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It’s been almost four years since we had a new Apple TV to tear down—an eternity in tech time, and even longer if you remember to be a goldfish. But we’re not complaining. Let’s break out our teardown tools and hope this latest squircle-shaped streamer proves to be as long-lasting and repairable as its predecessor.

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  1. We'll skip the unboxing and get straight to our first dilemma: Which to crack open first? The black box … Apple A12 Bionic chip for that high-framerate 4K HDR viewing pleasure
    • We'll skip the unboxing and get straight to our first dilemma: Which to crack open first? The black box …

    • Apple A12 Bionic chip for that high-framerate 4K HDR viewing pleasure

    • Color balance and Thread support

    • HDMI 2.1, Ethernet, 802.11ax WiFi 6, and Bluetooth 5.0

    • … or the silver stick (a.k.a. next-generation Siri Remote):

    • Touch-enabled clickpad, Siri button on the side please

    • All-new power and mute buttons to better control your TV

    • Bluetooth 5.0, IR transmitter, and Lightning connector for charging.

  2. Let's see if a quick exterior inspection helps decide. The box may look familiar, but the new remote looks ... also pretty familiar, actually. It recalls the remote design from the 3rd-gen Apple TV, way back in 2012. That's not a bad thing. New Apple products often set trends, but one thing that nobody hurried to copy was the frustrating Siri Remote design that shipped with Apple TVs starting in 2015.
    • Let's see if a quick exterior inspection helps decide.

    • The box may look familiar, but the new remote looks ... also pretty familiar, actually. It recalls the remote design from the 3rd-gen Apple TV, way back in 2012.

    • That's not a bad thing. New Apple products often set trends, but one thing that nobody hurried to copy was the frustrating Siri Remote design that shipped with Apple TVs starting in 2015.

    • That's okay, Apple—be a goldfish.

    • Both gizmos have their own Apple model number, namely: A2169 for the black box, and A2540 for the silver stick.

    • If you were wondering about a hidden service port inside the Ethernet jack, we have to disappoint you. The Apple TV 4K only carries power, HDMI, and Ethernet ports. (The front also sports an infrared sensor peeking through the plastic, which we’ll find later).

  3. Before we can decide which one to open first, the X-ray masters at Creative Electron send over a teardown of their own. X-rays have no problem penetrating the remote's aluminum shell (although usually neither do our tools, once we know where to poke).
    • Before we can decide which one to open first, the X-ray masters at Creative Electron send over a teardown of their own.

    • X-rays have no problem penetrating the remote's aluminum shell (although usually neither do our tools, once we know where to poke).

    • Are those screws at the bottom corners?

  4. With the black box, we know exactly where to prod and pry. Our tried-and-tested methods still work fine on this updated hardware, so we go right ahead and remove the bottom cover. Underneath we are greeted by the full metal fan unit seen in the Apple TV 4K, not the heatsinks of previous generations.
    • With the black box, we know exactly where to prod and pry. Our tried-and-tested methods still work fine on this updated hardware, so we go right ahead and remove the bottom cover.

    • Underneath we are greeted by the full metal fan unit seen in the Apple TV 4K, not the heatsinks of previous generations.

  5. Disassembling the cooling unit is a breeze, and unsurprisingly no different from the previous 4K model. So far things are looking pretty familiar, so we'll fast forward a bit. Suffice to say, with a good set of tools (not pictured), the blower comes out like magic. So far things are looking pretty familiar, so we'll fast forward a bit. Suffice to say, with a good set of tools (not pictured), the blower comes out like magic.
    • Disassembling the cooling unit is a breeze, and unsurprisingly no different from the previous 4K model.

    • So far things are looking pretty familiar, so we'll fast forward a bit. Suffice to say, with a good set of tools (not pictured), the blower comes out like magic.

