Apple's Liam robot pulls parts out of your iPhone ... for recycling


Apple introduced a new R&D project called Liam at its iPhone SE launch event that takes components out of your iPhone once you're done with it so that those materials can be recycled in other forms.

The system, made up of 29 robotic modules, is part of Apple's initiatives to basically save the planet by going green. The company is focused on fulfilling its environmental efforts, including powering all its facilities with 100% renewable energy. So far, 93% of its facilities do so.

Apple and other tech firms often come under fire for using materials that are detrimental to the Earth to mine, yet mostly end up in landfills once people chuck out their phones. While iPhones are lauded for their sleek and compact design, it's cracking into them to access those internal parts for reuse that many have take issue with.


Liam, though one machine, aims to help give materials like silver and tungsten new life. The machine takes out components of the iPhone, then turns them over to be used again.

Built right in Cupertino, Calif., Liam will live at a site close to the company's Infinite Loop campus. It will start by taking apart iPhone 6 handseets sold in the US, according to Reuters.

Liam can extract materials from an iPhone 6 every 11 seconds. While it won't make a huge dent in the hundreds of millions iDevices sold worldwide every year, Apple plans to expand the Liam system to work on other devices in other locations. In fact, another Liam is being installed in Europe as we speak.

Apple hopes to spur the rest of the tech industry into environmental do-gooding with initiatives like Liam. If it involves robots and helps save the planet, we're all for it.

Michelle Fitzsimmons

Michelle was previously a news editor at TechRadar, leading consumer tech news and reviews. Michelle is now a Content Strategist at Facebook.  A versatile, highly effective content writer and skilled editor with a keen eye for detail, Michelle is a collaborative problem solver and covered everything from smartwatches and microprocessors to VR and self-driving cars.