Someone at Apple decided to use several types and lengths of screws in one device. And the wrong length can play a significant role in the destruction of the iPhone's motherboard (PCB). Tightening a misplaced longer screw causes the PCB to crack, and a small mistake can become costly. The data on the device can be more valuable to some than the device itself. Regular service centers can't handle this problem, and even some companies specializing in data recovery and restoration don't have a solution for such a complex issue.

Data on Mobile Phones is Encrypted, and the Key is Not Just a PIN

A layperson might think that it's enough to desolder the memory chip from a damaged mobile phone, read the contents, and the data is saved. This method of data recovery ended with iOS version 8. This and all newer versions use file-level data encryption, and the key is not just the PIN, but also other PCB components. Specifically, the memory chip (NAND), the processor (the CPU plays a dual role in data security), and the EEPROM (a small chip managing communication and integrity) work together. It's clear that recovering data from a damaged iPhone is not an easy task.

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This iPhone is an example of such a home repair attempt. A seemingly trivial task turned into a job that traveled from the hands of a DIY enthusiast to a specialized service center, to another company offering mobile phone data recovery, and then to us.

Mobile Phone: iPhone 6
Problem: mechanically damaged motherboard (PCB)
Solution: complete PCB reconstruction
Result: 100% successful data recovery from iPhone

For this phone, where the motherboard was severely damaged, it was necessary to completely reconstruct it using another motherboard. Yes, an incorrectly chosen screw and a bit of force when tightening can irreparably damage the motherboard, as you can see in the picture. The motherboard is not made of just one layer, but contains several layers. Its cracking is often fatal for the phone.

Another common cause of serious motherboard damage is liquid inside the phone and subsequent oxidation. Usually, an iPhone submerged in the sea, bathtub, toilet... Attempts to dry and turn on the phone may not lead to the desired result. When an iPhone is damaged by water, especially saltwater, speed is crucial. The time you spend relying on rice is better used for iPhone diagnostics. However, submerged devices are not the subject of this article.

iPhone Service Center or Specialized Data Recovery Company?

The fact that data recovery from a device with a cracked motherboard is not simple was confirmed by the journey of this phone. It first went to an iPhone service center in a town in Central Bohemia and then to data recovery specialists who, however, do not specialize in complex hardware interventions in phones. When the client didn't succeed there, they approached us. Data recovery from an iPhone is complicated and time-consuming, but it ends with success.

Complete motherboard reconstruction is somewhat of a challenge every time we encounter a similar case. Whether such a process leads to success depends mainly on the condition of the critical components mentioned earlier - the memory chip (NAND), the processor (the CPU has a dual role in data security), and the EEPROM (a small chip managing communication and integrity). The most difficult part of the whole process is resoldering the RAM (operating memory) and the CPU (processor). These two chips are in two layers above each other, and each has approximately 1500 pins. Here, one small mistake can lead to a failed data recovery. The NAND itself (memory chip) is also complicated to solder and is very sensitive to temperature in newer devices. Soldering is done at temperatures ranging from 180 to 380 °C. Not only the correctly chosen temperature and airspeed from the hot air soldering iron are important, but also the use of chemicals.

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Last but not least, let’s mention the EEPROM chip. This small chip contains service data and other low-level configurations essential for the proper functioning of the device. EEPROM is crucial for proper communication with the NAND memory and other motherboard components. If the EEPROM chip is destroyed or damaged, it can significantly complicate the data recovery process. Without these service data, it may not be possible to correctly read and decrypt data from the memory chip. It is therefore clear that data recovery from mobile phones, especially those that are severely damaged, is not a task for everyone. Unfortunately, some service centers find this out through trial and error, and data recovery after such intervention can be very complicated, in extreme cases even impossible.

Need Advice or Want to Order Data Recovery from an iPhone or Another Mobile Phone?

Do not hesitate to contact us. We offer free consultation, diagnostics, and collection. With us, you only pay for successfully recovered data. Data recovery from mobile phones, hard drives, SSDs, RAID, NAS, memory cards, and flash drives is our specialty.