iPhone XS and XS Max teardown reveals everything Apple didn’t tell us

When Apple launches new iPhones, people can’t wait to tear them down. No, we’re not talking about those Android loyalists hating on the new iOS devices. We’re talking about people with actual tools, who literally take pleasure in dismantling the expensive new devices piece by piece.

As tech fans and reporters, the process is hugely useful because we get to learn about all the bits Apple doesn’t tell us about. Of course, the teardown masters at iFixit are among the first on the scene. Their painstaking process reveals internal iPhone XS/XS Max designs that resemble the iPhone X as they do on the outside.

Both models have been assembled in much the same way as their predecessor, with very little in the way of surprises.

Related: iPhone XS Max first look

However, while you don’t need to dismantle the phone to see this, iFixit did notice an extra antenna band has been added to the bottom of the iPhone XS and XS Max, in place of one of the microphone holes on the left side of the phone.

iPhone XS antenna

Tests are already showing a dramatic improvement in 4G LTE speeds on some carriers in the US (compared to the iPhone X), with the additional antenna may be helping.

The real key to the boost is the support for 4×4 MIMO support necessary to unlock for “Gigabit LTE” networks. The iPhone XS and XS Max modem enables this, whereas the iPhone X only offered 2X2 MIMO support.

Interestingly, aside from the gold colour, the antenna variance is one of the only ways to tell the iPhone X and XS apart from a design perspective.

The battery sizes we learned of through Chinese regulatory findings are confirmed here, while the iPhone XS now has a one-piece cell compared with the two-piece iPhone X and XS Max battery.

Also, while Apple is now officially certifying the device as IP68 dust- and water-resistant, iFixit found no evidence the company has added additional protection to the XS and XS Max phones. This likely means the company is now more comfortable branding the devices as IP68 certified.

Another takeaway is the presence of a new Apple-branded power management chip sitting within the iPhone XS and XS Max, which wasn’t present in the 2017 release.

Have you grabbed the iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max yet? Drop us a line @TrustedReviews on Twitter.

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