When Steve Jobs announced the first iPhone in 2007 it was something never witnessed before. A thing of beauty which the world appreciates to this day. Effortlessly engineered and technically years ahead. But former software engineer Scott Allen had some ideas, after 2 months of toil and sweat he managed to build himself one of these beauties for himself, The Scott Allen iPhone 6s!
How it all started?
Scott Allen was an untiring geek and had visited China many times in 9 months and just like the Apple that struck Edison’s head a question struck him,
I see all these cellphone parts in the markets, I wonder if we could build our own phone
His visits to China continued but the question never left his side and like any other nerd would do, he embraced the opportunity to a new adventure.
Shenzen, China is a heaven for electronic enthusiasts “Visiting Shenzen is like visiting the future”, Scott said in his vlog. Shenzen’s streets are home to amazing electronic markets, scrape stores and even street vendors and you can literally find anything here. For Scott, all he needed to build his 16GB iPhone 6S were a display, the shell to hold the stuff inside, a battery, a back cover and the most important of all, a Logic board. The search wasn’t easy, he had to go from store to store to find a single scratchless back cover for his iPhone 6S.
Why a 6S and not an iPhone 7?
You might be wondering why to go with an older version and not the newest in iPhones?? The answer lies in two important points.
Scott owned an iPhone 6S and a newly built phone will be easier for him, to compare against his own. The other and far more important reason were the availability of parts. iPhone 7 is a relatively new device and it was very hard to find authentic parts for an iPhone 7. The stores either didn’t have them or they sold out really quickly.
The parts that make up an iPhone 6S
Building something like an iPhone 6S from scratch is a mammoth task and Scott didn’t want a ready-made display for his creation. He went out on a search to buy all the parts that include the digitizer, the LCD, the glass panel and everything else. He managed to find everything in one place and build the screen with tools in that shop.
The Logic board
The trickiest part of them all and possibly the rarest as well, finding a logic board was a hard task. At first, he wanted to solder his own logic board from the very scratch but that turned out to be a very very hard job. So with some advice from a mobile repairing school professor, he set for his search.
Apple phones have a great security feature which makes it equally hard to repair. Their logic boards are linked to their touch id sensor and using a different scanner won’t unlock your phone. This feature made the search even more tedious but eventually, with a little bit of help, he found his “precious” is a crowded lobby. It didn’t end there, it turned out to be a faulty one, but the shopkeeper was an honest lady and he got a new board the next day.
Pretty legit, for no receipts no contracts, people here are very honorable.
The batteries were really cheap for a phone that costs 549 dollars in retail. the battery came with a price tag of just 5 dollars. It was hard to believe for him, but they seemed real and worked just fine.
Scott’s idea was for a gray phone with a black front, but a logic board with a black touch id button became really hard to find, whereas a white logic board was a lot easier to get hands on. So he went on with buying a second Rose gold back panel for his iPhone 6S and hence a rose colored phone. The first one he bought was a used one with marks of abuse in the shell very evident. He went on to buy a completely new one even without laser markings.
The Final Step
During assembly, he came across a very weird problem. Something was missing but he didn’t know what. Curious, he went to a vendor who found he missed a metal shim that was used in a click mechanism. Now with everything in hand and after 2 months of hard work, he built himself the phone he wanted.
I am a newbie and even me with access to parts and a little bit of help could it. In fact, I think anybody watching this could do it as well, this stuff definitely isn’t rocket science.
Here’s his Vlog.