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!

How much did it cost? Answer here:

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:

My Gear:
I shot it on this camera:
And also with this:
And recorded sound on this:
Collaborative editing software:

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!

#StrangeParts #PhoneAdventures #China


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  1. Lots of people here think the parts like what you got are counterfeit. But a lot of factories in China will do runs of parts or even the whole item that is what we consider off the books. Meaning, well there is a lot of ways. But very common is when they get the templates/plans for a new model. Many times, new machines have to be built to make the parts and other machines have to be reconfigured. This requires a lot of testing and having many, many bad runs of parts that have to be destroyed and melted. All of these factories are given massive lead times to perform this. Yes there is a person there to represent the manufacturer. However whether it is a Chinese person or an American. The factory will pull them in and bribe/threaten them into leaving a few days. Maybe to have a special woman/man tour guide to provide them a all access and free tour of the whole country where they are given special credentials provided by the government to go anywhere at any time no matter what or who complains.

    While the tour is going on the factory is running all the undocumented parts they can squeeze in. They get a call by the tour guide as to when they will return. By the time they return the factory has everything ready to run the new items and this is made the official date of readiness that the manufacturer representative puts on the paperwork that Apple or whomever is given.

    When you have a factory who has someone that they are unable to get to cooperate with the Chinese way of doing business. No worry. Every factory requires that a Chinese citizen be on the IT team with all access to everything IT related. Even much of the software/hardware code. Backdoors or hidden code is inserted so the factory can run extra off the books time and the software/hardware is set to not even show that the machines were running and the counts match when they get an audit.

    This type of behavior is what Trump is trying to stop. BUT, many politicians Dems and Repub that represent areas where the home office of these manufactures are located work both sides of the fence. I know Pelosi does and she covers most of silicone valley.

    I found out a few years back getting an in with a guy with a Bowflex factory. Yes, I can bring in a container of Boxflex items. They come in without Boxflex on the items however I am also able to buy the stickers and screen print supplies I need so when they get to a warehouse here they logo's and stickers are put on. This is akin to buying all you need to build your own fully auto rifle that you can put together. But all but one or two components come in one box while the other components are shipped in another box.

    This is done for everything made in China. So the parts are legit 95% of the time. Yes you do have broken phones and other items that do get sent back to the factory also. These items are recycled into good components most of the time. These items are slipped back into the parts mentioned above or sent back here as refurbished and are used to replace items that are returned due to damage. Those markets, some buy new and some buys used refurbished to resell. So not as many recycled parts end up at those markets as you would think.

  2. como haces para que los titulos de tu video aparezcan en miniatura en español, pero una vez seleccionado el video que se quiera ver, el titulo cambia a su idioma original, ingles, como lo haces?

  3. ,china will not ever get my money,i dont support a dictator and power greedy communist party. do not buy anything made in china.

  4. Omg, it does that looks so easy, but I'm sure that is more difficult that looks. I like your face of satisfying when you finally ends the phone, it's like a great achievement and I understand you because happens the same to me when I finally end something important to me. I have a question, How legal is buy parts of phone there in china? I ask you because many weeks ago I saw a program about piracy in make up and china it's the principal place that produce pirate make-up, and think that it's the same in technology, but, anyway great Channel and interesting video. Greetings!

  5. So thank God finally you made an Iphone I mean thank God you Finally assembled an Iphone i really do miss this kind of electronic markets in my country

  6. This is what America should be like. Ever since the big Corps (thank you fu*** Gates and Jobs) monopolized and clamped down on open tech + illegally increased patents terms and lengths of life to infinity. The freedom to do whatever the damn you felt like with tech, has died.The whole tech world in America has gone to sh**.

  7. Apple will Hiked Screen repair on iPhone 7 or less for moving to SE 2 and XR and 11 in killer idea. In killer Startegy.

  8. Apple will find Way To Shelve 2-4% from the Hight Thick of iPhone and Apple Watch and iPad Chips to save a Lot of Costs in Production And Battery and More Speed maybe By Buying Patents. And it save costs. Work.

  9. Damn this dude didn't even bargain for the slightest bit shopping in Huaqiangbei😂🤣 he could probably spend even less building the phone

  10. Why not an iPhone 8? All that work for an outdated model lol. Maybe the video is much older than when it was posted I guess.

  11. ok I liked it, although it was not necessary to indicate what the cost was, it was possibly more convenient to buy a new one? 😬

  12. Problem is apple wont be happy but really respect to those electronic shops as they help to recycle the phones.

  13. Why are people promoting China? We don't need China. We need jobs in our countries where we invent, develop and test things. Where we live and our families are home. There are alternatives, as end consumers we have the greatest power to show the money horny and insensitive grasshopper managers what we really need and want. Sure not products from China. Don't be an idiot, don't buy goods from China. Use the Internet, there is an alternative for everything. If there are no more products from your country, support your neighboring countries. China must not become a world power. There must be no Chinese world domination. Think about tomorrow and your children, do not create a China planet. Don't buy anything from China anymore. This will save your country, your local companies and the future of your families.


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