back to article Honey, I shrunk the iPhone 12: Mini teardown reveals same components, only smaller

Though the iPhone 12 Mini is the smallest device in Apple's newest lineup, it is largely feature-complete when compared with its stablemates. A new teardown from iFixit shows how Cupertino pulled it off: components have been shrunk across the board and packed together so tightly, they might as well be flying with budget …

  1. Rich 2 Silver badge

    Unnecessary design

    I've had an iPhone for years now and i like them, but I cannot fathom why Apple makes the damned things out of glass! I mean - why? The first thing anyone does with a new phone is to stick it in a case so that it doesn't get so easily broken - ironically, even more important when the thing is made from glass! So nobody is going to see the nice swish glass body anyway.

    Similarly, I cannot fathom Apple's insistence on making everything so bloody thin. Again - it gets shoved into a (often bulky) case anyway, so adding a few mm to it would allow for a battery that was twice as big, and it would STILL be relatively thin. I think most people would prefer the better battery capacity over something so thin that it's actually difficult to hold (another reason for sticking it in a case).

    1. RockBurner

      Re: Unnecessary design

      If they made them thicker/less glassy, AND more robust, then people wouldn't feel the need to stick them in a case. The fact is that with the repairability being relatively costly and difficult for most phones, most people will stick them in a case regardless. So - if phone makers want to make them thin and glassy, fine, most people will need a case to make them robust. But I agree about battery capacity.

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Unnecessary design

      > I've had an iPhone for years now and i like them, but I cannot fathom why Apple makes the damned things out of glass! I mean - why?

      What material would you spec in its place? Bear in mind that metals will interfere with the radios and wireless charging, and polymers aren't as stiff as glass.

      1. Rich 2 Silver badge

        Re: Unnecessary design

        Err... plastic? Like 99% of every other consumer electronics

        The iPhone 6C got slated because it had a plastic back. So what? What difference does it make? Apart from it being more robust and cheaper?

        And it only has to be super-stiff if the thing is ludicrously thin!!

        1. quxinot

          Re: Unnecessary design

          So use carbon fiber with a pretty weave or fancy color.

          "The new iPhone's iFiber case is a marvel of space-age technology, engineering, and beauty! The composite materials use a rugged matrix of fibers encapsulated in a multipart...." Etc. "And a bargain at twice the price! Optional to customize your phone to your busy, exciting lifestyle for a moderate extra cost...."

          1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge

            Re: Unnecessary design

            "So use carbon fiber"

            Carbon is conductive. No good for wrapping around the antennae and charging coil.

        2. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Unnecessary design

          Neither ABS or polycarbonate are as stiff as glass, so would need to be make thicker than a functionally equivalent glass part, resulting in either a thicker phone or a smaller battery. If you say that you'd be fine with a slightly thicker phone, then you're in luck: you can put it in a case. So how exactly are you negatively impacted by the choice of glass?

          Carbon fibre reinforced plastic isn't as easy to recycle as glass. Also, if it is chipped by dropping it on something, it can give nasty splinters.

          1. Rich 2 Silver badge

            Re: Unnecessary design

            What about ceramic? There are ceramics out there that are extremely robust - bearings are made out of the stuff! It's probably no more expensive than making it out of glass or a single lump of magnesium (another thing Apple likes doing).

            But it's all nonsense - there are plastics that have been around for years that work just fine - what was this stuff made out of before glass became fashionable? What do Samsung (etc) use?

    3. David Lawton

      Re: Unnecessary design

      A case? You put your iPhone in a case?!? and hide its beauty! I'm just as confused why people use cases. I don't , I just got the 12 mini this weekend, after having my iPhone 8 for 3 years and 2 months NOT in a case and only has 1 small light scratch on the back. I love the glass finish, I must be lucky as I've never ever in 22 years of having mobile phones had one break or get smashed.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Unnecessary design

        > I'm just as confused why people use cases.

        Strangely, people live and work in environments different to your own. Clearly a phone that used on a building site or farm yard is at greater risk of being dropped on something hard or sharp than a phone that is largely used in a carpeted office. The people who out cases on their phone may well be the people who supply you with food and shelter.

        People in their dexterity and grip too, with some dubbed 'butter fingers'.

    4. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Unnecessary design

      I can never fathom why most phones I see are crazed, and many are totally smashed like they've been hit with a hammer.

      How do you even do that much damage? Anyone can drop a phone once in a while but they are reasonably tough. The impression I get is most people must drop their phone almost daily, if not throw it around?!

  2. IJD

    Apple make the back out of glass to double the chance of the phone smashing when you drop it so you have to pay them a fortune to repair it ;-)

    To be fair to Apple, they're not the only manufacturer to go down this stupid path...

    1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge


      I'd still be using my Samsung Galaxy S7 except it's also made out of glass, and after years of use and despite being in a case, last August it fell just right to shatter the back. I now have a S20+, which I'd bet also has a glass back just waiting to crack.

      1. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: Yup

        Yup, and I'd still be using a Nexus 6P for the same reason.

    2. DS999 Silver badge

      If the glass back of my 11 pro max shattered, I'd put it in a case to cover up that damage (and save my hands from possibly getting tiny glass slivers)

      I'd only be concerned with breaking the front, but I've never had a case on any of my iPhones, and they've never broken from drops (I only have about one drop to concrete per year - knock on wood - someone more fumble fingered might not be able to get away without a case like I do)

  3. John Robson Silver badge

    FaceID doesn't work so well...

    with masks.

    Shame, since it's one of the reasons I upgraded to an Xr a while back.

    It's been much more convenient for me than a finger sensor, since I now basically always wear gloves when out and about for the wheelchair rims, but with masks it's back to code tapping (at least one set of my gloves has a few decent touchscreen fingertips).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: FaceID doesn't work so well...

      I hear you.

      Apple Pay is a particular faff now, as it seems to try FaceID a few times before giving up and prompting for my code instead. Strange how I now envy those with an SE 2020 or one of the older models with touch-ID which just continues to work as it always has done :)

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: FaceID doesn't work so well...

      It's the old convenience Vs security trade off. If you were using an Android phone, it might have been worth looking at 'Unlock phone with NFC tag' - and then securing an NFC tag to your glove. It can be set up to work with Bluetooth devices too. Obviously it opens an additional attack vector, bit that would have been for you to mull over.

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: FaceID doesn't work so well...

        Of course it's a trade off, and is why my phone doesn't get unlocked until I'm out of an airport - so it's still on PIN required.

        However the comment was more on the basis that masks weren't really an issue until this year - but none of the current crop do anything other than FaceID.

        The other *big* issue is that I have one of my fingers registered on each of my kids devices, so I can open them and see what the device is being used for (this parenting thing that so many wish to outsource) - I can't do that with FaceID.

        I am the administrator on my daughter's second hand surface, which is great, but the Hello recognition is so damned fast I can't tell it *not* to log in as me if I need to do something in her account, so I have to cover the camera... slight fail there (though it is really useful for her).

        Not sure I'd have gone with the NFC option (though I do have a stack of tags and an NFC reader that I *still* haven't got around to wiring up to an pi or arduino - though I don't have the motorised garage door I was planning to use it for any more either...

  4. JohnG11

    "Apple opened pre-orders for the iPhone 12 Mini earlier this month, with the first units delivered to punters last Friday (13 Nomveber). ®"

    "13 Nomveber" ... when on earth is that?

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