After having dropped my iPhone 4 while in its case and finding out the screen was cracked, I was determine to find a fix. Before when I had an iPod touch, 2nd generation, the screen was easily removed. I took out the pins from the front of the screen of the iPod; and in the iPhone 3 and 3GS's case the screen popped out after removing two screws. I assumed it would be as simple as that having done the procedure plenty of times for my friends broken gadgets.
After buying this expensive phone my self and having to pay for yearly internet usage, I figured, I would take great care of it and skip the care protection plan. I did take extensive care of it, I used a screen protector along with a case and never had any problems until a few days ago. I was sitting on a bench out side of school (bench was about 1 and a half feet from the ground) with my phone laying beside me I must have gone to grab it, but the phone slid off the bench and hit a mulch surface.
I assumed one little drop couldn't do harm to a helicopter glass grade panel but when I went to pick it up I saw the ungodly crack under the screen protector. I am trying to say that this was an unlikely hit to the phone. As soon as I got home, I looked up replacement parts for the phone and a quick tutorial. My recent fixes with previous Apple products gave me enough experience to say: BUY A FULLY ASSEMBLED REPLACEMENT PART. The vendors on eBay and sites like those are not out to help you, they are just looking for your money. You need to make sure you do the research before you buy the parts. So be smart when you buy the replacement; I proceeded to buy a fully assembled retina display and glass piece. THESE PIECES SHOULD NOT BE BOUGHT SEPARATELY. I STRESS THIS BECAUSE APPLE DOES THE LAMINATION OF THE TWO TOGETHER WHICH IS IMPOSSIBLE TO DO BY HAND. If you have ever done an Apple product repair such as iPod touches or iPhones, you would think that the LCD and the Glass are two separate pieces. Instead on the iPhone 4, Apple decided to use lamination of the two to reduce the glare. That feature was effective and took out the variable of dust particles getting in to the phone but makes the replacement of one twice the amount of money.
Step 1: Tools, Material, and Advice
I worked in my bathroom because it is the place in my house with the least dust.
1.iPhone (black or white) Not verizon!
2.Full Assembly LCD Digitizer Replacement for iPhone 4.
What you want to buy/recommendation (http://cgi.ebay.com/White-iPhone-4G-LCD-Touch-Screen-Assembly-Replacement-/190501198366?pt=Other_MP3_Player_Accessories&hash=item2c5ac19a1e)
SCAM: (http://cgi.ebay.com/iPhone-3GS-Digitizer-LCD-TOUCH-SCREEN-Glass-replacement-/220783622305?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3367bab8a1#ht_2682wt_932) (waste of money and time)
1. Philips head size 00 screw driver (try to use a magnetized one)
2. Larger flat head screw driver
7. Note Book
8. Soft surface to place Phone and replacement/ Lint free cloth.
Step 2: BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Important Notice: This step is an important notice which I am not responsible for any damage done to your device or any mishaps that may happen along the way. You are preforming this procedure at your own risk.
However, if you do happen to mess up then you can contact me with any questions. If you are going to proceed beyond this step, plan that you will have 5-6 hours of free time ahead of you and a full stomach. (It took me 7 and a half hours to complete mine but that was after looking for plenty of screws on the ground.) This operation does void the warranty but given the fact that AT&T does not provide insurance, I didn't really care.
This operation is not for the fain of heart, steady fingers are necessary!
Remember apple made this as difficult as possible to prevent people doing this, to proceed you have to take out almost every single component in the phone.
(Is that all the warning I need to include?)
Step 3: Turning off your Device
Hold the top button on your phone for about 5 seconds, then slide to turn off. If the damage is too extensive and your touch screen does not work simply hold the top and home buttons together for about 10 seconds.
Step 4: Preparing your Notebook
Simply trace around the phone on a piece of paper for a schematic on the screws later. This is the primary way I organized everything. I used two ways of holding the screws.
1. Cut a slit in the paper with an X-Acto and slipping in the screw exactly where the screw would be on the real phone.
2. Tap small pieces of tape to the location it would be on the phone
3. Llastly, put the screws on the frame where all of them will be easily differentiable so I just put them on a piece of duct tape for easy storage.
Step 5: Remove Sim Card Slot
With a simple paper clip, push in on the Sim Card slot hole and the holder should pop up. A bit of pressure is needed. Easy as pie!