  6. A few Torx screws later, the logic board is free and exposes these chips on the top: Apple A12 Bionic SoC—yep, the same chip from the 2018-era iPhones—paired with Micron MT53D384M64D4SB-046 XT:E 3 GB mobile LPDDR4 SDRAM memory Apple APL1091 338S00673 power management IC
    • A few Torx screws later, the logic board is free and exposes these chips on the top:

    • Apple A12 Bionic SoC—yep, the same chip from the 2018-era iPhones—paired with Micron MT53D384M64D4SB-046 XT:E 3 GB mobile LPDDR4 SDRAM memory

    • Apple APL1091 338S00673 power management IC

    • Broadcom BCM57762A0KMLG Gigabit Ethernet controller

    • Alpha & Omega Semiconductor AONE36196 MOSFET

    • T245 MrHP crystal oscillator

    • Lattice Semiconductor iCE5LP4K iCE field programmable gate array (FPGA)

    • Macronix MX25U8035F 8 Mb serial NOR flash memory

  7. … and these underneath: Kinetic Technologies (formerly Megachips) MCDP2920A4 DisplayPort 1.4 to HDMI 2.0 converter
    • … and these underneath:

    • Kinetic Technologies (formerly Megachips) MCDP2920A4 DisplayPort 1.4 to HDMI 2.0 converter

    • SK Hynix H230EG8126AD0-BC 32 GB NAND flash memory

    • Murata 339S00763 Wi-Fi/Bluetooth module

    • Lattice Semiconductor SiL9437CNUC audio return channel receiver/transmitter

    • ON Semiconductor LC89091JA digital audio interface receiver

    • Infrared receiver

    • Nordic Semiconductor nRF52833 Bluetooth 5.2 SoC w/ NFC and Zigbee

  8. IC identification bonus round: Skyworks SKY66404-11 2.4 GHz Zigbee/Thread/Bluetooth front-end module (FEM) (likely)
    • IC identification bonus round:

    • Skyworks SKY66404-11 2.4 GHz Zigbee/Thread/Bluetooth front-end module (FEM) (likely)

    • Dialog Semiconductor SLG46621 mixed signal array

    • Texas Instruments CD3255 power monitor (likely)

    • Texas Instruments INA213 current sense amplifier

    • ON Semiconductor LMV331SQ3T2G single comparator

    • ON Semiconductor FPF2495C over-voltage, over-current load switch

    • ON Semiconductor FPF2498BUCX load switch

  9. IC Identification bonus round, part two: Renesas PWM DC/DC controller
    • IC Identification bonus round, part two:

    • Renesas PWM DC/DC controller

    • Texas Instruments TPS62130B step-down converter

    • Texas Instruments TPS715A01 80 mA / adj. LDO regulator

    • Diodes Incorporated 74LVC2G07FW5-7 dual buffer

    • Diodes Incorporated 74LVC1G07FW5-7 single buffer

    • Diodes Incorporated 74LVC2G04FW5-7 dual inverter

    • Diodes Incorporated 74LVC1G04FW5-7 single inverter

  10. The power supply board still lies buried under a hefty metal body for heat dissipation. We find the same conductive posts and modular C7 socket as in the past. If you ever wondered: the cable used for the Apple TV may also fit in the power brick of your MacBook, or older iPad and iPhone chargers.
    • The power supply board still lies buried under a hefty metal body for heat dissipation. We find the same conductive posts and modular C7 socket as in the past.

    • If you ever wondered: the cable used for the Apple TV may also fit in the power brick of your MacBook, or older iPad and iPhone chargers.

    • Some more silicon ID, while we're here:

    • Diodes Incorporated (formerly Lite-On) ABS20MH bridge rectifier

    • Infineon IPD65R1K4C6 N-channel MOSFET

    • NXP Semiconductor TEA1833LTS switched mode power supply controller

  11. That's about it for the black box, but we're not remotely done yet. Starting off with an iPhone-like opening procedure, we remove two P2 Pentalobe screws from the bottom edge of the aluminum wand.
    • That's about it for the black box, but we're not remotely done yet.

