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World's first foldable iPhone wasn't made by Apple

Custom foldable iPhone built by Aesthetic Tech YouTube channel

After over 200 days of trial and error, an engineer was able to create a folding iPhone using custom parts and a hinge from a Motorola Razr.

Creative engineers love to build Frankenstein-like Apple devices like iPhones with USB-C ports or Mac mini with M1 processors stuffed into old iMac cases. The latest creation comes from a Chinese YouTuber called "Scientific and technological aesthetics," who tried to build the rumored iPhone Fold.

This YouTuber had a goal of building a foldable iPhone while preserving as many parts from the original devices as possible. As part of the design criteria, it had to be soft enough to bend while retaining the touch functionality.

The video shows the engineer's step-by-step process to dismantle what turned out to be dozens of iPhone screens, cut apart a donor device's case, and rebuild it as a foldable. They tested multiple hinge types from phones like the Galaxy Z Flip, but they chose a Motorola Razr hinge for its "small" display crease.

The video is in Chinese, but there are English subtitles. The process is incredibly difficult and involved.

A combination of engineering ingenuity, trial-and-error on delaminating Apple's iPhone screen, and some 3D-printed parts brought the folding iPhone to life. Many space-saving decisions had to be made to ensure the device was functional.

A tiny custom battery was built with only 1000mAh of capacity, a quarter of most iPhones. One speaker was removed, and all wireless charging and MagSafe components were discarded too.

Touch functionality continued to work fine, and iOS ran normally. However, the engineers wanted a foldable-friendly interface, so they installed custom software via jailbreak that was aware of the folded display.

This model is obviously considered a prototype by the designers. The engineer wants to continue perfecting the process and design over time and calls this version 0.1.