iPad Mini 3 teardown's biggest surprise? The glue, iFixit finds

Apple's latest tiny tablet is tough to repair, says iFixit, and any fixes to the screen could result in a non-functioning Touch ID.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read

The iPad Mini 3 got the teardown treatment. Not much has changed compared to the iPad Mini 2, according to iFixit. iFixit

Apple's iPad Mini 3, which hit store shelves this week, is so close in design and internal components to its predecessor that not much has changed in the eyes of gadget-repair site iFixit.

Apple announced the iPad Mini 3 , as well as the iPad Air 2 , at a launch event on October 16. The tiny tablet comes with an A7 processor, 1GB of RAM and a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera, matching the specs of the second-generation iPad Mini. While much is the same, Apple did add in support for its fingerprint sensor Touch ID and offers varied storage capacity options. There's also now a gold option.

In a teardown published on Friday by iFixit, those three differences were about all the company could find between the iPad Mini 3 and the iPad Mini 2. iFixit, which regularly takes apart and examines gadgets, gave the iPad Mini 3 a repairability score of 2 out of 10 -- the same score it gave to the iPad Mini 2. iFixit said the iPad Mini 3, like its predecessor, is difficult to take apart and any attempts to replace the screen could result in losing Touch ID functionality.

The iPad Mini 3 that iFixit tested used hot glue to hold the home button bracket to the front panel of the device. The site said if the screen becomes cracked, it would be exceedingly difficult to transfer that bracket, and thus, the programmed Touch ID, to replacement glass. iFixit went so far as to say that the "Touch ID-equipped home button [is] hastily glued in place."

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Apple used several component makers for its iPad Mini 3, including NXP Semiconductors for its M7 motion coprocessor and SK Hynix for its NAND Flash and DRAM, according to iFixit.

The iFixit teardown comes just a few days after the company also broke open an iPad Air 2. That report revealed that Apple's new iPad comes with a 15 percent smaller battery.