How I Upgraded My iPhone Memory 800% – in Shenzhen, China

I’m Scotty from strange parts. I’m behind the cellphone markets of Shenzhen, China Today I’m gonna try and pull off the iPhone upgrade that Apple hates the most If you guys have seen either the two videos I’ve done about it You might know that I’ve been working on this custom iPhone complete with uh Light-up strange parts logo now if you haven’t seen those videos You can go check them out up here, but there’s one problem still with this phone. It’s only 16 gigs Frankly that’s just not enough so it’s time to kick things up a notch. I’m gonna upgrade it 128 gigs the guys in the markets apparently are able to do this and I actually seen a guy do it basically just Desolder the flash chip and swap it out for a larger one now that part seems pretty straightforward The trick is that you actually need to program the new flash chip You need to copy the contents of one flash chip over to the contents of the new flash chip So I went out and I bought this which is a flash programmer it is this amazing custom-built machined test fixture in Here put the flash chip close that up hooks up to your computer supposedly you can do some pretty cool programming. There’s one problem And the problem is that it’s windows only software, and I have a Mac so first things first I got to go buy a new computer So we are headed to the Xiaomi store Xiaomi is kind of the apple of China I guess you could say they make all sorts of cool stuff, but they’re more than a bit inspired by the Apple design aesthetic You’ll see what I mean when we get inside the store I Need to buy a laptop, PC. Yeah, I can get this color in this size. Yeah, let’s get this one for this one in silver Well as you can see that looks totally like your average Apple store down to the uniform even you know some of the laptops I bought a Xiaomi air. They’re not exact replicas of the Apple stuff. Just kind of copy the aesthetic I Installed the software for this test jig memory programming thing. Let’s open it up and see what’s going on Okay, so I think it just wants me to connect. Let’s get our test jig out here This is a lightning cable the in USB light is lighting up. Oh, maybe you have to turn it on It talks It’s got LEDs all over it there’s some pretty bad translations here. Let me try it closing it and reopening it maybe I’ve installed two drivers. I’m gonna try rebooting it says not connected. I don’t know. I don’t know what driver i’m supposed to install Just installing all the drivers because I don’t have a better strategy Well I’ve been banging my head against this for the past couple hours and I just can’t get it to recognize it so I’m gonna call it a night and I guess go see the people that sold it to me in the morning and see if they can get it to work Cuz I don’t know what else to do anyway. It’s another day tomorrow Remember how I said, this is the iPhone upgrade that Apple hates the most well I’d like to talk a little bit more about that But first we need to talk a little bit about how companies figure out what price to charge for their products now One approach is what would be called time and materials or a cost plus model You basically just figure out how much it cost you to make an and sell a product And then you add some percentage profit margin on top the other way is to try and figure out How much your customer is willing to pay for a product or how much they can afford if you charge too much? Then only a few of your richest customers will buy your product If you charge too little a lot of people will buy it But you’ll make less money per unit yourself the big question is how can you find that magic price point? Where as many people as possible buy your product, but you also maximize the amount of profit you’re making particularly from your richest customers Well instead of going back to the place that sold me the programming Jake I actually contacted the manufacturer You know I said, you know have you tried installing the driver, and I said yes I said did you try swapping out the cable and I thought for a minute and I said? No, I actually didn’t try doing that so I wouldn’t got another iPhone cable and sure enough I don’t know at least something a bad cable I guess it doesn’t work, but my other lightning cable does so I feel really dumb I spent a whole bunch of time trying to debug this and it was something really simple regardless it now works So check this out. Here is the software

