A couple of weeks after the official unveiling of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, we found out that Apple’s latest smartphone was being shipped with two variants of the new Apple-designed A9 SoC – one manufactured by Samsung using the 14nm process and the other by TSMC based on the 16nm fabrication node. Chipgate ?
Totally a coincidence that the iPhone with a Samsung chip is worse…right?
Following the launch of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus last month, it was discovered that Apple is dual sourcing the A9 chip for the new devices from both TSMC and Samsung, with the chips from the two companies measuring at slightly different sizes due to different processes used in manufacturing the chips.
This is the first time Apple has ever used two manufacturers to produce the A-series of chips which power the iPad and iPhone ranges, leading to a possible chipgate.
This information compelled concerned users to share benchmark tests while one developer even put together a crowd-sourcing tool called CPU Identifier to help users identify the A9 chip version on their iPhones, creating a running database of units containing TSMC chips versus those shipped with the Samsung A9 SoC.
The Samsung A9 chip might have drawn the short straw when it comes to battery life. According to one Reddit user commenting under a related post, the TSMC version might offer up to two whole hours of extra run time compared to its Samsung counterpart. The inference comes from a Geekbench battery test the Redditor ran on two identically set up iPhone 6s Plus units, one with the Samsung A9 and the other with a TSMC chip.
It is surprising to see that the Samsung chips are inefficient, which comes as a surprise since Samsung’s 14nm FinFET should be less power hungry compared to the TSMC’s 16nm node. Samsung’s chips are also said to reduce heat output – but they fail there too.The TSMC chips perform better than the Samsung ones in every aspect.
How to check which chip you iPhone has?
In light of these unexpected findings, we wouldn’t blame you for being anxious to know the make of your new iPhone’s A9 chip. If you’re looking for an easy way to do that, here are two ways you can achieve that:
Lirum Device Info Lite
Free iOS app Lirum Device Info Lite is the easiest way to find your A9 processor info. The app’s mysterious disappearance from the App Store fueled conspiracy theories today, but once it’s back and ready, here are the steps you can use to determine what chip is powering your phone. (And, of course, if you previously downloaded Lirum Labs’ app, you can run it now.)
- Download and launch Lirum Device Info Lite
- Look under model in the main page
- If the model is N66AP or N71AP, sorry, you’ve got a Samsung chip. If the model is N66MAP or N71MAP you’ve got TSMC.
For the iPhone 6s, model N71AP contains the Samsung A9 chip while N71MAP contains the TSMC variant. For the iPhone 6s Plus, the Samsung model is N66AP and its TSMC counterpart goes by N66MAP.
This is the sketchiest way to check your chip info because it uses an unsigned program developed by Hiraku Jira. We can’t vouch for it, even though we did try it on our iPhone 6s and it didn’t blow up. It’s super-easy to use but proceed at your own risk.
- Open the CPU Identifier website on your iPhone 6s.
- Tap “Install”Go to Settings >> General >> Profile.
- Tap the profile for Guangzhou Huimei Electronics.
- Select “Trust this app”.
- Open CPU Identifier and it will show you your A9 chipmaker.