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Old Aug 26, 2012, 12:59 PM   #1
lazer155
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Cracked iphone 4 screen - How to Replace/Repair?

I recently cracked my iphone 4's screen. I took it to apple and the cost to replace it is the usual $200. I was thinking that I may be able to fix it myself for less money. My question is, where should I buy the digitizer from? Is the digitizer separate-able from the lcd or are they fused so that I would need to by an entire lcd+digitizer combo? Does anyone have any feedback on the repair process and its difficulty? I watch a couple videos and read the ifixit tutorial guide. The process seems pretty long but is it difficult? It seems easier than an ipod since the iphone has screws rather than only glue.
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Old Aug 26, 2012, 01:36 PM   #2
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For an iPhone 4 it's $149 the replacement fee.
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Old Aug 26, 2012, 01:47 PM   #3
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ifixit has good parts and all the instructions you need, but if your looking to get the screen for cheep, buy one from sw-box.com. and you need to buy the one with the lcd and glass together
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Old Aug 26, 2012, 01:56 PM   #4
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You can order the original OEM parts here from Mission:Repair for $80 or you can have them replace it for you for the same price (a limited time offer).

I have no connections or investments with them. Just good experiences. IMHO, you can't beat a front glass repair for $80. (Especially with a guaranteed lifetime repair/replacement service.)
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Old Aug 26, 2012, 02:03 PM   #5
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You can order the original OEM parts here from Mission:Repair for $80 or you can have them replace it for you for the same price (a limited time offer).

I have no connections or investments with them. Just good experiences. IMHO, you can't beat a front glass repair for $80. (Especially with a guaranteed lifetime repair/replacement service.)
And a lot of former Apple employees work there. They are a Kansas city company. I worked with several of their techs at the Leawood Apple Store.
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Old Aug 26, 2012, 02:13 PM   #6
lazer155
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$80 sounds like a great price especially if they are doing it all for you. Has anyone taken their iphone 4 apart to do it themselves though? What was your experience if you did?
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Old Aug 26, 2012, 02:15 PM   #7
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$80 sounds like a great price especially if they are doing it all for you. Has anyone taken their iphone 4 apart to do it themselves though? What was your experience if you did?
Advantage of going to the apple store is that you will probably get a brand new iPhone. Well refurbished but in mint condition.
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Old Aug 26, 2012, 02:23 PM   #8
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$80 sounds like a great price especially if they are doing it all for you. Has anyone taken their iphone 4 apart to do it themselves though? What was your experience if you did?
I have, its a not hard, you just have to take your time
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Old Aug 26, 2012, 03:23 PM   #9
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$80 sounds like a great price especially if they are doing it all for you. Has anyone taken their iphone 4 apart to do it themselves though? What was your experience if you did?
As long as you are comfortable with taking things apart, don't rush, and triple check your work, you should be fine!
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Old Aug 26, 2012, 07:12 PM   #10
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As long as you are comfortable with taking things apart, don't rush, and triple check your work, you should be fine!
Yeah, I actually like taking things apart so that's why I was considering doing it myself. It seems like it cost about the same (the do it yourself will probably be a little more $20ish because of the tools you have to get) to have someone else do it or do it myself so there isn't much benefit either way other than the benefit of someone with prior experience.
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Old Aug 26, 2012, 08:17 PM   #11
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Yeah, I actually like taking things apart so that's why I was considering doing it myself. It seems like it cost about the same (the do it yourself will probably be a little more $20ish because of the tools you have to get) to have someone else do it or do it myself so there isn't much benefit either way other than the benefit of someone with prior experience.
Or a warranty/guarantee if something gets jacked up/broken/done incorrectly.
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Old Aug 28, 2012, 08:42 PM   #12
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it is not complex to replce your screen and it can save a lot of money for you.
Thanks, I think I will try it. The only problem is that it seems that the SW part website the other poster recommended doesn't sell the lcd+glass with the earpiece mesh. Can I use the mesh from my old lcd piece or is it not removable? The ifixit version includes the mesh with the lcd+glass but it is about $40 more than SW's.

Last edited by OllyW; Aug 30, 2012 at 12:27 PM. Reason: removed spam link from quote
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Old Aug 29, 2012, 05:57 PM   #13
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There's no such thing as OEM after market parts. There's only "almost identical to OEM but never truly identical to OEM". Apple doesn't sell parts. Not to anyone.
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Old Aug 29, 2012, 09:06 PM   #14
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There's no such thing as OEM after market parts. There's only "almost identical to OEM but never truly identical to OEM". Apple doesn't sell parts. Not to anyone.
Apple doesn't sell parts because Apple doesn't make parts. There is no such thing as an "Apple part", other than Apple originally designed the part. The only parts that go into iPhones are the parts made by various 3rd party manufacturers across the globe and assembled in China. It is possible for larger outfits to purchase parts from the same manufacturers that make parts that go into a new, sealed Apple iPhone, so it's not entirely accurate to say there are no "OEM" after market parts.

