How I Made My Own iPhone – in China

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How I Made My Own iPhone - in China
How I Made My Own iPhone - in China

From USA USAF, your good, I am trying to make my own iPhone. I was in a dimly lit barbecue joint here in China. I was with people like me, D. C. was fascinated by the electronics manufacturing scene. Someone said, you know.

Still the cellphone parts in the markets, I wonder if you could build your phone. I kept coming going from China over the past nine months, and. I couldn’t get rid of this burning question.

I make my self. Would people even sell parts to a western guy like me who are the speaks any Chinese now we are?

The iPhone 6 S.. 6 so I did what I needed to do, and I dove in with both feet. Coming to Shenzhen is like visiting the future, but it’s this crazy dystopian Blade Runner Esque future.

To make a phone, I think I need four pieces. I need the middle back shelled the phone sits in. I need a screen.

I need a battery, and then I need the logic board, which is the circuit board that has a processor and memory and things like that on. So we’re going to lead somebody markets so let’s take a look at what’s available here sometimes there are.

The available for sale. So that was interesting. I just went back to one of the bases and tried to buy one of the recycled fabrics and was successful, but it’s creating jobs.

Now let’s head inside the main markets see if I can get on the back, it looks now I’m not going to be able to film with the big camera inside, but I’ll be able to use my iPhone. Those are nice. Yeah, those are nice, and they don’t have a logo.

This is Jen. You know You. S. Thank you, S. much. In order. The second thing we open our yeah the. We never use a. 3. Thank you how to—the overall.
You know you have to go; you got high. Hearing it is music. Okay. I.

So that was a big success pretty quickly I was able to find it back it looks pretty new and Christina me it doesn’t have the laser markings inside it like the is one does, and I need those for allowing some cables, and there’s a patch where the antenna sticks.

But I think there might be a place with a laser that can add those for me I’m going to see if I can find that I also found a bunch of really cool designs of different colors that don’t look like anything apple makes.

I looked around for a bit, and I finally found this laser engraving both talked in a little cubby hole underneath the stairs. It seems like our original-like whatever they usually do yeah, so apple the standard for USA okay yeah USA markings here.

I’m outside McDonald’s, and I’m waiting for Frank, so Frank Frank supplier is a bunch of different parts in the market he’s going to help me buy the parts for to fill the screen so what I want to build a building up an iPhone 6 S. right.

So and I want to make the screen much from this registry, so if we put together a screen, what pieces do we need the glass digitizer? Yeah.

The LCD yeah the fact. Not quite. Yeah. Yeah, that’s the optically clear adhesive. Yes. And they’re like a touch sensor when you. Or such in today’s S.

Okay, so that’s part of the city this process. Made. The result is that because the system does yeah, the very clean.

They can do this here in the markets right some people can do this, and we can go to the nearest. Yeah. Should we buy the parts ourselves first and bring it to the repair shop or should we have the repair shop?

Yet can we buy all of the parts we by phone last week by the digitizer we buy the LCD backlight I know that when I want to do is? Okay yeah, okay.

Good, and I can tell. Okay, it’s okay to show their base yeah yeah, okay.
The Fraser heating it up now. Sucks down right hold. Session.

This is the. And then. Digitizer right. And now that what is he taking off the riser with like soldering iron slash razor blade that’s pretty cool I’ve not seen that and then another four eyes are on top. I don’t know.

No, with this hi John yeah, what is this machine. LCD from Ross yeah is it is that heat to the 5. Excellent thanks for putting in this to rubble removing the bubbles are removing the bubble of gravel remover this is. Okay. So take out all their. Yes.

Is it heating as well? As he. The finish. It’s nice to see. Yeah. We finished. An hour to do the back to home in on this one okay the backlight yeah this one is the best way under the. We need to manage this process.

That’s a very cool testing phone. Okay. Good all. Test yourself I think it’s good looks good to me. Okay, finish. This rain. Good evening. They want money.
And I pay them in recent phase are always you know used to be that you bought everything in the markets with cash. Still, more more, it’s been moving towards we chat, which is this messaging app crossed with like Facebook and Twitter, and PayPal makes it easy to send money to someone just by scanning a QR code.

Anyway, I was in total, so does our box for 80 yeah. Okay, this is Jeannie. Okay, my wife. I have the answer the phone now I need the guts the most complex part is the logic board it’s the brains of the phone, but it’s also the part that intimidates me the most I just picked up this use broken logic board in the market for a few dollars.

It’s got a processor right here and the flash memory chips right there, but it’s also got a lot of other chips all over it that are super tiny. My understanding is that this is a panel of 4 logic boards. They don’t have any components on this panel would be fed into the factory line does the chip placement initially.

Thought I could solder on all the chips myself. That turned out to be a vast rabbit hole I spent weeks on the market my tools. I was trying to learn to solder squeegee on some of this paste trying to buy individual chips right.

I was way over my head, so I went up to the cellphone repair school up in one Joe called G. one. I met with the headteacher named Wyman as I told you earlier my project is to try and build my iPhone from parts that I am buying in the market do you think that it’s possible yes yeah yeah yeah I have a board like this fall okay.

