Last month engineering student Ken Pillonel introduced the world to what may be the first fully functional iPhone featuring a USB-C port, after replacing the Lightning port on an iPhone X with a USB-C port.

Now Pillonel has released open source instructions and files for folks that want to try this at home, as well an in-depth video looking at the build process. But if that seems like too much work, you could just buy his phone – he’s auctioning it off on eBay.

That said, you’ll need a lot of money to get your hands on this currently one-of-a-kind phone. With more than a week left to go, the auction price was approaching the $5,000 mark. Pillonel is also requiring bidders promise they will not restore, update or erase the phone, open it up, or use it as their daily driver, presumably because any of those things could end up breaking the phone (which is guaranteed to at least work when it arrives).

So you might be better off building your own. It’s just very, very difficult to do… but at least it’s a little easier now that someone has figured out how.

The process involves installing custom chips and a custom circuit board into a phone that wasn’t designed to hold them, and drilling the Lightning port hole to make it wide enough for a USB-C connector, but at least you won’t need to do any reverse engineering or designing on your own, since Pillonel has already done it for you.

11/12/2021 Update: The eBay auction has ended, with the winning bid at $86,001.

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2 replies on “Now you can buy or build your own iPhone with a USB-C port (kind of, but not really)”

  1. If I was going to goto that much trouble, I’d sooner design my own aluminum chassis, and have it CNC machined. Design it to accept the front-panel glass and screen from an iPhone, and also the motherboard and battery.

    Doing this would allow you to do other things too with your custom PCB, like add an internal USB hub, with an auxiliary battery connected to the USB. Maybe even a microSD card slot, connected to the internal hub. You could even get crazy with an M.2 slot.

    I’d even suggest you could go as far as adding an HDMI port, but it appears Apple’s own HDMI adapter is actually a mini ARM powered computer (seems like iPhones can’t natively do HDMI over USB without a lot of extra hardware), so that might be lots of extra components to add to pull that off.

  2. I would pay $30 more for an iphone with USB C if Apple sold the two versions. I would be fine if the phone thickness was 3mm larger. I really like the iphone camera, durability of the phone and leaving wifi on all the time has a minimal power impact. Everything else sucks big time.

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