Teardown Suggests Apple Watch Series 5 Components are Close to Identical to Series 4

The internals of the Apple Watch Series 5 are almost identical to the internal components of the previous-generation ‌Apple Watch‌ Series 4, according to a new teardown conducted by repair site iFixit.

That should come as no surprise as the two devices are identical in design, with the major differentiating factor being the Always-On display in the newer model.


iFixit hoped to get a look at the changes implemented to allow for the Always-On display, but much of what's new relates to display technology and is "invisible to the human eye."

The site did spot a new ambient light sensor embedded under the OLED panel, and Apple says there are more advanced display drivers and an improved power management chip in the Series 5 as well.

There's a new built-in compass and the battery is slightly bigger than the battery in the Series 4 (1.4% larger in the 44mm model). The Series 5 chip includes 32GB of storage, up from 16GB, and the new compass, but it features the same GPU and CPU as the Series 4 so there are no real performance improvements.

Series 4 battery on left, Series 5 battery on right

iFixit says there are minor changes to connectors for the Taptic Engine, display, and battery, which means components are not generally interchangeable, but otherwise, the two devices are "very similar" on the inside.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 6
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
27 weeks ago
This is a bad title/article. From the article itself:

* Always-on display
* New ambient light sensor
* Better display drivers
* New power management chip
* Compass
* Bigger battery
* Double storage
* Minor changes to connectors for the Taptic Engine, display, and battery

In other words, not "Close to Identical." I get it that it isn't an earth-shattering update, but people tripping over themselves to claim this is the Series 4 with a "5" slapped on it are being disingenuous.
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
27 weeks ago


The AOD is the huge new feature. Nothing else matters this year.
It makes Series 5 a no-brainer purchase for pretty much everyone.

Yeah no, I'll hold on to my Series 4 lol
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
27 weeks ago


Innovation at its best. On the other hand there are so many "I have to have the latest Apple fashion accessory" people that you really can't blame Apple for catering to ignorant indoctrinated buyers. After all they spend millions to make that a reality.

Or maybe after the major improvements of last years release an incremental upgrade was expected for this year. Many S4 owners will stick with last years model (myself included) and the S5 is great for people upgrading from an S3 or earlier or no watch. Do you expect a revolutionary new device packed with fresh technology every year?
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
27 weeks ago
So this is basically an

Apple Watch 4s
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
27 weeks ago
Innovation at its best. On the other hand there are so many "I have to have the latest Apple fashion accessory" people that you really can't blame Apple for catering to ignorant indoctrinated buyers. After all they spend millions to make that a reality.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
27 weeks ago
First Apple product in years I haven’t brought on launch and gonna skip its much darker brightness compared to S4 my mate has it and the beta didn’t help it’s not good, also the fact the s5 chip has no speed improvements is a no sale from me, always on is a gimmick
[automerge]1569432461[/automerge]


The AOD is the huge new feature. Nothing else matters this year.
It makes Series 5 a no-brainer purchase for pretty much everyone.

Not really how hard is it to touch the screen or move it to look at it, the screen on max brightness is much dimmer than s4
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Acquires Weather App Dark Sky

Tuesday March 31, 2020 10:22 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple has acquired weather app Dark Sky, Dark Sky's developers announced today. Dark Sky is one of the most popular weather apps on the App Store, known for its accuracy and storm warnings. Our goal has always been to provide the world with the best weather information possible, to help as many people as we can stay dry and safe, and to do so in a way that respects your privacy. There is no ...

Zoom Accused of Misleading Users With 'End-to-End Encryption' Claims Amid Other Security Issues [Updated]

Wednesday April 1, 2020 2:47 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Zoom is facing fresh scrutiny today following a report that the videoconferencing app's encryption claims are misleading. Zoom states on its website and in its security white paper that the app supports end-to-end encryption, a term that refers to a way of protecting user content so that the company has no access to it whatsoever. However, an investigation by The Intercept reveals that...

Case for Upcoming Low-Cost iPhone Shows Up at Best Buy With Alleged April 5 Stock Date

Monday March 30, 2020 4:25 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple has a new low-cost iPhone in the works, which is supposed to be launching sometime in the first half of 2020. Given the ongoing situation in the United States and other countries, it's been unclear if the device is going to launch within the planned timeline, but there are signs that it could be coming soon. We started seeing cases for the new low-cost iPhone back in early February,...

Bloomberg: Apple's 5G iPhone Still on Schedule for Fall Launch, But Future Products Could Be Delayed

Monday March 30, 2020 2:40 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Apple's 5G iPhone is still on track to launch within the company's typical annual fall release schedule, according to a new Bloomberg report on filed on Monday. Signs are that Apple's Chinese-centric manufacturing -- of which Hon Hai is the linchpin -- is slowly getting back on track. The next iPhones with 5G wireless capabilities remain on schedule to launch in the fall, partly because mass...

Testing Brydge's New Pro+ Keyboard With Trackpad for iPad Pro

Monday March 30, 2020 2:04 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Well ahead of when Apple introduced trackpad support in iOS 13.4, Brydge announced an iPad Pro keyboard with a built-in multi-touch trackpad. We have one of Brydge's new Pro+ keyboards on hand, and thought we'd check it out to see how it works with Apple's new 2020 iPad Pro models. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The Brydge Pro+ keyboard is similar in design to...

Apple's Work on New Upcoming Products Progressing Normally as Employees Adjust to Telecommuting

Monday March 30, 2020 11:58 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple's development of upcoming products is progressing as usual despite the fact that Apple employees around the world are working from home, according to a new report today out from Bloomberg. Apple is still working on new versions of the HomePod, Apple TV, MacBook Pro, budget iPads, Apple Watch, iPhone, and iMac, all of which could be released "as early as later this year" and have been...

Apple Releases ProRes RAW Beta for Windows

Monday March 30, 2020 9:33 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple today released ProRes RAW for Windows in a beta capacity (via Mark Gurman), with the software designed to allow ProRes RAW and ProRes RAW HQ video files to be watched in compatible applications on Windows machines. According to Apple, the software will let the files be played within several Adobe apps: Adobe After Effects (Beta) Adobe Media Encocder (Beta) Adobe Premiere...

Apple Configurator 2 Updated With New Features, Including Support for Restoring Firmware on 2019 Mac Pro

Tuesday March 31, 2020 5:34 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple Configurator 2 has been updated to version 2.12 with several improvements, including support for restoring firmware on the 2019 Mac Pro. The release notes:• Added support for restoring firmware on the 2019 Mac Pro • Allow access to websites using TLS 1.0 and 1.1 • VPN: Configure Provider Designated Requirement for Custom SSL connection type • VPN: Configure network options for ...

Seemingly Unreleased Version of Logic Pro X With Live Loops Appears on Apple's Education Site [Updated]

Sunday March 29, 2020 7:23 am PDT by Hartley Charlton
Update: Apple has replaced the Logic Pro X image with an older version. Original story follows. A seemingly unreleased version of Logic Pro X has appeared on Apple's education site, as spotted by a Reddit user. The image from Apple's education products page shows a 16-inch MacBook Pro running Logic Pro X, but with a familiar interface that looks extremely similar to GarageBand's Live Loops ...

Apple's 2020 MacBook Air vs. 2020 iPad Pro

Wednesday April 1, 2020 2:45 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple in March updated both the MacBook Air and the iPad Pro, and with the iPad Pro increasingly positioned as a computer replacement, we thought we'd compare both new machines to see how they measure up and which one might be a better buy depending on user needs. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. We're comparing the base model 12.9-inch iPad Pro and the base model...