cracked iPhone 4 screen replacement

This morning’s wsj 6/21/17 first page article says “Bust Your Phone Again?  These Teens Are Here To Help”.  A 16 year old Nantucket resident instead of surfing, made close to $24k last summer repairing smart phones and is busy again this summer.  His charge to repair a cracked iPhone 7 Plus is $189.99.  

M. dropped her iPhone 4 last week and the screen is hard to read – see pic above.  She wants to wait for the new iPhone due later this year.  So I suggested I would try repair it.  On the internet retail giant’s website we ordered a kit comprising new screen and repair tool kit for approximately $17 plus tax.  The iPhone 4 is an old phone so replacement parts are reasonably priced.  Our phone is a Verizon phone which is different from AT&T, so it was important to order the right screen and also to follow YouTube instructions for the Verizon/Sprint phone not the AT&T. 

The kit arrived and following the excellent tutorial I began dismantling the phone.  There are lots of tiny screws and to keep track I followed a suggestion to sketch an outline of the phone and tape the screws and parts to the location where they belonged.

the easy part – removing the back cover. you can see the 2 torx screws taped below the back cover

I quickly encountered a problem – the Phillips screwdriver provided with the kit was not up to the task.  So I stalled for a day and visited a computer store to inspect their screwdrivers.  The size I needed was a Phillips PH000 and there were lots to choose from.  I settled for a kit made in Taiwan made of chrome-molybdenum, described as professional, with an ISO certification.  Perhaps all these plugs would help.  And they did – no more problems with screws.  And then I stalled again until I read this morning’s wsj article and, fired up, I resumed.

To get to the screen a whole lot of parts have to be disassembled.  Not for those faint of heart, or with unsteady hands or blurring close up vision or impatient to get the job done.  I could tick some of these boxes.

the guts have been removed and down to releasing the screen from the frame

A hair dryer was conscripted to soften adhesive and then the old cracked screen was off and the new screen installed.  On the re-assembly road back I was too confident and went too quickly and missed a few steps and had to backtrack, which was frustrating.  But eventually all the components were in place and the critical moment arrived – would it power on and make and receive a call, and it did.

the new screen has a white border, the old a black. but M. is not complaining and is almost adulatory

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