In an iPhone or essentially any device, the motherboard is the most important component. It is the part that houses all of the other components and allows them to communicate with each other. Motherboards can also be referred to as logic boards, system boards, or simply the “PCB board”.
Replacing parts of a badly damaged motherboard can be expensive. This is because a technician must replace each component by hand, which takes up far more time than it is worth. In some cases the mobo can suffer lighter damage; depending on what was broken, repairs are far easier and won’t cost much.
Motherboards are comprised of many working parts with different purposes and vulnerabilities. There are several integrated circuits, commonly referred to as ICs. Among these are: the power management IC which manages all power conversion, storage, and distribution; the eMMC IC or embedded Multi-Media Controller, which controls the system’s access and storage of data; and the display IC, audio IC, communication IC, and charging IC, all of which are named directly after the tasks which they control.
Aside from the ICs, a motherboard also houses the CPU (central processing unit) which is essentially the brain of the phone, and the baseband chip, which controls the device’s antenna-reliant functions.
Symptoms of a Faulty Motherboard and Their Fixes
If the entire motherboard itself is shorted or broken, it is beyond repair. Partial damage or individual faulty components can still be repaired. Repair is a two part process: the engineer must first diagnose and identify the problem, after which he or she will delicately replace and reball the ic.
Most motherboard repair processes require extensive skill and experience. Only a small percentage of service engineers can perform these repairs, and most centers that offer such services actually outsource their repairs for this very reason. An inexperienced pair of hands may wrongly diagnose or even cause further damage to the board.
Some common causes of faulty motherboards are:
- a particularly bad drop;
- unchecked overheating;
- continual water damage;
- an electrical short;
- usage of third party accessories;
- overnight charging.
Unresponsive touchscreen or lack of sensitivity
This can be caused by a variety of things, but the most common are impacts and water damage. Besides cracked screen replacement, the next most common issue lies with the digitizer ic, also known as the display ic. In this scenario, the LCD backlight may appear dim, the display may not be functioning, or the device may exhibit a lack of touch sensitivity.
Phone becomes extremely hot when plugged in and it cannot charge
Overheating phones can be a serious hazard, as they can start fires in the home without much warning. When your phone overheats and will not charge while plugged in, the most likely problem is the power management IC (either the main or secondary chip). There could also be an issue with the charging ribbon/port. The power management chip charges the iPhone and distributes power to all components on the board.
Typically this may be caused by:
- drops or impacts;
- overnight charging;
- use of a power bank and third party cables or adapters;
- water damage.
Can’t hear others or others can’t hear you during phone calls
Again, there are a number of possible causes for this; the three most common are a damaged audio IC, audio jack ribbon, or speaker microphone. This is a very basic repair.
Most of the our users experience an audio IC failure after just one year due to the audio jack ribbons wearing out.
This repair can damage other nearby components if executed poorly, so it is best to take it to a professional.
Missing baseband and iMEI
The baseband IC stores basic information that is unique to each iPhone, such as the IMEI, information about the baseband itself, firmware, the operating system, and more. The baseband can become disrupted in a few ways, most notably while updating to the latest version of iOS, a jailbreak, or sustaining liquid damage.
Regardless of the scenario, you can drop by iRepair for a free diagnosis and determine the exact issue and cost before you decide to repair.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: If I still have a warranty, can my motherboard be repaired for free?
A: This depends on the issue and how it happened. If Apple determines that the motherboard damage is outside your warranty, there isn’t much you can do about it. Water damage is not covered by the warranty, so if your audio IC is damaged, for example, you may be out of luck. Warranties purchased in Singapore can only be used at service centers located in Singapore.
Q: The duration of my warranty has passed – what should I do?
A: Bring your phone to iRepair, the best iPhone repair shop in Singapore, between 11:00 AM and 8:00 PM. You can wait comfortably in the lounge with a movie room, magazines, free drinks and free WiFi while your phone is repaired.
Q: What other components can be affected by the motherboard?
A: All of them. Every single component connects to the logic board in some way. It is the central unit for your device that allows each part to share its power.
Tips on keeping your motherboard safe in the future
- Do not use generic or third party accessories, especially chargers. Always use authentic Apple accessories!
- Buy a shock absorbent and waterproof case for your iPhone. Your device may become bulky or may not look as sleek, but it will be much safer.
- Be mindful of your iPhone’s state. If it is getting too hot, especially when charging, cease operation and bring it to iRepair for a diagnosis. Allowing the device to continually overheat will cause serious damage.
- If anything seems unusual (longer than usual load times with no discernible cause, less responsive touch screen, etc.), a checkup might be in order. Parts do eventually wear out over time, regardless of how well you take care of your iPhone.
- Try storing your phone in your backpack or purse if applicable. Assuming your bag is of decent quality, this will prevent the risk of fall damage as well.
- Never leave your phone in direct sunlight, near a heater, stove top, or other source of heat. Also do not expose it to extreme cold.
Take your phone to iRepair!
The price, service, and expertise of iRepair is simply unbeatable. Remember: iRepair is one of the few locations that perform motherboard repair onsite, and in general the best repair shop around. If your phone’s logic board has taken a turn for the worst, be sure to stop in right away to find out what went wrong and how much it’ll cost to fix it.