The smaller electronic devices get, the more sophisticated their components become. The more sophisticated components are, the harder they are to repair or replace. Those statements apply all too well even to Apple’s latest smartwatch, the Watch Series 5. The good news is that most of the knowledge that was gained in tearing down the Apple Watch 4 exactly applies to the Apple Watch 5. The bad news is that none of the parts can be reused.
The earliest generations of smartphones and smartwatches were pretty much an adventure for third-party repair shops and technicians. They were uncharted territory and the chances of damaging something by overheating or cutting through wires were far larger. After four generations, thankfully that’s not the case anymore.
iFixit notes how similar the process is when taking the Apple Watch Series 5 apart. That includes heating the back to loosen the adhesive and using a precision knife to cut away the display. The battery is removed the same way last year, with the flex cable sandwiched between the display above and the battery below. In other words, it has to be removed while removing the screen and, as always, with extreme caution.
Despite their similarity in both outward appearance and teardown process, the Apple Watch Series 4 and Series 5 are very different beasts. The new and improved advanced display drivers aren’t evident but the components are not easily interchangeable.
Despite that, the Apple Watch 5 does score a 6 out of 10 on iFixit’s scale. It’s a familiar face with an almost too familiar battery as well. Fortunately, it seems that the smaller 40 mm model does get a different and larger battery than its direct predecessor but the promised longer battery life might be thanks to hardware and software efficiency rather than larger batteries.