Serial phone abusers at iFixit have discovered that the iPhone SE 2020 is effectively a specced-up version of 2017's iPhone 8, meaning many of its components are interchangeable with its older brother.
The cameras, SIM tray and Taptic Engine (essentially Apple's version of a vibration motor, used for haptic feedback) all share the same format as do the display, microphone and proximity sensor.
Some components, however, differ. The most surprising is the battery. Disappointingly, you can't just chuck in a cell from an old iPhone 8 if the one on your shiny iPhone SE 2020 dies because the logic board uses an entirely different connector format.
iFixit also noted the home button – which includes the Fingerprint reader – is not interchangeable with older devices. If that breaks, as often happens with mechanical components, you'll have to get Apple to fix it or purchase an aftermarket replacement.
If you do the latter, remember that TouchID – used to unlock the phone, as well as for Apple Pay – will no longer work. That's not a "bug" with the iPhone SE 2020, but rather a "feature" introduced by Apple ostensibly for security reasons.
Curiously, the connector is the same as that found on the recent iPhone 11. However, in iFixit's testing, it was unable to actually power the iPhone SE 2020 using a battery fished from an iPhone 11. And that's a touch worrying as batteries are one component you can guarantee will fail with age.
Why does this matter? Well, it demonstrates that the iPhone SE 2020 will be fairly easy to service and repair, since many common components are readily available. And as iFixit points out, this is fairly surprising as backwards compatibility isn't really in Apple's playbook.
This commonality has helped Apple sell the iPhone SE 2020 in the same neighbourhood as rival vendors, like Oppo and Xiaomi, which have captured huge swaths of market share by aggressively touting well-specced phones within the £300-£500 price point. There's very little "new" in the latest iPhone SE, save for the optics and battery. And since Apple hasn't reinvented the wheel, it's been able to reuse the same parts found in earlier models, while saving further cash on R&D costs. ®