And repair here now finally the port number shows up, and I can hit connect and it seemed to do very much I think the next step is that I need to get a flash chip that I can put it in this thing hopefully It’ll do more once. I’ve got a flash chip in it So I’m headed to the cell phone market to go get some and it’s one of the things I really like about doing this kind Of project here in Shenzhen is having such ready access to tools and parts and being able to talk to people who know a lot About them I could order a lot of this stuff Mail-order, but it would really kill the momentum of projects having to wait You know a day or more to get something here I can just walk down the street get what I need hop right back to keep done I want this one Okay Two All right here it is That right. There is a 16 gig flash jet I also while I was at it at the same booth. I picked up two 128 gig chips for the final operator But for now, I just need to practice reading the old chip off the logic board So I’m gonna use the the 16 gig chip just for practicing that Whoo there we go Whole bunch of stuff enter the highest authority success can read and write about query info, that sounds good. Oh Look at that alright. Here’s the serial number of the phone this was in and then color That is probably the color of the phone that it was in now here sure enough capacity 16 gigs. Okay, so I think What I need to use this thing to do is I need to desolder the flash chip the 16 gig flash chip That’s already on the phone Read that and probably back up the kernel data look I need to somehow copy the data off of there then put in the new 128 gig chip and copy the data back to it. That’s my current understanding, so let’s try this backup kernel digger Alright, it has been backed up. So we can read the memory chip now I need to practice the soldering part I think which is like removing the chip from the board so I got some practice boards These are like known non-working logic boards. I’m going to use these To practice soldering before I try this on the real working port that right there in the middle that’s the memory chip, so I want to remove that and Throw it in the test jig and see if I can read it There we go I actually worked pretty well That went okay perfect in the process and bust it off the SIM card holder the flash chip came off. Okay actually uh Kind of surprised how well that worked for how poorly I did hit All right, all right. Let’s see query info cool This came from a black phone. Okay, so the chip is not fried you can read it now It’s mostly just a matter of practice so that I can do that lively before I try it on the working logic board I’m gonna try this again. I’m gonna mount it a little bit differently. Hopefully don’t knock that off this time Some curd fill off again See this that’s not great Not only did a SIM card holder fall off this time And I also pulled off a bunch of little capacitors or resistors I think I need a better board holder because this one is kind of shitty and then as far as pulling off the Components, I think I’ve got a curve off more of the epoxy. I think I’m gonna need more of these practice boards Now you can’t really get away with charging rich people more and poor people last for the same product That’s where an idea called price differentiation comes in price differentiation is where you charge two different groups of customers To different prices the idea is that you charge your poorer customers a price this they can still afford so they still buy your product But you charge your richer customers more so you make as much profit off of them as possible you can’t get away with just Trying to judge How rich someone is when they walk into your store and give them a price based on that? So instead what companies do is they try and find features? That richer customers are willing to pay more for and then they build a slightly different model That’s more expensive that has those features the goal is usually to make as few changes to the base model as possible While increasing the price as much as possible To maximize the profit whenever you go into a store or you go shopping online

And you see a pricing grid that looks like this It’s a pretty good sign that price differentiation is what’s at play now looking at this price grid? We can immediately see that Apple has figured out that richer customers are willing to pay more for more storage This used to be as much as like $300 u.s.. But it’s come down now. It’s more like 100 to 150 I’m off to go see the tool brothers Which is one of my favorite tool vendors in the markets? To see what they have that might be able to help me with this problem of the the SIM card holder falling off Yeah, that’s what I’m looking for that covers up where the where this is yes, okay? That right there is the important part though, so what’s gonna hold the SIM card holder in place Well the SIM card didn’t fall off that time It’s a start all right the second thing I need to learn how to do is I needed to learn how to do BGA repoing and What be Gerry balling is is it’s putting the solder balls back on the pads on the bottom of these chips I’ve seen people do this before it’s possible, but it’s a little tricky So it’s gonna Take a little bit of experimenting to figure out just the right way to do it So the first step is just cleaning off the bottom of the chip There’s leftover solder and there’s epoxy and things like that so I’m gonna do that with the trusty soldering iron All right now we’re just clean it off with a little bit of alcohol, and we’ll be ready for the next step This here is a rebounding stencil and it’s used to create those balls so basically It’s a piece of stainless steel with holes in it that match the exact pads and I’m gonna smear solder paste which is a little microscopic balls of solder suspended in like flux? I’m gonna push those through the holes and then heat it up with the hot air gap It’s not perfect but not too bad for a first try I’m gonna clean it off and take the Sutter balls off it again and Just keep practicing a few more times Hmmm it’s weird the metal buckles when it heats up because it expands and that sort of pops it off the chip I’m supposed to do about that Yet up here Not great, and if you try again Ten more practice boards if I can’t learn this in ten boards worth of tries there’s something wrong Maybe I need to need to go to cellphone school alright Let’s give this a shit the problem that I’m still having is I’m having two problems. I’m knocking off the really tiny Passives on this side of the board and then I’m delaminating some of the solder mask underneath this chip So we need to put some Kapton tape this is just to protect from heat You know what I’m going to do this one of the microscope, so it’s these Here that are giving me the trouble Keep pulling off when he’s a little tiny Oh 100 five resistors or capacitors to be honest they may not be necessary But I’d like to try and keep them all there if I can I still want to figure out how to get all the epoxy off for that Knocking things off this little blade set from mechanic Might be that what that’s for it’s a BGA repair blade set give it a shot There goes Hey, that was better now I’ve been watching other YouTube videos about this And I’ll link to some other better ones below if you want to try and do this yourself. This isn’t really a tutorial It don’t learn from me. You know hopefully I get explained to you sort of what’s behind this and what’s involved But if you really want to do it yourself you want to learn how to be a proper Learn from what I learned from and I’ll link to link to some of the better videos I found Getting you solder wick this is just a like a solder braid it just acts as a wick and and draws up the liquid solder Pretty good Yeah template got rotated, but we’ll see this might might still work

