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The Apple A5 is a 32-bit system-on-a-chip designed by Apple Inc. and manufactured by Samsung[3][4] and is the successor to the Apple A4. The A5 commercially debuted with the release of Apple's iPad 2 tablet, and also powers the iPhone 4S, iPod Touch fifth generation, Apple TV third generation, and the iPad mini first generation. This is consistent with how Apple debuted the A4 chip: first in the original iPad, followed by the iPhone 4, and then the iPod Touch (fourth generation).[5] Apple claims that compared to its predecessor, the A4, the A5 CPU "can do twice the work" and the GPU has "up to nine times the graphics performance".[6] Software updates for devices using this chip ceased in 2019, with the release of iOS 9.3.6[7].

Apple A5
Apple A5 Chip.jpg
The A5 processor
General Info
LaunchedMarch 11, 2011
DiscontinuedOctober 4, 2016
Designed byApple Inc.
Common manufacturer(s)
Product codeS5L8940X (45 nm)
S5L8942X (32 nm)
S5L8947X (Single core, 32 nm)
Max. CPU clock rate0.8 GHz to 1 GHz
L1 cache32 KB instruction + 32 KB data[1]
L2 cache1 MB[1]
Architecture and classification
Min. feature size45 nm to 32 nm
MicroarchitectureARM Cortex-A9
Instruction setARM, Thumb-2
Physical specifications
  • 1 (Apple TV (3rd generation Rev A))
    2 (iPhone 4S, iPad 2, iPad mini, iPod touch (5th generation), Apple TV (3rd generation) (one core disabled))
GPU(s)PowerVR SGX543MP2 (dual-core)[2]
Products, models, variants
  • Apple A5X
  • Apple A5 (S5L8940, 45 nm)
  • Apple A5 (S5L8942, 32 nm)
  • Apple A5 (S5L8947, 32 nm)
PredecessorApple A4
SuccessorApple A6


The A5 consists of a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU[8] with NEON SIMD accelerator and a dual core PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU.[2] Apple lists the A5 to be clocked at 1 GHz on the iPad 2's technical specifications page,[9] though it can dynamically adjust its frequency to save battery life.[10][8] The unit used in the iPhone 4S is clocked at approximately 800 MHz.[11] Apple has also included an image signal processor unit (ISP) that will do advanced image post-processing such as face detection, white balance and automatic image stabilization[12] and an "earSmart" unit from Audience for noise canceling.[13]

When the A5 was first released, it was estimated at that time to cost 75% more than the previous generation, with the difference expected to diminish as production increased.[14] As of August 2012, the A5 is manufactured at Samsung's Austin, Texas factory.[15] Samsung invested $3.6 billion in the Austin facility to produce chips such as processors, and nearly all of that facility's output is dedicated to Apple components.[16] Samsung has invested a further $4.2 billion at the Austin facility in order to transition to a 28 nm fabrication process by the second half of 2013.[15]

The A5 part model numbers are: S5L8940 (45 nm version), S5L8942 (32 nm version) and S5L8947 (32 nm, single core version).[17] A version of the A5 with a wider memory subsystem and four graphic cores is called Apple A5X and is found in the third generation iPad.

Apple A5 (S5L8940)Edit

Apple uses the first version of the A5 chip in the iPhone 4S, and iPad 2.[18] The A5's manufacturing process is 45 nm and it has 122.2 mm2 of die area.[19] It is manufactured in a package on package (PoP) together with 512 MB[19] of dual-channel[1] LP-DDR2 DRAM.[20]

Apple A5r2 (S5L8942)Edit

Apple used a second version of the A5 chip in the third generation Apple TV, announced on March 7, 2012,[21] as well as the iPod Touch fifth generation, the iPad mini, and the 32 nm revision of the iPad 2.[22] This chip is manufactured with a 32 nm fabrication process, with ID code S5L8942 and it has one core disabled in the Apple TV.[23] The new A5 measures nearly 41% smaller than first-generation A5, coming in at 69.6 mm2[23] and manufactured in a package on package (PoP) together with 512 MB LPDDR2 DRAM.[24][25]

Apple A5r3 (S5L8947)Edit

In March 2013, Apple released an updated version of the third generation Apple TV (AppleTV3,2) containing a smaller, single CPU core and single GPU core version of the A5 processor.[26] Unlike the other A5 variants, this version of the A5 is not a package-on-package (PoP), having no stacked RAM.[24] The chip is very small, just 37.8 mm2,[24] but as the decrease in size is not due to a decrease in feature size (it is still on a 32 nm fabrication process), this indicates that this A5 revision is of a new design.[27] Markings tell that it's named APL7498, and in software, the chip is called S5L8947.[28][24]

Products that include the Apple A5Edit


These images are illustrations and only approximately to scale.