Step 6: Removing Back Panel
1. Lay your phone with its back facing you.
2. Simply unscrew the small screws at the bottom of the phone with your Philips head screw driver.
3. Push the front cover upward, it should come loose.
4. Place the screws in an organized place such as the photo shown below.
Step 7: Removing the Battery
1. Remove a screw on the iPhone, (look at photo for reference).
2. Gently pry this up from the side opposite to the battery and make sure to keep the small black piece that comes out with it, organize these in your notebook below.
3. The battery takes a lot of force! be careful this pull the tab that says authorized service provider only. This should help you out but it still takes a bit of time to loosen it from its adhesive. Do not use a screw driver to take this out, it may short the battery, a simple guitar pick will do the trick.
Step 8: Removing Protection Plate 1
For this process you will need to base your actions on the images below.
1. Make sure to organize the screws and make small sketches of reference points, mine was the camera.
2. Remember that when taking out the plate after all of the screws are removed there are two hooks that you need to take into count when your are wiggling it out.
Step 9: Removing Protection Plate 2
For this step you will be in close contact with the mother board so be extremely careful:
1. Simply remove two screws which are indicated below and the plate should come off, no hooks.
2. Remember set these aside and draw where they were.
3. Here is the difficult part, under the shield there is a connector, simply pry it up from the top side of your phone. BE CAREFUL!
Step 10: Removing Vibrating Motor
These steps are as usual and easy ones:
1. Simply unscrew the screws below and set aside the entire motor.
2. Remember sketch this out and organize!
Step 11: Removing Connectors
These steps are possibly the more delicate moves:
1. Take a saftey pry tool/ a guitar pick and gently pry each ribbon cable connector up, use the photos to see which way to pry.
2. Remove the camera after this step no hooks or screws.
Step 12: Removing Speaker/Microphone Set
For this step you will have to go back to the small connector under the shield on step two. Gently peel away the long ribbon cable. It is vital that you do this carefully because this can easily rip. After it is peeled away and laying gingerly at its side remove the two screws indicated below. Then after removing each screw use a flat head screw driver or a safety pry tool to disconnect the speaker connector, this is shown on the 6th picture. Organize each part as you have been doing. you can now slide the black plastic component out.
Step 13: Removing the Mother Board
This step is directly handling the mother board of the iPhone so i can not stress this enough, be careful. first you want to proceed by removing two screws, one flat head and one Philips, the Philips screw is hidden under a water sensor that can be scraped off. The photos below will show you the difference. after you remove those screws and organized them in you sketch begin by freeing up the top of the mother board from the ribbon cables up top. then slowly take it off. proceed with caution.
Step 14: Removing More Screws
This is probably the most time consuming step in the entire process for this you will need to remove 10 screws, 6 larger ones with washers on the sides classified as A screws, and 4 smaller ones in the corners classified as B screws. Follow the photo below for thier exact positions. Organize as shown below on a piece of tape.
Step 15: Removing Adhesive from front Glass Panel
Take some time to slowly guide a guitar pick around the edges of the metal frame and the plastic boarder, it really does not matter if you put some force, even if your not getting any where with a pick use a small knife and make a small entry for your pick and glide it around a few times to take off the adhesive. Then here is your moment of glory! take off your front glass panel! make sure you thread the ribbon cables trough the frame before your take it completely off.
Step 16: Installing your new Screen
Before you install your screen.
1.Make sure you have taken off the clear adhesive on both ends of the phone. see photo for detail.
2.Make sure that clear camera adjustment is still on phone. see photo for detail
3.Make sure the speaker grill is set on your new display!. see photo for detail!
4.Make sure both ribbon cables are standing upright and are parallel to each other. see photo for detail.
Installing screen, i could not take a photo of this because i was putting it together two handed. Simply guide the new ribbon cables through the hole that you took the old display out of, you sort of have to play around till the cable and a small metal box fit snugly inside the enclosure. the 3rd photo should give you a good example of how the cable should fit in.
Step 17: Putting it all Back Together
Im not going to go into detail but just follow each step backwards. Enjoy your amazing scratch free crack less retina display phone:)
Tips: The mother board goes on top of the screw socket for the speaker.
When you finish make sure every thing works go through a check list.
Digitizer, pull your finger along each level of apps to see if it works,
Speakers, crank up the tunes,
Camera, take a few photos.