For a long look bad Problem with this because all of the balls are underneath the chip There’s no way to really know if anything’s Shorted out or you know a bad solder joint or something like that the Foxconn factory that does this Undoubtedly has an x-ray machine that can actually x-ray the solder joints make sure they’re correct But there’s no real way for you know an amateur like me to do this unless Unless I take it to my local dentist or something too bad All right, I’m gonna do one or two more of these just for practice and maybe I’ll give the real deal a shot I Am down to my two last practice boards out of the 10 that I bought I think I’ve got this Mostly figure at this point the last one I did though. I ripped up some pants and read somewhere that maybe those pads are just Not necessary and and they come up easy, and it’s not a big deal They’re not functional, but I want to try at least one more and get it totally correct And then I’m gonna move on to the real deal here Hey there we go that one was clean last board last practice board but think it’s time for the real deal I Was all ready to take the logic board out of this and someone suggested you know you should try restoring this Fresh from iTunes just to make sure there aren’t any problems before you do that Memory upgrade did that and in the process of that it had me upgrade, iOS and I left it while it was downloading the latest iOS version on the Xiaomi laptop, and I came back and The screen no longer turns on and I don’t know I can’t figure out what’s going on man He’s just frustrating. This is like a completely unrelated issue to what I’m trying to solve right now, and it could set me back days Computer sees it now Just not the screen isn’t working its back. I don’t know what happened. I receded the cables a couple times Well I’m really glad that actually didn’t take too long to resolve and that I didn’t have to go by another screen still not quite Sure, what the root cause was however, I think I want to do another test of my history abilities here before I try and do it on the real thing I Have a logic board that has iCloud blocked and these are pretty cheap in the markets because there’s no straightforward way to Unlock and iCloud locked board so this will boot up But I can’t actually activate it so it’ll go into the like first youth sequence so my thought is to remove the chip Just like I would for the upgrade clean everything up reball it put it back on and just make sure that The phone boots up again wow this is such a pristine board compared to the ones I’ve been practicing on Goes oh sweet, it’s pretty clean Obvious damage, I think okay now to reap all this thing Alright let’s put this chick back on Cool down now and plugged in fire it up. Oh No forget tore my screen table the fuck man, it’s not my day Dude I don’t even know anymore ah Nothing But at this point what it is that broke the logic board is it including this wrong? Now I have to go fix this screen at least my second tested him another phone Give us a nap So I picked up another screen but

That iCloud lock board still won’t boot. I’m getting my butt kicked by this I Didn’t think this would be this hard So I went and got three more iCloud locked boards My plan today is to do one or two of these see how I feel and see how that goes and if it goes well Maybe I’ll do one more. Maybe maybe I’ll move straight on to the real deal the fully working board Putting these coins on for added heat protection. I don’t know or good luck Well let things cool off and better you scream oh Shit works Okay that takes a load off. I have now done it successfully once there we go I Think I’m gonna do it once more and then I’ll try it for real if I can do it twice in a row Then who said I can’t do it three times in a row That makes my day okay Let’s give this another shot Last night, I succeeded in doing to iCloud lock boards correctly in a row so think Today’s finally the day I think I’m gonna do the real deal, but I’ve got one more iCloud lock board I figured I may as well do that get warmed up here get the get the fingers loose get my microscope all warmed up and And then we’ll jump into the real deal Doing this one first might save me 200 bucks Up two pads, but no Polly those are one for needed Time the sonnets back on coins on Okay time to test this It works three in a row I think It’s time to do this for real. I’m gonna take take the logic board out of the strange part. It’s custom phone here and Give this a shot Right there we go. This is the working logic board 16 gigs right now There are some missing parts on this it works Okay, but holy smokes all of these capacitors are missing. Well. I guess those aren’t Who For path pulled off not good. Yeah, hope those are the ones that are not used. I hope this works. I Really really hope this works, so we need to read some date off here And then program it onto the new chip that worked wait. What did that say Simon error doesn’t sound great? It’s try cleaning it oh This hard disk firmware is too low. I don’t know what this means That worked I Don’t get it. Huh maybe just a bad connection all right. Let’s back this up back up colonel dick. It’s been backed up have two chips These are my 128 chips, so you might be asking why am I only doing 128 instead of 512? There’s a guy out there. Who’s done a 512 turns out you can’t easily get the 512 chips I am in contact with someone who helps supply that chip, but They don’t have any more right now, so That is on hold maybe we’ll do that in a future video. Maybe we’ll do something even cooler. Let’s plug this in Okay, new hard disk. Can I just do right colonel Dana? That did work All we got it To change it to be white since my screen is right even theory that is all I needed to do I’m a little bit worried about the partition stuff. Let me try rereading this chip and see what happens okay that worked Whirring fell

