This article provides a step-by-step guide to replacing the front glass, the LCD, & the digitizer on an iPhone 4 or 4G. A video is linked and a photo gallery is at the end of the article. (The same procedure allows replacement of the HOME BUTTON.)
It is not a terribly difficult task but it does require removing almost everything from the phone (all held together with a multitude of tiny, different sized screws.) Refer to the photos and video if the instructions are not clear.
- Replacement part (the glass, digitizer, & LCD are all sold as a single unit)
- iPhone tool kit (generally included with the part). Even if you already have the micro-sized screw drivers and case opener tools, you will also need a “pentelobe” screw driver (new).
- Double-stick adhesive tape (precut & shaped) to stick the part back onto the phone. (This also is normally included with the replacement part.)
- Egg carton or something to keep the tiny screws and parts separated so you can replace them properly.
- Optional: The replacement home button is only a couple of dollars. it will be easy to replace it while replacing the glass, you might want to replace it at this time. Also, it is possible to break the tiny ribbon cable holding it. If you do – and you don’t have a replacement – it will extend the time the phone is broken.
- Power off the phone. Be sure that it is completely powered down. Hold the power button (on top) until the “Slide to power off” is displayed. Then slide it. 🙂
- Remove the SIM card. On the right side of the phone is a small metal slot with a tiny hole in one end. Push the end of a paper clip in the hole until the SIM holder pops out slightly. Then just pull the holder/card out of the phone and place it in a section of the egg carton.
- Remove the 2 screws on the bottom of the phone (either side of the dock connector). These are the “pentelobe” screws and you must use the appropriate tool to remove them. Each time you remove a set of screws, place them in a separate section of the egg carton so that you can replace them in the reverse order.
- Remove the back cover. After you remove the 2 bottom screws, you can slide the back up about a quarter of an inch then you can just lift it off – revealing the battery and internal parts of the phone.
- Remove the single screw holding the battery connector. The battery is the large black part, pretty much in the center of the phone. The connector is at the lower left of the battery.
- Pop the battery connector up from the phone. Be careful about the clip that is under the connector. It holds the speaker cable onto the logic board/motherboard. Carefully remove the clip and place it and the screw in the egg carton.
- Remove the battery. The battery is glued to the phone housing. Use a lifter tool to carefully pry up the edge until it starts to break loose. Then use the plastic tab to pull the battery up. You may need to continue prying but it will come up. When you have the battery loose, just remove it and put it aside.
- Remove the 5 screws holding the black shield at the top of the phone. There are three different sizes of screws. The one on the top edge is longer than the others. The one on the left edge is larger in diameter. Store them so that you will be able to replace them correctly.
- Remove the black shield. Be careful at this (and every) step that you do not disturb other components when removing something. Place the shield with the 5 screws.
- Remove 2 screws holding the connector cover on the left side (middle) of the phone. Pop the connector off (down – the ribbon cable comes in from the bottom). Call this the “logic board connector.”
- Remove the vibrator motor located in the upper right corner of the phone. There are 2 screws holding the motor. Notice that the one on top is longer than the other. When the screws are removed, the vibrator will pop up and you can just lift it out and store it.
- Pop up the 5 connectors across the top (where the shield was removed). It is safest to remove the one on the left first and then continue to the right. The two on the leftmost side put up (the ribbon cable comes from the top) while the other three pop down (the cable come from below).
- Remove the camera. The camera connector is immediately below the camera. Pop it up and the camera will be released and you can store it.
- Pull the logic board connector out and carefully separate the ribbon cable from the housing. Continue to pull the cable back until it turns toward the outside. Then pull it up a little more to reveal the screw under that portion of the cable.
- Remove the two screws holding the speaker assembly. One is the screw revealed in the previous step. The other is on the opposite side of the speaker. Notice that the screw under the cable is smaller than the other.
- Disconnect the speaker cable. This is a small coaxial connector located near the screw under the logic cable. Use a flat-tip screw driver to pop it off. The video shows removing the speaker assembly at this time but it is better to wait until the logic board has been removed since a little tab of the logic board sits on top of a part of the speaker assy.
- Remove the logic board (motherboard). There are 2 screws left holding it. One is a strange “x” screw just under the top edge, near the two metal tabs descending from outside (antenna) strip. Use a flat head screw driver to remove it. The other screw is under the white “dot” on the left side. (The “dot” is the moisture sensor that turns pink or red when it has gotten wet.) Remove the paper dot and the screw underneath. When both screws have been removed, the logic board can be lifted out (carefully).
- Remove the speaker assembly.
- Loosen the 6 side screws (about 3/4 turn). On each side of the housing are three screws that are slightly larger than the others have been. Also, these screws have washers underneath. Most guides say to remove these six screws but that is not required and by leaving them in place, reassembly will be much easier.
- Remove the 4 screws in the corners of the phone.
- Separate the LCD/glass assembly from the phone frame. Use a case opener, guitar pick, credit card, and/or a razor blade or other tool to help separate the glass.
- Carefully pull the two ribbon cables (on the LCD) through the hole in the phone and finish separating the glass from the frame.
- Carefully remove any shards of glass that may be stuck to the frame section. Also, remove the double-stick adhesive at the top and bottom of the housing.
- Clean up all of the glass, adhesive, and other debris from the phone. But, be very careful NOT to disturb the home button. There is a very small ribbon cable attaching the home button to the frame. It can easily be broken at this point so watch it.
- If you are NOT going to replace the home button, just skip to the “Procedure” below.
Replace Home Button:
- If you want (or need) to replace the home button, then on the inside of the housing, see where the cable is attached via a tiny connector. Use a small flat head screw driver (on the side opposite the cable) to lift the clamp holding the connector down.
- After the clamp is popped up, the home button cable can be removed and pulled through to the other side.
- Separate the button (with the “square” on the front) from the metal switch and ribbon cable. You will reuse the button so store it in the egg carton.
Here is a video of the button replacement:
- Check that nothing has unintentionally been disconnected or broken. At this point, you have the phone almost completely disassembled. Before you proceed, Be certain that, when you put the phone back together, you will not need to repeat his process to fix a simple “oversight.”
- If you are replacing the home button, attach the button to the new switch and ribbon cable. Be sure to line up the “square” so that it will be horizontal when attached to the phone.
- Apply the double-sided adhesive tape to the top & bottom of the phone. This is a very tricky procedure. Remove the openings from the bottom sheet before you pull the rest of the adhesive tape (with the top protective cover sheet) from the bottom sheet. Then start attaching the tape at the outside edge.
- Be very careful when you reattach the glass/LCD assembly to the housing. The two ribbon cables must be fed through the small opening before you press the glass to the housing. The cables (on the inside of the phone) should be almost exactly the same length. If they are NOT, then you must carefully pull the shorter one before allowing the adhesive to stick the glass to the housing. When it is correct, the cables will reach the appropriate connector and the glass will fit right up to the housing (no gap).
- Reverse all the steps in the “Process” above
Here is a video of the “put together” phase:
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