The 45 nm A5 S5L8940 introduced in March 2011.
The 32 nm A5r2 S5L8942 introduced in March 2012.
The single-core 32 nm A5r3 S5L8947 introduced in March 2013.
Sizes: A5 (10.1 mm x 12.2 mm),[19] A5r2 (8.1 mm x 8.6 mm),[23] A5r3 (6.1 mm x 6.3 mm)[24]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Gowri, Vivek; Lal Shimpi, Anand (March 28, 2012). "The Apple iPad Review (2012): The A5X SoC". Retrieved September 16, 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Apple iPad 2 GPU Performance Explored: PowerVR SGX543MP2 Benchmarked". AnandTech. March 12, 2011. Retrieved September 17, 2011.
  3. ^ "Updated: Samsung fabs Apple A5 processor". March 12, 2011. Archived from the original on May 9, 2013. Retrieved March 15, 2011.
  4. ^ "Apple's A5 chip is built by Samsung". The Guardian. December 16, 2011. Retrieved January 29, 2012. "The powerful A5 processor, which uses technology licensed from Britain's ARM Holdings, is designed by Apple in California, by a team formerly part of PA Semi – an American chip design company that Apple bought in April 2008."
  5. ^ "iPhone 5 expected to have same A5 chip as iPad 2". Macworld. March 11, 2011. Retrieved September 17, 2011.
  6. ^ "Apple iPad 2 feature page". Archived from the original on March 16, 2011. Retrieved March 15, 2011.
  7. ^ "About iOS 9 Updates". Apple Support. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  8. ^ a b "Apple iPad 2 Preview". AnandTech. March 12, 2011. Retrieved September 17, 2011.
  9. ^ "iPad – View the technical specifications for iPad". Apple. Archived from the original on March 16, 2011. Retrieved March 15, 2011.
  10. ^ "Inside Apple's iPad 2 A5: fast LPDDR2 RAM, costs 66% more than Tegra 2". AppleInsider. Retrieved March 15, 2011.
  11. ^ iPhone 4S Preliminary Benchmarks: ~800MHz A5, Slightly Slower GPU than iPad 2, Still Very Fast
  12. ^ "Apple Announces iPhone 4S: A5, 8 MP Camera, 1080p Video Recording". October 4, 2011. Retrieved October 9, 2011.
  13. ^ "Why Apple's A5 is so big—and iPhone 4 won't get Siri". August 4, 2012. Retrieved February 6, 2012.
  14. ^ Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry (March 14, 2011). "It Costs $326.60 To Make An iPad 2 – Why That Matters". Business Insider. Retrieved March 14, 2011.
  15. ^ a b "Samsung upgrades Texas mobile device chip factory". BBC News Online. August 21, 2012. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
  16. ^ Gupta, Poornima (December 16, 2011). "Exclusive: Made in Texas: Apple's A5 iPhone chip". Reuters. Retrieved December 16, 2011.
  17. ^ Foresman, Chris (February 27, 2012), iOS 5.1 code hints at simultaneous A5X and A6 processor development, Ars Technica, retrieved March 26, 2012
  18. ^ "iPhone 4S CPU Clocked At 800MHz Is 73% Faster Than iPhone 4, Twice As Fast As Galaxy S II, And All Other Android Phones". Redmond Pie. October 11, 2011. Retrieved March 7, 2012.
  19. ^ a b c "A First Look at Apple's A5 Processor". Chipworks. March 12, 2011. Archived from the original on November 1, 2013. Retrieved September 15, 2013.
  20. ^ "iPad 2 Tablet Teardown and Apple A5 IC Analysis". TechInsights. March 12, 2011. Archived from the original on September 18, 2013. Retrieved September 17, 2013.
  21. ^ "Apple TV Q&A (section Internal Differences)". EveryMac. December 2, 2015. Archived from the original on October 3, 2016. Retrieved October 16, 2016.
  22. ^ "The iPad 2,4 Review: 32nm Brings Better Battery Life". Anandtech. May 4, 2012.
  23. ^ a b c "Update – 32-nm Apple A5 in the Apple TV 3 – and an iPad 2!". Chipworks. April 11, 2012. Archived from the original on October 24, 2013. Retrieved September 15, 2013.
  24. ^ a b c d e "Apple's TV surprise – a new A5 chip!". Chipworks. March 12, 2013. Archived from the original on November 10, 2013. Retrieved September 15, 2013.
  25. ^ "Apple TV 3rd Generation Teardown". iFixit. March 7, 2012. Retrieved September 17, 2013.
  26. ^ Lal Shimpi, Anand (March 15, 2013). "Apple TV 2013 (A1469) Short Review: Analysis of a New A5". AnandTech. Retrieved September 23, 2014.
  27. ^ A5 Chip in Tweaked Apple TV Still Manufactured by Samsung at 32nm -
  28. ^ Tweaked Apple TV Contains Die-Shrunk A5 Chip, Not A5X -

External linksEdit