    • Starting off with an iPhone-like opening procedure, we remove two P2 Pentalobe screws from the bottom edge of the aluminum wand.

    • On a hunch, we also scoop off the circular clickpad—from there, it's simple to disconnect it from the remote's main board.

  12. But when pushing out the interior towards the front  (like some iPod mini users may remember), all the buttons are going cross-eyed. So what’s the trick here? For a closer look, we pop off every button like it was 2010 (first appearance of an aluminum remote for the Apple TV). And boy do we find things.
    • But when pushing out the interior towards the front (like some iPod mini users may remember), all the buttons are going cross-eyed. So what’s the trick here?

    • For a closer look, we pop off every button like it was 2010 (first appearance of an aluminum remote for the Apple TV).

    • And boy do we find things.

  13. To go any further, we first need to move that nifty little Siri side button out of the way. Otherwise the power button will obstruct the tech sled and hinder its removal. If you can pull off the power button beforehand, it might be enough to just slide the Siri button sled back to get the internals out. As always, service instructions would be helpful, if Apple ever decides to share them—for now, we'll have to work it out on our own. Fussiness aside, this should still prove easier to reassemble than something that was glued together.
    • To go any further, we first need to move that nifty little Siri side button out of the way. Otherwise the power button will obstruct the tech sled and hinder its removal.

    • If you can pull off the power button beforehand, it might be enough to just slide the Siri button sled back to get the internals out. As always, service instructions would be helpful, if Apple ever decides to share them—for now, we'll have to work it out on our own.

    • Fussiness aside, this should still prove easier to reassemble than something that was glued together.

    • What remains is no challenge for our Minnow Driver Kit.

    • The battery and charging port combo connects to the back of the main board via a ZIF connector, much the same as in the 4th generation remote control.

    • The power cell offers 1.52 Wh (398 mAh at 3.81 V), which is fractionally less than the 1.55 Wh (410 mAh) in the previous design iteration.

    • We’d hoped to find a slightly more user friendly method for two of the most likely repairs on this remote (charging port and battery).

    • The battery at least is likely to last longer than it would in a smartphone or tablet, since it won't go through charge cycles nearly as often. As long as it's not defective or subjected to uncomfortable temperatures, you should get at least a few years out of it.

  14. What else lies inside this remote? On the top side: Nordic Semiconductor nRF52840 Bluetooth 5/Zigbee/NFC SoC
    • What else lies inside this remote? On the top side:

    • Nordic Semiconductor nRF52840 Bluetooth 5/Zigbee/NFC SoC

    • … and on the bottom:

    • Analog Devices 343S00092 capacitive touch controller

    • Maxim Integrated MAX77277 power management

    • NXP Semiconductor CBTL1610A3 port controller

    • (e1) AA5 105 (maybe Dialog Semiconductor audio codec)

    • Infrared diode

  15. That's it for this round—time to put this back together and load up a fresh episode of Mythic Quest.
    • That's it for this round—time to put this back together and load up a fresh episode of Mythic Quest.

    • We'll end on a high note, which is to say: This is still pretty repairable for a streaming box. We have a few niggles, but you could do a lot worse.

    • Hey Siri, set a reminder—let's do this again in another four years.

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    • Modular construction and only a few major components simplifies repair.
    • The remote's battery and Lightning cable are soldered together—but not to anything else, so they should be inexpensive to replace.
    • The power supply AC-in jack is modular.
    • The remote itself can be fussy to service and it's guarded by pentalobe screws, but it's not glued together.
    • Most of the I/O ports on the streaming box are soldered to the logic board.
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Yes, still 3 GB RAM.

Adriana Zwink -

It’s a nice little detail that the SoC is cooled from both the front and the back. Does the PMIC also get cooled by a heatsink?

Ethan Zuo - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

Thanks, nice work and very useful

youbecool - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

ZigBee chips in both the TV *and* remote? Does this mean that they could directly control HomeKit devices with ZigBee?

Elijah Case - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

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