Apple Watch Series 5 teardown reveals it's basically a Series 4

What you need to know

  • iFixit conducted its teardown of the Apple Watch Series 5.
  • The teardown confirms that it is very similar to the Series 4
  • There are some new components to make way for the always-on display and compass.

It's now very clear that while the Apple Watch Series 5 is the best smartwatch you can buy right now, it is also eerily similar to the outgoing Series 4. iFixit's teardown of Apple's newest wearable continues to substantiate this belief.

The Apple Watch Series 5 did get a few minor changes on the outside—mostly with the new bottom plate—but the overall footprint is largely the same as the Series 4. Taking it apart, things don't really change inside.

iFixit uses a precision knife and some heat to remove the display from the body glued on with adhesive. The main change is the always-on display, which is made possible by a few new components.

On the back of the display assembly, we hoped to get a closer look at what makes the always-on display tick. Apple stated that the Series 5 uses advanced display drivers, an improved power management chip, and an improved ambient light sensor compared to last year's Series 4. But the real improvements are baked into the display tech invisible to the human eye, as detailed in our in-depth blog post on LTPO technology.

Additionally, the Series 5 gets a new compass for the first time that utilizes a small gyroscope to compensate for the magnets inside the watch. The battery is also technically bigger, but almost to a negligent point. The Series 5 battery is 1.4% bigger than the Series 4.

The teardown confirmed the new system-on-chip houses the compass and newly doubled storage (32GB), but also the same CPU and GPU as the Apple Watch Series 4

Overall, the Apple Watch Series 5 earned a repairability score of 6 out of 10 from iFixit.

Apple Watch Series 5 review

Danny Zepeda