iPhone 12 Mini: the differences hidden in the Apple phone

iPhone 12 Mini: the differences hidden in the Apple phone

Only a few hours after the iPhone 12 mini became available, the first photos are showing what it looks like inside the small smartphone.

Once again, the team of iFixit tear down into some new iPhones. While the first glimpses of the iPhone 12 Pro Max were shown in a live stream, the iPhone 12 mini makes an appearance in a regular teardown. The detailed teardown of the Pro Max including an assessment of the reparability has to wait a little longer.

As with the regular iPhone 12, the experts disassembled a European model as well as a variant from the US, as they have different 5G antennas. In the USA, the so-called mmWave is on board, which enables extremely high transmission rates, provided you are standing in the right place.

iPhone 12 mini: honey, I shrunk the iPhone

Right after opening the mini smartphone, it becomes clear that Apple had to miniaturize various components. These include a smaller Taptic Engine, a shrunken speaker and a battery with reduced capacity. While the battery in the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro offers 10.78 Wh, the iPhone 12 Mini comes with 8.57 Wh. This is still a little more than in the current iPhone SE (2020), in which the battery offers only 6.96 Wh.

Wireless charging is limited to a maximum of 12 Watts in iPhone 12 mini, while the other iPhone 12 models can be charged up to 15 Watts using MagSafe. However, if you use a Lightning cable, up to 20 Watts are still possible.

According to iFixit, the Taptic Engine, the "vibration motor" in Apple's smartphone, is 25 per cent smaller than the regular iPhone 12.

iPhone 12 mini: cameras like in iPhone 12

Not "smaller" are the cameras, which have the same specifications as in the iPhone 12. Apple can – and even has to – do without a small placeholder next to the camera modules in the iPhone 12 mini. This was found in the iPhone 12, as the inner layout is shared with the iPhone 12 Pro, which has a LiDAR sensor.

iPhone 12 mini Teardown Bild iFixit
Direct comparison: iPhone 12 mini (left) vs. iPhone 12 (right). / © iFixit

There is good news regarding the repairability of the cameras in the iPhone 12 mini: the problems that were encountered when replacing the camera modules in the iPhone 12 were not an obstacle in the mini-iPhone. With the small iPhone, it seems that you can easily swap these components between two smartphones without any problems in the camera app. This gives hope that it was just an error in the iPhone 12, which can be fixed in the future.

Looking at the logic boards between the US and EU models, the difference in the support of the 5G standard is small but obvious. The US board has additional antennas as well as antenna connectors for mmWave support.

Overall iFixit also gives the iPhone 12 mini 6 out of 10 points for repairability. As with the previously tested iPhone 12 and 12 Pro, the display and battery are easily replaced. Other important components are also modular and make repairs easy. Negative was the use of specialized screws and glue. Water protection makes repairs more complicated but may protect against some otherwise necessary repairs. There is a clear deduction of points for the use of glass on the back. If this splinters, the entire case may have to be replaced.

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