How I Made My Own iPhone – in China

How I Made My Own iPhone – in China

I built a like-new(but really refurbished) iPhone 6S 16GB entirely from parts I bought in the public cell phone parts markets in Huaqiangbei. And it works!

I’ve been fascinated by the cell phone parts markets in Shenzhen, China for a while. I’d walked through them a bunch of times, but I still didn’t understand basic things, like how they were organized or who was buying all these parts and what they were doing with them.

So when someone mentioned they wondered if you could build a working smartphone from parts in the markets, I jumped at the chance to really dive in and understand how everything works. Well, I sat on it for nine months, and then I dove in.

More details at:

Email Newsletter:

Special thanks to everyone that helped:Ian Lesnet (, Jin Lin ( and, Helen, Frank, David, Wyman from G-Lon Cell Phone Repair School (, Charles Pax (, Patrick O’Doherty, Matt Turzo, Richard Littauer, the EFF, Bunnie Huang (, Sean Cross (, all the rest of my friends in China that have been supportive, and most importantly all the Huaqiangbei market sellers that were so generous with their time and advice!

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20 Responses

  1. SKOTCH says:

    Really enjoyed the video and now subbed. What was the total cost of building your own phone?

  2. kenji8763 says:

    Holy shit Shenzhen looks like a fun place

  3. BulbaSaw says:

    Question: How much did it cost to make it yourself. Compared to store price?

    Just curious 🙂

  4. tyler2803 says:

    Do you know how much you spent on all the components for the phone, it would be interesting to compare the price of assembling all the components yourself vs walking into a US Apple store and buying an iPhone 6s.
    edit: 6s

  5. SANAFABICH says:

    6:18 OMG he said “nigga”.

  6. dxxPacmanxxb says:

    how did you get iOS on there?

  7. Reptitula says:

    Sooo coool ! Anybody from reddit? 😀

  8. John milshnogenberg says:

    Dude, ALWAYS haggle with these people.

  9. Forbidden says:

    wait, so you’re telling me old damaged phones end up back in china for scrap? and then people rebuild those phones and sell them?

    Man, that sounds so fucking cool.

    It’s a shame we’re so fucking lazy in the west we just say “it’s broken, I need a new one”

  10. SweetMooch says:

    WOAH WOAH WOAH. What is this food at 9:42??? I need this in my life.

  11. CrashCourse says:

    That was so freakin’ cool!

  12. Binge Bammer says:

    “like building your own desktop” except you just get used actual iphone 6s parts. so… nothing at all like that?

  13. Neoshan says:

    impressed by apples engineering and “so easy to repair”? Apple has one of the worst throw-away-ecosystems ever, and repairability is utter shit. do some proper research before saying these things. you basically just assembled working parts.

  14. Cherry the Skrublord says:

    Reddit Anyone?

  15. Paul George says:

    Once you get done making ik should’ve jumped out a building and killed yourself like the people that actually make the iPhones

  16. Lennonade says:

    Shenzhen? More like Szechwan.

  17. MischievousMoo says:

    That’s why everything is made in China

  18. Sierra Miranda says:

    Damn Chinese are obsessed with technology, specially iPhones

  19. ShitpostingAtheist says:

    500 Chinese kids in 1

  20. Shellyman Vol.2 says:

    I rather make it in Foxconn than outside markets.

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