That might be only needed to do And to do that one again this works gonna be a miracle I’ll let it cool this time That looks pretty darn clean there we go The last step to solder on the 128 gig program flash tip on to port lots of flux Hydros nothing Fingers crossed big time on this one. I’m to see if this works screen Don’t live to even be turning on shit Nothing Fuck Mr.. Deployed a computer Somethin iTunes has detected an iPhone in recovery mode. You must reverse restore this iPhone before it can be used with iTunes okay, I Mean the screen doesn’t turn on but Let’s try Restore iphone yes restore. That’s a good song oh Hey Its booting alright, I’ve got an apple alright. I think this is where you okay this needs a SIM card to activate Welcome here on your phone. Let’s see I can just restore this back up. Let’s try it. I think that worked It’s booting up. It’s got white boot screen this time Right Restore complete Well I almost works, let’s see how big it says it is 128 it worked Had my dance as to whether I was gonna be able to pull that off, I knew it was possible The question is whether I could do, and uh yeah, but I’ll practice it Is very doable now and alpha gotta put this logic board back in the phone I Am gradually figuring out what the fuck I’m doing There it is got it put back together and Fully working you can see right here. Yeah, it’s got 128 gigs it seems to work just about as well as it did before I think I’m gonna declare this custom iPhone complete We’ve done three things over three videos laser engraved a custom back Made a custom strange parts light up logo where the Apple logo would normally be and then the memory upgrade 228 gigs this took me way longer than I expected I say that about most of the iPhone projects I thought I was gonna be able to get it done in a couple days. I thought with all the background I have With the previous iPhone work. I’ve done, and it’s taken me weeks It’s really taken me a lot longer to learn and it’s given me a lot more appreciation for the guys that do this kind of upgrade in the markets on a daily basis There’s a lot of skill that goes behind this type of soldering in this type of rework And this type of working around the limitations that Apple has put in place so why would Apple hate this upgrade so much The answer is it’s taking money directly out of their pockets now you can buy a smaller iPhone and upgrade it to larger size For just the price of the memory chip, and those are cheap this 128 Gig chip cost me about 160 RMB. Which is about 25 bucks u.s And yet the difference between buying a 32 gig 6s. They don’t eat the 16s anymore and 128 is 100 bucks So that was a hundred bucks that didn’t go to Apple, and I saved 75 bucks in the process Now I spent a lot more than that because I had to buy tools and all these practice boards and stuff but There are a pair shops here in the markets that have all that stuff already and will do the do the upgrade while you wait And yet this may be less of a problem for Apple than you might think at first Because while richer customers are willing to pay more for storage They’re also willing to pay more for quality and peace of mind and this upgrade. There’s a good chance you break your phone You definitely are gonna void your warranty

And I think those richer customers that Apple is trying to target with this price differentiation are Willing to pay that that hundred dollars more to just know that the phone was assembled by by Apple by Foxconn Tested properly and is backed by the Apple warranty if anything goes wrong so at the end of the day How much money this is actually taking out of their pockets that being said? I think it about does it for this time if you’ve been following along with the factory tour series I’ve been doing I’ve got some more of those videos coming up soon And I’ve had some interesting factories reach out to me saying that they’d be Happy if I came and showed off what they’re doing so stay tuned for that As always I’m Scotty from Strange Parts if you enjoyed this video And you want to see more like it hit that subscribe button down below stay tuned for more adventures. I’ll see you next time