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Screengrab via Apple/YouTube

This is Apple’s iPhone-dissecting robot named Liam

He pulls apart iPhones, hopefully not humans.


AJ Dellinger


Posted on Mar 21, 2016   Updated on May 27, 2021, 1:40 am CDT

Before unveiling its smaller iPhone and iPad Pro on Monday, Apple led off its event by showing off a robot. It’s not for sale, though; it’s the Cupertino company’s secret weapon for iPhone recycling.

Dubbed Liam, the bot is in charge of Apple’s iPhone recycling program. It disassembles devices by detecting individuals parts within the discarded smartphones that can be salvaged and eventually repurposed. 

Liam rescues cobalt and lithium from the iPhone battery, gold and copper from the camera, and silver and platinum from the logic board—all limited resources who’s scarcity can lead to troubling situations, including funding ongoing conflicts in war-torn countries where the minerals are often found.

Apple put major emphasis on its environmental initiatives during its event on Monday, touting the company’s impressive achievement of running 93 percent of its facilities on renewable energy—including 100 percent in the United States and all of its data centers around the world. The company also noted that 99 percent of paper used in its packaging is from recycled product or comes from “sustainably managed forests.” 

Unlike most robots, who we fear will eventually decide to destroy us and our planet, Liam is here to save it. 

Screengrab via Apple/YouTube

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*First Published: Mar 21, 2016, 4:52 pm CDT