Apple Watch Series 7 teardown reveals no diagnostic port and iPhone 13-like display

Apple Watch Series 7 teardown reveals no diagnostic port and iPhone 13-like display

The launch of every new Apple product is usually accompanied by a teardown article (and sometimes a video) from the folks at iFixit. Sure enough, with the Apple Watch Series 7 now shipping to buyers, iFixit has graced us with an incredibly detailed teardown. Although the latest Apple Watches don’t appear too different on the outside, the teardown revealed a few interesting changes to manufacturing and design, including similarities with the iPhone 13 series.

The internal layout of the Series 7 isn’t too different than the previous generation’s layout, according to iFixit’s article, but there are a few notable changes. First, there’s no physical diagnostic port, which was previously located under the battery. Apple might be using a new 60 GHz wireless module for testing and loading software during assembly, but iFixit wasn’t able to find direct evidence of that — the module would likely be housed in the sealed system board.

iFixit also found that the display assembly for the Series 7 uses one flex cable fold, while the previous generation used two flex cables (one for touch sensing, the other for the OLED panel itself). This means Apple has consolidated the touch signals into the existing OLED display flex cable, using the same “on-cell touch” technology found in the iPhone 13 lineup. It’s possible this new manufacturing method is why the Apple Series 7 had short delays in orders after it was announced.

Apple Watch Series 6 and 7 display assemblies next to each other

The Series 7 display (top/left) next to the Series 6 display (bottom/right)

In the end, iFixit has given the Series 7 a score of 6 out of 10 for repairability. The watch uses a similar modular construction as the Series 6, so swapping the battery and Taptic Engine (vibration motor) isn’t too difficult, and it even uses some of the same parts as the Series 6. Notably, you can perform a battery replacement on the Series 7 without warnings showing up. However, Apple doesn’t offer public service manuals or OEM replacement parts at decent prices, and there’s a whole lot of glue keeping the watch held together.

About author

Corbin Davenport
Corbin Davenport

Corbin is a tech journalist and software developer based in Raleigh, North Carolina. He's also the host of the Tech Tales podcast, which explores the history of the technology industry. Follow him on Twitter at @corbindavenport.