Turning an iPhone into a USB Flash Drive?

Computers & Mobile Other Boards Technology
Turning an iPhone into a USB Flash Drive?

In this video from Strange Parts, Scott undertakes what some might find an aggravating, even pointless project. As a “what if?,” he decides to see if he can turn an iPhone 6 into a USB stick drive. More accurately, he de-solders the flash memory chip from a broken iPhone 6 and transfers it onto a DIY USB control board.

It sounds a tad zany and one might immediately ask why? He only paid a couple of dollars for the USB board, but once you see how much trouble and literal hair-pulling he goes through–to create a 32GB drive he could easily buy in the market for peanuts–you know he didn’t do it to save money. But when you see the look of joy on Scott’s face when, after half-a-dozen attempts, he finally gets the drive to mount, it becomes clear what motivates this kind of exploratory hardware hacking.

YouTube player

We viewers, along for the ride, get to watch Scott eventually solve the problem through some troubleshooting and a lot of dogged trial and error. Watching this, I was reminded of the fact that I rarely possess this level of patience. I likely would’ve given up after the 2nd or 3rd de/re-soldering. But Scott just keeps “waving a dead chicken” (as the old hacker slang put it) trying everything, including upgrading his operating system, until he gets it right.

Many of Scott’s videos often include “scenes” in the Shenzhen, China electronics markets, which is always fascinating to see being negotiated, especially by bewildered Westerners. Over the course of the video, we also get a decent introduction into BGA (ball grid array) surface-mount soldering.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at garstipsandtools.com.

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn
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