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Apple iPod Touch 4th Generation (2010) Teardown

Bill Detwiler cracks open the 4th gen. Apple iPod Touch--released in 2010. See the hardware inside Apple's flagship Multi-Touch music player.
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Topic: Mobility
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In September 2010, Apple unveiled the 4th generation iPod Touch. The new Touch is physically similar to previous versions, but it has several new features--including two cameras.
As with the iPod Shuffle and Nano, the Touch isn't designed to be easily disassembled. In fact, I found it to be the most difficult to take apart.
To disassemble the iPod Touch, you'll need a Phillips #00 screwdriver, a thin metal blade, plastic spudger, or iPod case opening tool, and a hair dryer or heat gun.
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The iPod Touch (4th generation) has a 3.5-inch (diagonal) retina display capable of producing images at 640 x 960 pixel resolution, a rear-facing camera capable of shooting video at 720p at 30 fps and still photos at 960 x 720, and a front-facing camera capable of taking VGA-quality video and photos.
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The 4th generation iPod Touch is available in three memory sizes (8GB, 32GB, and 64GB). The 8GB Touch sells for $229 (US), the 32GB version costs $299, and the 64GB Touch will set you back $399.
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The earphones, 30-pin dock connector to USB cable, and product documentation are located under the iPod Touch.
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The redesigned 4th generation iPod Touch measures 4.4 inches high, 2.3 inches wide, and is 0.28 inches deep. It weighs just 3.56 ounces. The front-facing camera is centered above the display along the top edge. And, the familiar Home button is found along the bottom.
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The volume buttons are located along the left side.
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The Sleep/wake button is located along the top edge.
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The 30-pin connector, 3.5mm stereo headphone jack, and speaker grill (new in the 4th generation) are located along the bottom edge.
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On the back of the 4th generation iPod Touch is the rear-facing camera.
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The 4th generation iPod Touch (left) is thinner than the iPhone 4 (center) and original iPhone (right).
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To begin disassembling the 4th generation iPod Touch, you'll need to use a heat gun or hair dryer to heat the adhesive that holds the front glass panel and display to the metal case.
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Once you've sufficiently warmed the adhesive, you can use a thin metal blade (shown here) or iPod Touch case opening tool to gently pry the front glass panel away from the metal case. WARNING: Be very careful not to insert the tool into the iPod Touch too far--especially along the sides. If you do, you could damage the display. You should really only pry the front panel from the bottom where the Home button is.
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Once you've freed the front panel from the adhesive, you can lift it up from the metal case. Take care not to pull too hard. The front panel is still connected to the main logic board via several extremely thin ribbon cables.
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The 4th generation iPod Touch's display is fused to the front glass panel. If you break the display, you'll likely need to replace the entire panel. Unfortunately, several of the front panel's ribbon cables are attached to the underside of the logic board.
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Before we can remove the logic board, we'll need to remove the large, metal EMI shild that covers the battery and most of the board. At least 10 Phillips #00 screws of different lengths hold the shield to the case.
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Even with the screws removed, the EMI is difficult to pry loose. It is held in place with adhesive and small tabs along the side.
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A thin piece of copper foil holds the EMI shield to the iPod Touch's logic board. So don't just yank it free.
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Well, this is a first. While removing the EMI shield, I apparently tore the very thin ribbon cable that connected the volume buttons to the logic board.
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Using a think metal blade, I was able to remove the thin copper film from the EMI shield.
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The contact for the Home button is located at the bottom of the EMI shield.
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The front panel is attached to the main logic board by three ribbon cables. You can pop one of the connectors free without much effort, but removing the other two will require us to remove the logic board. The thin copper ribbon cable is likely the Wi-Fi antenna.
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Before we can remove the logic board, let's remove some of the other components--starting with the 3.5mm headphone jack. There another Phillips #00 screw here. Might as well remove it now.
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The headphone jack fits very snugly into the iPod Touch's case. You'll like need to pry it loose with a think metal blade or plastic tool. It's attached to the logic board with a connect that you can pop off.
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The volume button contacts are covered with a think metal shield. I removed it to ensure that it wouldn't block the logic board's removal.
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As the front panel is still connected to the logic board with two extremely thin ribbon cables, I'll need to be extra careful when I start prying out the logic board.
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Starting at the top of the iPod Touch, I gently lifted up on the logic board until I would rotate it away from the case. Much to my annoyance, there seemed to be more adhesive hold the logic board in place. Apple clearly DID NOT design the 4th generation iPod Touch to be user-serviceable.
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As the battery is soldered to the logic board, we'll need to remove it from the case before the board can be totally free. Unfortunately, the battery is stuck to the case with some pretty strong adhesive. You'll need to pry it loose.
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With most of the internal components removed, only the two cameras and button assemblies remain in the iPod Touch's metal case. We'll remove those components in a bit. But for now, let's look at the logic board and attached hardware.
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There are two connectors remaining between the front panel and logic board. The connector on the thin copper-color ribbon cable should pop loose. Unfortunately, the thin black cable in the center is a bit more challenging.
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A thin strip of copper film covers the black cable's connector. With a little patience, you should be able to remove the film without damaging the connector or the cable.
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With the copper film removed, you can disconnect the last ribbon cable from the logic board.
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The iPod Touch's retina display is fused to the front panel. Replacing a damaged screen will involved replacing the entire part.
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The battery and speaker are soldered to the iPod Touch's logic board. Unlike the iPhone 4, the iPod Touch's battery is NOT designed to be replaced by the user.
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The 4th generation iPod Touch has a 3.7V 3.44Whr battery.
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Before we look at the chips on the logic board, let's remove the iPod Touch's cameras and buttons from the metal case.
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There is a small, white plastic spacer that is mounted next to the front-facing camera. I removed it before disconnecting the cameras.
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The iPod Touch's rear-facing camera is hidden behind a small metal shield. You'll need to remove the shield, he disconnect the camera's connector before lift the camera away from the metal case.
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The iPod Touch's front-facing camera is easily removed by disconnecting its cable from the logic board.
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About the only thing left inside the iPod Touch's metal case are the cable for the Sleep/wake and volume buttons and the buttons themselves. This very thin ribbon cable is glued to the case and should have been removed with the logic board--as its connector is soldered to the board. Unfortunately, I accidentally tore the cable when trying to remove the iPod Touch's large metal EMI shield.
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Most of the main chips on the logic board are covered with a metal EMI shield. We'll need to pry the shield off to see the chips.
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Luckily the logic board's EMI shield is too difficult to remove.
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With the shield removed, we can see three large chips.
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The large chip in the center is the Apple A4 processor, which is also used in the iPhone 4 and iPad. To the left is the large Toshiba NAND flash memory module (TH58NVG6D2FLA49). The metal plate in the top right corner of the logic board likely covers the wireless chips.
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Another small metal EMI shield covers three chips on the lower half of the logic board.
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The chip on the far left is likely the audio codec, and the chip in the center is likely the gyroscope.
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Not much to see on the back of the the logic board's lower half, except the solder points for the speaker and battery.
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The 4th generation iPod Touch is definitely not designed with repair in mind. The front panel is glued to the metal case. The battery, speaker, and button cables are soldered to the logic board. And, many of the internal component are held in place with adhesive. Unlike the iPhone 4 or even the iPad, I wouldn't recommend attempting a self repair on the iPod Touch unless you have nothing to lose. The likelihood of damaging the internal components during the repair is extremely high--as my experience shows.
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