.com">iPad Repair</a> and the level of reparability is obviously extremely important to me and the way things are going every repair guide will end up as take it back to Apple. So Sad.

Best wishes

Brian

joanniejp
joanniejp

I try to get my iPad repair outside of Applecare. I always found the plan far too expensive, since I seldom need it. I would definitely never open my mini on my own. Sometimes I feel worried letting a professional open it, let alone myself! It's cool to see how they repair it, though. I never considered what could make it difficult or easy for someone to repair a tablet. Very neat!

techiegenes
techiegenes

Well done article, and the basic premise is true. However, for those of you who do want to know how to best repair the iPad Mini, I recommend checking out RepairsUniverse - they have an iPad Mini Take Apart video and repair guide, as well as iPad Mini parts. You can watch the take apart video, get a printed guide and get parts at RepairsUniverse's iPad Mini replacement parts page.

iqbalfazal
iqbalfazal

In pursuit of perfection - one more product to end job opportunities for support guys!

Gisabun
Gisabun

Knowing Apple, you bring your mini in because of an inevitable hardware problem, they'll take it and chuck it into the garbage for an eventual landfill [maybe in China].

rickscr
rickscr

I don't anticipate taking one apart but it is most interesting to see whats in the box. Thanks Bill! As a side note there will be out of warranty units soon enough and some one may find this article very useful at that point.

afrit
afrit

I seriously doubt professional techs-- other than those employed by Apple-- would be repairing these devices.

johnd
johnd

It was just released, any person with a problem is going to use the warranty services. Usually your articles are pretty good.

Gisabun
Gisabun

TR always opens up gadgets. I don't think they are worrying about a warranty. Since we don't have the money, they are doing it for us.

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