disassembled iPhone X logic board

Since iPhone X, Data Recovery Services Have Had to Adapt

Apple has done it again. They have fundamentally changed how the logic boards in their newest iPhones are made – which has drastically changed how data recovery is done.

Compared to all other phones, the new iPhones since iPhone X have a major difference. And when it comes to data recovery, this difference has significant implications.

So, if you are stuck with one of these new iPhones that won’t turn on, or if you have used iPhone data recovery software that didn’t work, these facts will be especially relevant to you.

Before you start looking for ways to recover data from your iPhone X, XS, XS Max, XR, 11, 11 Pro, or 11 Pro Max, learn from an insider about the nuances of iPhone data recovery.

iPhone x logic board soldered together

1. These New iPhones have a Stacked Logic Board

The latest iPhones are radically different from all other phones because they have a unique logic board. Instead of a single, flat logic board like Android phones and earlier iPhones have, these new iPhones all utilize a stacked logic board. 

A stacked logic board is a logic board with two board halves that have been stacked together like a sandwich.  The boards are soldered together to an interposer (spacer) board that separates the halves. But it’s still one logic board.

What is the reason for designing and manufacturing the latest iPhones this way? 

A stacked logic board has a smaller footprint. This provides more space that allows for other features like two battery cells instead of one. This design also enables the iPhone to run faster and to hold more data. But probably most important is that the stacked board exposes fewer components, so these iPhone models are inherently better at resisting water damage and physical stresses (but it can still happen).

But while the stacked logic board arrangement allows for certain advances in technology, it also presents a unique challenge when it comes to iPhone data recovery and repair. 

iPhone X split logic board

2. The Stacked Logic Board Makes Data Recovery More Challenging

Having a stacked logic board on these model iPhones requires data recovery companies to obtain custom tools and fixtures to split the board halves and put them back together again. Heat can not be used to remove shields or components until the boards are separated. This is because a lower melting point solder is used to fuse the halves together.

Obtaining access to the individual boards in the stacked logic board arrangement requires a special hot plate fixture. The stacked board is brought up to temperature on the fixture to melt the solder holding the boards together, then the halves are carefully separated so the pads are not pulled apart or damaged. 

Once the boards are separated, there are additional shields to be removed to get full access to all the components. 

To sum up, here’s how the new iPhones are challenging data recovery companies:

  • Specific fixtures are needed to separate and rejoin the logic boards.
  • More time is required to access the logic board.
  • More skill is required to preserve the logic board pads.
  • More careful attention is required because there are more variables to be aware of.

Another option for data recovery companies is to substitute the lower half of the split logic board with a known good working board. The upper half has the CPU, Memory, and other logic circuitry that is unique to each iPhone. The bottom half has the iPhone’s common parts including the cellular radio and WiFi. The good news is the bottom half can be substituted from another working iPhone of the same model. This does not always work (for example when the board failure is in the upper half) but when it does it can reduce troubleshooting time to recover the iPhone’s data.   

iPhone X logic board

disassembled iPhone X logic board

3. Data Recovery for the New iPhones is Not Inherently More Expensive

So here’s the interesting part. Even though data recovery for the latest iPhones can be more challenging than other phone models, FlashFixers does not charge a higher price for recovering data from the new iPhones like some of its competitors.

We have the tools, fixtures, and tech skills needed for effective yet affordable data recovery of these new iPhones, and we keep current with the technology as new iPhone models are introduced. 

What do you think? Do you have a water-damaged or physically broken iPhone X, XS, XS Max, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, or iPhone 11 Pro Max that you need to recover data from? Check out our pricing for data recovery services or send us a message if you’d like to talk with a data recovery professional to learn more.