iPad mini 5 teardown uncovers big improvements on the inside

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iPad mini 5 teardown
This is what's inside the new iPad mini.
Photo: iFixit

The fifth-generation iPad mini has started making its way into the hands of early adopters. One unlucky unit ended up with iFixit, which has already torn it apart to show us what’s inside.

Unsurprisingly, it’s not a whole lot different to its predecessor. But there are plenty of new chips and components under the hood.

The new iPad mini is Apple’s most impressive compact tablet to date. In addition to the latest A12 Bionic processor, it packs an improved display, better cameras, and Apple Pencil support.

The device doesn’t sport the all-new design some fans will have been hoping for. But on the inside, it is vastly improved compared to the fourth-generation model introduced in 2015.

The beauty is on the inside

iFixit notes the only way to tell this is a new iPad mini on the outside is the new model number — A2133 — and the removal of regulatory markings on its back, which are now found in iOS.

Getting inside the device isn’t easy. Like other iPads, its display is glued down and requires a lot of effort to remove in one piece. The first thing you’ll notice once the display is out of the way is the iPad mini’s massive battery, which takes up most of the space inside.

That battery is rated for 19.32 Wh, which matches the last iPad mini’s battery. However, it now has a new connector, which means old iPad mini batteries won’t fit this model should you ever need a replacement.

Positioned around that battery, you’ll find upgraded cameras — the same 7-megapixel front-facing camera found in the 10.5-inch iPad Pro — and new ambient light sensors that enable True Tone technology.

Brand new chips

The iPad mini’s logic board is where the most exciting chips are found. Alongside that new A12 processor, iFixit found flash memory made by Toshiba, an NFC controller made by NXP, and a Broadcom touchscreen controller.

iPad mini 5 logic board
The iPad mini 5 packs a whole host of new chips.
Photo: iFixit

The slate also packs another Apple chip that allows for Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity and Wi-Fi 802.11ac. The cellular unit iFixit pulled apart also offers Gigabit-class LTE and eSIM technology.

The iPad mini 5 has two speakers for stereo sound, and new microphones that are now located near the FaceTime camera.

A tough repair job

As you might expect, the new iPad mini isn’t easy to repair. Many components are modular and can be swapped out independently, but getting into the device is incredibly difficult. Its battery is also tough to remove.

“Gobs of adhesive hold many parts and cables in place, complicating all repairs,” iFixit explains. As a result, the new iPad mini is awarded a repairability score of just 2 out of 10.