iphone 6 data recovery

today i’m finishing up on a data recovery project on an iphone 6 a1586 for a local here in hattiesburg. the customer stated that it just never would turn back on. he had originally taken it to a local phone company that has a repair section and they said that if we just replaced the battery, we could possibly be able to turn it back on again and get access to the data.

my first thought was why didn’t they just replace the battery for him. and my second thought was many times it’s not the battery. a symptom of a bad battery is a lowered capacity to hold a charge. more seldom is a battery just going bad. more often, it’s not even the battery at all, but the charging chip on the motherboard that has been blown by a bad charging cable. but this has been a long time customer and i said i would pick it up and do some preliminary testing.

initial testing was with a new battery – which showed no signs of life, so i swapped out the charging port as well.

temporary, component swap test

the inside of the port looked toasty, so i was leaning towards some sort of over voltage.

toasty iphone 6 lightning port

the old battery had left a burn mark in the same area as the original battery from when i had changed it before. this battery was a replacement. there had been a small burn mark in the same area, although much smaller. it now was quite large.

super hot battery iphone 6

it also was overcharged. when asked, the customer was adamant about his charging cables being all OEM, but hindsight, i’m wondering…

over voltage on this iphone 6 battery

i then contacted the customer to let him know that the initial testing was sending us down the road to having to do some work on the motherboard. i initially thought i would be sending this one off, but decided to try some things before i did. so i started the the charging chip, the tristar.

i peeled off the protective coating and swapped out the chip with one i had in stock, hoping that this would be problem, but it was not. same symptoms. so i started testing for components shorted to ground and in a short time, found that pp_batt_vcc was indeed shorted to ground.


but which component was our problem? since i was dealing with some very important data, i did not want to risk any unnecessary work which may complicate anything if i were to send it off to some of my specialized people. any of those red pads in the photo above are connected to some component and one of those components was shorted to ground. just did not know which one.

which brings me to a symptom that has helped me find what i’m looking for: heat. a shorted component will get hot. sometimes so hot it will burn you. it will let you know which end or which side the component is located. and i felt some heat coming from the very bottom of the motherboard. but i still could not tell, so i brought out my freeze spray and coated that area and applied some power.

and there it is. our bad component. and if you slow it way down you can see the exact pin that is heating up. i bet this pin is attached to ground. lets look at our ground plane and see if it is indeed ground.

ground plane

and yes – the ground pin of that component is located in the bottom middle row. the component is u1400 connected to ground at pin b3 and to pp_batt_vcc at pin c2. this component controls the vibration of your phone when you get a notification. removing this component should not effect the operation of the phone and we can remove it and not need to replace it before attempting to turn it on. and by removing the component, it should relieve our short to ground and allow the phone to boot! let’s pull it off and take a closer look.

u1400 vibe control ic burnt pin b3

the circled pins are pp_batt_vcc and the ground. and if you notice on u1400 the solder balls came clean off the component. and if you take a real close look, you can see a burned area around the bottom middle pin.

u1400 vibration control IC

and that can be all it takes to short to ground. as simple as that. simple once you find it, that is… i love how i was able to capture that brilliant green color. it’s a super tiny part. on special occasions, i actually embed the damaged parts onto a dime under some acrylic for some perspective and actually give the dime to the customer as a keepsake and some simple advertising. inGodwetrust #whatisfranklinrooseveltlookingat

u1400 vibration control IC on a dime

i reassembled the phone, pressed the power button and breathed a sigh of relief after seeing the familiar apple logo pop into view. whew… i’m now able to back up the phone with all the customer’s data intact. can’t wait to tell him!

thanks for following along and looking over my shoulder. if you have a device that needs some help, please contact me here.

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