I wish it weren’t so you’re going to die this order you may be by 43 maybe $200, and if you take the time to go to the other I see on display you may only work on one side is excellent he’s deficient it’s not impossible.

If you know if a bond may be tight if I buy a logic board from the markets, do you think I can build my phone that works livewire sure?

If you buy a glorious okay board and you can buy some screen or battery, and you can be on your phone yeah.it’s okay, for sure, it’s like just to you the computer you know make memory megacentre you can make a better read on a screen pass to become with them altogether, and I have a. Okay, so I give up for now.

But I’m going to head to the markets with my friend Helen, and she’s going to try to help me find a working logic board and probably one that came out of a used phone that’s maybe been repaired or refurbished.

It’s All the slowdown of the other markets is feeling it. This market’s super chaotic people are pushing and shoving other stacks of phones everywhere you look, and behind the counters, there are these giant safes to store them.

I feel a little bit uncomfortable here mostly just because I stick out but also because I don’t know what I’m doing. I want to buy 616. 6. Yeah okay. Thank you for using more confidence in this is going to work. Let’s go that way out of the main crowd, right.

She doesn’t have a phone. This is with a display and battery. It’s nice to do it. What can we do the testing with her? Yes. Yeah no I get it I’m not going to buy it without testing it’s enough money that I’d instead get all right I think you should go upstairs and talk to that lady get her to help us. She might not. Please. And I can bring it back.

Over sticker on. So. This is the logic board that Helen I bought in the markets now let’s see we need a battery. Generation here somewhere all right. The battery. I branded apple hands. Have my screen. Here. Let’s put it together and see this puppy works.

I hadn’t bought an on button yet, so I’m using the tweezers here to turn on the logic board. I got to work check that out. All right, see what’s up. But don’t have a home button. That’s problematic.

It turns out this logic board isn’t perfect for showing you what I mean if I go over here to the compass app. And I turn it around nothing happens. I’m not trying to go back and see if she could give me a new one that was pretty amazing I took about logic board back to the one I bought it from showed her on my testing set up that the compass didn’t work she said okay come back at 5.

I asked her for a refund, and we chatted we paid me the money via her phone and then still come back at 5, and I’ll give you a new one so pretty legit for no receipts and no contracts in a very gray area are very honorable. Five she had the logic board fully repaired ready to go, and I have three more days to bring it back if I find any more problems.

A very legit. After a bunch of days shopping, I finally have the significant pieces of the case the logic board and strange, but I still need a bunch of other parts to make a working phone. The battery was pretty easy. There are a bunch of Bruce; it’s all those.

But I need a bunch of other smaller parts brackets screws cables speakers at cetera. And so I spent an entire morning making a big shopping less of everything I needed.

But I was dreading going finding each booth and trying to describe what I wanted I need this one and this one here too I need to talk to.

I got super lucky the first place I went to. Yeah, I need everything for a phone, so I have the screen battery case board, and I need everything else, so if you have any.

They helped me out, so this is the—back camera. Use is the front camera. This is the bottom cable assembly that has the lightning dock and headphone Jack.

What’re your brackets? They even included a tiny bag of screws that provides for all the screws I need to build one phone.

Today’s the day I’ve been waiting for a long time today is the day I get to try and put together the phone I think I have everything I need I’m not sure, so let’s give it a shot. Right.

News knows how to do this. How does that work? What the preppy. Not 20. You might have about the markets and the.

My mercy on one of the vendors and see if they could show me what the missing.

It must be missing something obvious. I bought the cable from you yesterday, and if you feel like there’s no does not feel right.

A missile guns with them. Yeah yeah, the. You knew this all along what is that. What is this? What.
Hussey seating there’s a little insert right here the small metal shims you can see how they like audibly click. Hey.

That is sweet. That. It is my finished phone. Pretty awesome. Well.
It’s been a long time in the making I started this. Gosh, I don’t know a couple of months ago then in and out of the channel and working on it, but. This is, I didn’t know whether I’d be able to do this.

But I also learned a lot about how the phone ecosystem, the report phone repair, and refurbishing co system works here in Shenzhen. I never really thought much about what happens when I get rid of the phone recycle it or donate it I think a lot of movement up here it’s taken apart for parts or turn back in excellent working telephones.

When pressed by apple’s engineering, if it’s easy to repair and recycle these phones, I got to think that apple’s proud of the fact that their phones don’t end up in landfills. But there’s also credit due to the many thousands of people here they figured out how to turn trash like this back in the beautiful working phones.

Before I started this, I wasn’t much of a fun guy. I’m sure I’m a programmer, and I’m double electronics most of my life, but I know much about phones, and it turns out even a newbie like me can figure out how to put together a phone.

It’s doable if you have access to parts some essential tools and some good advice or instructions on how to do it I think anybody watching this with enough patience can do it as well the stuff isn’t rocket science.

It’s not a lot different in putting together your desktop computer. It’s a little bit smaller but waits; there’s one more thing.

I got a box to put in I went to the market yesterday, and I picked up a table with all the bits manual headphones charger charging cable mom so just like that. This. Just like a new phone.

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