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  • Writer's pictureAaron Harrington

Diagnosing Severe Damage - When is iPhone Data Recovery Unsuccessful?



In this video I am working on an iPhone 12 Pro Max for data recovery that has already had a microsoldering attempt on it. There was a section on the motherboard that had many components out of place and were shorting different lines together. Unfortunately whoever worked on this before me still needs a lot of practice.

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Once this area was cleaned up, I noticed the board was still not giving any signs of life. I noticed the exact opposide side was the power management ic and started measuring power rails there. I quickly found a shorted line.

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After using both freeze spray and thermal cam, I was unable to determine the cause of the short. I removed the pmic next, but the short remained.

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I removed the CPU as a last ditch effort, hoping for possible damage from being overheated. However, when I measured the CPU itself I found that the line (PP_SOC_S1) was internally fully short, making data recovery impossible.

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By knowing which line was bad before removing the CPU, I was able to save myself the trouble of having to do the full swap. If this line is short, there is no point in doing the swap because it will not work.

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Most jobs that come to me are successful, but there are some jobs that are simply not recoverable because there is nothing that can be done about the problem. I could not fully determine if this was the original issue or if this was caused by the previous technician, but it is still important to take data recovery cases as seriously as possible and to fully measure everything possible. If I cannot solve the problem, I can at least tell you why with 100% accuracy.

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I'm not a big fan of when techs say "the cpu is broken" without any evidence. Most are just guessing but aren't sure where the problem actually lies. In this case however, the cpu really was internally fully shorted.

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