iFixit completed its customary teardown of Apple's latest iPhone yesterday, and it turns out that the similarities between the iPhone SE and the iPhone 5S don't stop at the design. Most of the repair procedures for the new phone are substantially identical to the procedures for the old phone, and in fact the two share a number of identical components: the entire display assembly—including the LCD and digitizer, front camera, earpiece speaker, and proximity sensor—is interchangeable, as are the speaker assembly, vibration motor, and SIM tray.
The shared components mean that shops already set up to repair the iPhone 5S should have no problem repairing the SE, and that you should have no problem finding compatible components from iFixit or other sources for do-it-yourself repairs. One major exception is the battery, which uses a different connector than the one in the 5S—you'll need to buy a SE-specific battery to repair the SE, and you can't give your 5S a minor battery boost by replacing its 1560mAh battery with the SE's 1624mAh version (it's only a four percent increase—you'll live).
It also highlights one of the downsides to buying an SE: the display panel is exactly the same as the one in the 5S, which means no improvements to brightness, color gamut, contrast, or any of the other small advancements Apple worked into the iPhone 6 and 6S. It's not that the 5S/SE display is bad, it just isn't as good as what you'll get in the flagships.
The iPhone SE gets a six out of ten repairability score from iFixit—Apple's most popular product remains by far its most repairable, a weird reversal from four or five years ago (it says more about the way the Mac has changed over the last few years than anything else). Our full review of the iPhone SE will run early next week, and in the meantime, you can check out iFixit's entire teardown here.
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