New Apple Robot Shows Us How to Recycle Old iPhones

If you’ve ever taken apart an old cellphone made by Blackberry, Motorola or most other manufacturers, you know that it’s pretty easy to take off the back cover, start pulling stuff out and separating the battery, screen, circuit boards and other innards.

Then we come to the iPhone. From the earliest versions, they’ve been hard to open, take apart or break down into different recyclable components. Even if you only need a new battery in your iPhone, Apple has made it difficult to replace.

This is Liam, Apple's iPhone recycling robot, which can reclaim gold, silver, platinum, copper, lithium and more. Credit: Apple.

This is Liam, Apple's iPhone recycling robot, which can reclaim gold, silver, platinum, copper, lithium and more. Credit: Apple.

Enter Liam, the New Apple Robot

Here’s a video that shows how a new robot that Apple designed can pull apart an iPhone and separate out its parts. For reasons we do not know, Apple named this robot Liam. According to Apple, just one Liam robot can recycle 1.2 million iPhones a year.

Be aware, this is a short video that moves quickly. But if you stay alert, you will notice that Liam is able to extract and separate these different kinds of scrap from iPhones:

  • Cobalt and lithium from the battery
  • Gold and copper from the camera
  • Silver and platinum from the main logic board
  • Aluminum from the outer case

The video doesn’t mention the fact that rare earths are also found in the screen displays or iPhones, just as they are in other phones. We bet that Liam has a plan to recycle those valuable chemicals too.

Do You Have Old Cellphones to Recycle?

If you do, give us a call at 800-426-2344 to tell us what you have. We’ll tell you how to send them to us for evaluation and testing. Be sure to mention this blog post and ask about free or discounted shipping charges when you send your phones to us to be tested.

Just bear in mind that you should proceed with caution when recycling smartphones on your own, because iPhone batteries, just like the batteries in other phones, contain lithium that can explode when exposed to high temperatures. That is why we require that batteries be removed from cellphones before they are sent to us for testing or recycling. If you call us at 800-426-2344, we will be pleased to tell you how to do that.

Related Posts:

Is it Worth Recycling Smartphones 
There’s Gold (and Silver and Other Valuable Stuff) in iPhones 
8 Explosive Facts about Lithium  
How Much Money Can You Make by Recycling Catalytic Converters, Cellphones, and other Popular Items?