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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Long before Apple takes the wraps off a new iPhone, the smartphone goes through months of design work, testing, and production between Apple's headquarters in Cupertino and its manufacturing partners in China.

It is during this time that iPhone parts usually begin to leak, despite Apple's best efforts to double down on secrecy. Nevertheless, noted leaker Sonny Dickson has provided MacRumors with a closer look at a few known measures the company takes to hide iPhone prototypes and prevent potential leaks.


Foremost, Dickson said an iPhone prototype travels across the world in a "stealth" case designed to prevent onlookers from seeing how it looks. The case conceals most of the iPhone, while it has yellow "security" tape along the sides that would show any tampering by somebody trying to get it open.

The prototype is accompanied by a "passport" at all times for quality assurance/control testing, according to Dickson.


"Each component or product that is tested they document in the page," said Dickson. "The person writes their initials next to it and any notes about it passing or failing or any other comments. It makes its way through each test/person. It then is finally sent with its 'passport' from China to Apple."

As known, the prototype itself, such as the iPhone 6 Plus pictured below, is engraved with a QR code for Apple to keep track of the product.


As mentioned, these efforts have not entirely prevented iPhone prototypes from leaking. A mostly accurate picture of the iPhone 7 Plus with a dual-lens camera leaked in March 2016, six months before Apple unveiled the device, while an Apple engineer infamously left a disguised iPhone 4 at a bar near Cupertino in 2010.

Apple will reportedly begin production of a trio of new iPhones, including a 5.8-inch model with an edge-to-edge OLED display, as early as next quarter, so part leaks should begin to surface around that time if history repeats itself. Read our iPhone 8 roundup to keep track of the latest rumors in the meantime.

Article Link: Here's the 'Stealth' Case Apple Uses to Conceal iPhone Prototypes During Transport
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Reactions: starpuma


macrumors 68030
Jan 15, 2016
Apple should announce a brand new phone before there is potential of a leak. Announce now and release 3-6 months later.
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Reactions: Avieshek


macrumors 68030
Jan 15, 2016
"STOM" test is code for boot crushing stomping test. And in this case, it's not completed yet.


macrumors 68000
Jun 17, 2003
Toronto, Canada
One of the side effects of stealth cases like that is you don't get a real world scenario of how well the antenna works.

The iPhone 4 was disguised in a plastic 3GS lookalike case, so the field testers' hands never made contact with the antenna band. When it was finally released to the market, and into the hands of real users, you ended up with the whole "you're holding it wrong" fiasco, and the antenna band had to be redesigned for how people actually hold it.


macrumors newbie
Aug 6, 2013
"Stealth" iPhone. Yet in a couple months, we will see and know the design for the 7S model. Same as we have for the past few years.

I feel like everyone are just kidding themselves with the stories that Apple if failing under Tim Cook because they can't keep leaks from happening. The reality is if you are operating on Apple's scale and are the biggest company out there there is nothing you can do to stop those leaks completely. Specially the ones from the supply chains. They need to start manufacturing those parts 4-5 months ahead of time in order to meet demands. There is just no way if you are Apple you can keep something like this from leaking. But somehow we throw away our common sense (when it comes to Apple) and are acting like OMG. Leaks are happening everywhere, there is no secrecy, Steve Jobs was able to do this or that. Please, when Steve ran Apple it was 1/4 of it's current size.


macrumors 603
Apr 2, 2008
New York.
Wow look at the comments on the linked iPhone 4 leak article! It's funny that such a hated design is now considered the best ever iPhone design, talk about judging too soon

No, talk about sheep. There are so many times when people claim to not like a design until it's made official or released by another company.

And it's sooo annoying when it comes to Apple because I KNOW once everyone sees the Keynote and see all the high resolution images and features of the phone they'll all change their minds.

It's sad.
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