After three and a half years without a refresh, the iPad Mini has awoken from its slumber with some updated internals. Despite appearances, our teardown confirmed that this is not just a shrunken-down version of the new iPad Air—it’s a reworked iPad Mini 4, with some fresh silicon for 2019. We also found a thoughtful new battery connector design that automatically disconnects before you can unplug the display—which ought to make the dreaded blown backlight a thing of the past.
But even with these updates, iPads continue to lag behind iPhones in the quality of their construction. They use a lot of similar components, but the iPad Mini unceremoniously glues them together—with no sign of the elegance or serviceability that we’ve come to expect from iPhones. Battery and screen replacements are the two most common repairs, and the iPad Mini makes both unnecessarily difficult—the battery lacks pull-to-remove adhesive tabs, and the display requires a tricky removal of the home button if you want to keep Touch ID after your repair.
iPad Mini 5 Teardown highlights:
- The headphone jack lives—and it’s modular! Which is weird, because the all-important Lightning port remains hopelessly soldered to the main board. Clearly, we were not consulted.
- The 19.32 Wh battery has the same exact same specs as in the iPad Mini 4, and it’s held down with lots of glue with no adhesive pull tabs in sight.
- The iPad Mini 5 earned a meager 2/10 on our repairability scale.