Arriving later in the year than normal, the Apple iPad 7 debuted alongside Apple’s iPhone 11 line, acting as a counterweight to yet another crop of revamped iPhones. As has been the case for years, Apple’s flagship iPad line remains a bastion of familiarity. The display swells from the traditional 9.7” to 10.2” and Smart Connector is now supported, but the iPad 7’s other modest upgrades are all internal, ensuring that everyone who enjoys their current iPad won’t have a problem upgrading when the time comes.
That’s good news for professional repair technicians, too. As seen in iFixit’s iPad 7 teardown, not much has changed, so if you’re comfortable working on any of the last iPads, you’ll have no problem tackling the new one. Let’s take a look at the highlights to see how they might affect repairs.
Touch Screen Digitizer and LCD Are Still Separate: There is still a ton of adhesive, so any repair requires a lot of patient prying, but the outer glass digitizer still comes off on its own. The LCD comes off after undoing a few screws. This keeps screen repairs relatively simple and cheap.
Also, the two screen display connectors, which on the last two iPads occupied their own flex cables, now link up and form one single flex cable. So when you’re prying, you only need to watch out for one display panel along with the home button flex cable.
Also, also: you’ll still need to keep the original home button to retain Touch ID.
Touch ID Sticks Around: See above. The iPad 7 doesn’t have Face ID like the new iPad Pros, so to keep Touch ID on a repaired iPad 7, remember to replace the original home button onto the new digitizer.
Lightning Port is Still Soldered to the Logic Board: The trend started on the iPad 5 continues here. The lightning port is soldered directly to the logic board, making repairs difficult and time-consuming. Not since the iPad 4 has Apple include a modular charging port flex cable on its flagship Apple. It’d be nice for that to change.
Headphone Jack Still Present: Another reason iPad lovers will love this iPad. It’s also another commonly damaged component, and thankfully, along with the front and back cameras, its modular and easy to replace.
Smart Connector Added: This is probably the biggest change to the inside of the new iPad, which goes to show that not much really changed. The Smart Connector flex cable runs down the left side of the iPad, sandwiched between the frame and battery, which should make for a tedious repair if it comes along.
Same Battery as the iPad 5 and 6? iFixit found the same battery in the iPad 7 as the one found in the iPad 5 and 6. We’ll know for sure about cross-compatibility in the near future. Just know that, once again, it’s held down by tons of adhesive.
The iPad 7 Puts the Brakes on Innovation
Relatively speaking, iPad 7 repairs will be pretty easy. Granted, there’s still tons of adhesive, and the lightning port makes it a hassle for those without microsoldering experience, but if you’ve been successfully repairing iPads for the past few years, you won’t find any new challenges here. Apple’s focus on delivering a simple device to the legions of iPad lovers out there comes with the side benefit of simple repairs. Considering the pressure Apple is putting on 3rd party repair with iPhone screen and battery replacement, let’s consider this a small victory!