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Verizon iPhone 4 Teardown

Bill Detwiler cracks open Verizon iPhone 4. Although similar to the AT&T version, this Apple smartphone has some significant differences.
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1 of 79 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

After four years of being exclusive to AT&T (in the US), the Apple iPhone is now available on Verizon. And like the original iPhone 4, we couldn't wait to get our hands on the Verizon model and crack it open. Follow along as we take a peak at the hardware inside Apple's CDMA iPhone 4 for Verizon.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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There's nothing on the front of the box to tell you that this is a Verizon iPhone 4.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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Opening the box, we find the Verizon iPhone 4.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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As with the original iPhone 4, inside the Verizon iPhone 4's box are the device, headphones, AC power adapter, 30-pin connector cable, and product documentation.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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The Verizon iPhone 4 is on the left and the AT&T iPhone 4 is on the right. From the front, I can't tell the difference. Can you?

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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From the back, you can tell the Verizon iPhone 4 (left) from the AT&T iPhone 4 (right) by looking at the model number--A1349 for the Verizon device and A1322 for the AT&T phone.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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Looking at the left edges of each device, we can see another external difference--the antenna design. The iPhone 4's metal frame also serves as the phone's antenna. The Verizon iPhone 4 (top) has a slightly different antenna configuration. Notice the black space to the right of the Verizon device's vibrate toggle switch.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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Looking at the right edge of each phone, you'll also notice the absense of a SIM card slot on the Verizon iPhone 4 (top).

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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Now that we've looked at the external differences, let's get down to cracking the Verizon iPhone 4 open.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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The Verizon iPhone 4 uses two five-point "Pentalobe" screws. Apple began using similar screws in 2009 on the MacBook Pro and in 2010 on the MacBook Air. In January, our friends over at iFixit reported that Apple is using these screws on all new iPhone 4s and even swapping out the original Phillips #00 screws if you bring your phone into an Apple store for a repair.

In the past, I've used a narrow flathead screw driver to remove these. If you want a more reliable tool, iFixit sells a custom-built iPhone 4 screwdriver.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
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Once the external case screws are removed, you can slide the back cover up and lift it away from the case.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
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With the back cover removed, we get our first look inside the Verizon iPhone 4. At first glance, it looks nearly identical to the AT&T iPhone 4.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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As with the AT&T model, the battery takes up much of the space inside the Verizon iPhone 4's case. The main PCB wraps around the battery.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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For comparison, here's a photo of the AT&T iPhone 4 from our, "Cracking Open the Apple iPhone 4," gallery.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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At the top of the Verizon iPhone 4, there is a black metal shield covering part of the main PCB and several connectors. Five screws hold the shield in place. As the next phone shows, there's a similar shield on the AT&T version of the iPhone 4, but it has a different shape.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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Here's the upper-PCB shield on the AT&T iPhone 4. Notice that it has a very different shape than the shield on the Verizon version.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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At the bottom of the iPhone 4 are the speaker assembly, redesigned vibration motor, and the 30-pin connector.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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The first step in dissecting the Verison iPhone 4 is removing the battery. The battery connector is held in place with a single Phillips #00 screw.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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With the screw removed, you can decouple the battery connector.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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With the battery disconnected, you can lift it away from the Verizon iPhone 4's metal frame. A small bit of adhesive holds the battery to the frame, but you should be able to pull the battery away without damaging it or the frame.

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Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
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Like the AT&T iPhone 4, the Verison model uses a 3.7V, 5.25Whr Li-ion battery.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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With the battery removed, we'll turn our attention to the metal shield that covers the top of the main PCB.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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As on the AT&T iPhone 4, the metal shield on the main PCB covers several connectors.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
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Using a thin metal or plastic blade, you can disconnect the connectors.

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Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
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While we're working at the top of the main PCB, we might as well remove the other Phillips #00 screws in this area.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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With all the ribbon cables disconnected, we can now remove the camera.

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Like the AT&T iPhone 4, the Verizon model's rear-facing 5 MP camera allows you to shoot 720p video at 30 FPS and features an LED flash.

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A black metal cover is mounted over the connector for a large ribbon cable that runs along the main PCB. Two screws hold the cover in place. We'll need to remove both.

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Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
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Once the cover is removed, you can pop loose the connector.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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The ribbon cable is attached to one of the main PCB's metal shields with a small bit of adhesive.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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Next, we'll remove the Phillips #00 screw that holds the speaker assembly to the frame.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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Before we can remove the speaker assembly, we need to disconnect the Wi-Fi antenna cable that is attached to it. To disconnect the antenna from the main PCB, you'll need to remove a thin metal piece, which acts as a ground when the back cover is in place. The metal ground is held in place with a single Phillips #00 screw.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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With the metal ground removed, you can disconnect the Wi-Fi antenna wire from the main PCB.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
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Finally, you can lift the speaker assembly away from the frame.

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With the speaker assembly removed, we are ready to remove the Verizon iPhone 4's main PCB.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
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Several Phillips #00 screws hold the Verizon iPhone 4's main PCB to the metal frame beneath.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
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Before we can remove the main PCB from the Verizon iPhone 4, we need to make sure all the connectors have been disconnected.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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With all the screws removed and connectors decoupled, you can left the main PCB away from the Verizon iPhone 4's metal frame.

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Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
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Two metal shields cover the chips on the top of the Verizon iPhone 4's main PCB. We'll need to remove them to see the chips underneath.

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Several metal shields also cover the chips on the underside of the Verizon iPhone 4's main PCB.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
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After removing the two metal shields from the main PCB, we can see several of the chips underneath. Including the large A4 processor.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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This photo shows the top of the AT&T iPhone 4's main PCB. Although the general shape and some of the chips are the same, it's a completely different boarb from the Verizon iPhone.

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After removing the metal sheild from the underside of the main PCB, we can see a few of the chips beneath. One of the metal shields is soldered to the board, and I left it in place. I want to reassemble this phone in working condition.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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This photo shows the back of the AT&T iPhone 4's main PCB.

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Qualcomm MDM6600

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Toshiba Y890A111222KA

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I'm unsure what's beneath this black shield. I feared removing it would damage the components underneath.

According the guys and gals over at iFixit, it's likely that the chip under this shield provide the Verizon iPhone 4's Wi-Fi and Bluetooth functionality.

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Apple A4 Processor

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Apple branded 338S0589 B0 chip

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Apple branded 338S0876-A5

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Qualcomm PM8028

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Skyworks (SKY77711-4 and SKY77710-4) Power amplifiers

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Avago A2F1045 136574

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Chip with markings 2050 33DH YBU DO

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Chips with marking AGD8 2050 Y9XB6

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Several Phillips #00 screws along the side of the metal frame hold the mounting brackets for the display assembly in place. You just need to loosen, not remove, these screws.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
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One of the side screws for the display assembly is located behind the redesigned vibration motor. The motor is attached to the metal frame with very sticky adhesive. I decided not to completely remove the motor, but instead to gently push it to the side--just enough to reach the screw.

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I was able to move the vibration motor just enough to reach the screw behind it.

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There's one screw in each corner of the display assembly.

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With all the screws removed, you can lift the display assembly away from the metal frame. A small patch of adhesive located near the headphone jack will give you a bit of resistence, but isn't too difficult to work through.

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