Having said that, there are no real "official OEM" Apple parts. There is nothing out there to indicate that a part is made at the same manufacturing plants that make the parts for Apple. No manufacturer can put any sort of seal or marker on a part to make it an "Apple OEM" part. There are quite a few parts out there sold for cheap online that range from inferior to worthless, so for consumers, it's usually best bet to go with a reputable place and also see what their warranty is, although DIY kits often don't have warranty.
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Old Aug 29, 2012, 09:20 PM   #15
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Thanks, I think I will try it. The only problem is that it seems that the SW part website the other poster recommended doesn't sell the lcd+glass with the earpiece mesh. Can I use the mesh from my old lcd piece or is it not removable? The ifixit version includes the mesh with the lcd+glass but it is about $40 more than SW's.
You can remove mesh from old one. PITA not to have that on the new screen though. You may need some adhesive to keep it there after peeling off the old one.

Couple of things to be careful with the iPhone 4. Be very careful when disconnecting ribbons off the logic board. If disconnecting with plastic spudger, don't take them off by leveraging against the logic board, there are quite a few little jumpers that can easily break off, and you can find yourself with the camera not working after a jumper is broken.

Also, when inserting cables from the new screen, you have to really make sure both digitizer and LCD cables get fully inserted and are equal length in. Lot's of DIY'ers get one of the cables crimped up.

Don't over-tight screws, especially 6 screws holding digitizer/LCD along the sides, as that can cause some distortion in the LCD.

Take your time and be gentle. Don't force anything. Don't forget to take the SIM card tray out and start yanking on the logic board to come out.
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Old Aug 29, 2012, 09:35 PM   #16
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You can remove mesh from old one. PITA not to have that on the new screen though. You may need some adhesive to keep it there after peeling off the old one.

Couple of things to be careful with the iPhone 4. Be very careful when disconnecting ribbons off the logic board. If disconnecting with plastic spudger, don't take them off by leveraging against the logic board, there are quite a few little jumpers that can easily break off, and you can find yourself with the camera not working after a jumper is broken.

Also, when inserting cables from the new screen, you have to really make sure both digitizer and LCD cables get fully inserted and are equal length in. Lot's of DIY'ers get one of the cables crimped up.

Don't over-tight screws, especially 6 screws holding digitizer/LCD along the sides, as that can cause some distortion in the LCD.

Take your time and be gentle. Don't force anything. Don't forget to take the SIM card tray out and start yanking on the logic board to come out.
I forgot to say that it is a 4s but I assume the process is about the same. How do you suggest I remove the cables? I am getting the tools recommended by ifixit so I will have that plastic spudger. Should I use tweezers to remove the cables rather than the spudger? What happens if a cable gets crimped? Do the wires inside break?

I am also getting the metal spudger set just incase I need it. I'll be ordering all the parts this friday and will report back here if I have any trouble during the installation process.
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Old Aug 29, 2012, 10:00 PM   #17
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I forgot to say that it is a 4s but I assume the process is about the same. How do you suggest I remove the cables? I am getting the tools recommended by ifixit so I will have that plastic spudger. Should I use tweezers to remove the cables rather than the spudger? What happens if a cable gets crimped? Do the wires inside break?

I am also getting the metal spudger set just incase I need it. I'll be ordering all the parts this friday and will report back here if I have any trouble during the installation process.
4s is very similar, just a couple more little shields. Be a bit more gentle on one of the early steps removing the battery connector. They seem not to be soldered on as well as the 4 and if pulled to hard, can yank it off the logic board and you're screwed. Not to worry, just be gentle, don't do a "hard flick" motion, but a gentle lift. Always kind of use your thumb or other hand as kind of a "door stop" to your motion so you can't go too far with a movement, if you know what I mean. When you're doing an action, you don't want a scenario where it suddenly "gives" and your momentum causes a big movement and something tears. (Causing another big movement)

Taking cables off the logic board, you can use spudger, just be careful to just get under the cable, don't use the logic board as leverage. If you have a good thumbnail, you can use that as well which is sometimes easier to be careful.

If the cable gets crimped, it just won't be long enough to plug into the board, but if you screw on the LCD / Digitizer with it crimped, you can easily damage the cable.

There are one or two little plastic pieces that might come off that need to go back on. The main one that happens is a little protective piece of plastic that sits on the logic board at the top and protects the LCD/Digitizer cable from rubbing against the logic board. In the photo below, its hard to see, but it's sitting right at the edge of the logic board, right on top of the white barcode. Little piece protects LCD and digitizer cable as it wraps around and connects to logic board. Falls out a lot as your taking out.



The 6 screws along the sides, don't take them completely out. Just do 3 turns (Not complete circles, but 3 regular turns of your wrist). A lot easier to do than trying to re-insert with tiny little washers.
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Old Aug 30, 2012, 12:26 AM   #18
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4s is very similar, just a couple more little shields. Be a bit more gentle on one of the early steps removing the battery connector. They seem not to be soldered on as well as the 4 and if pulled to hard, can yank it off the logic board and you're screwed. Not to worry, just be gentle, don't do a "hard flick" motion, but a gentle lift. Always kind of use your thumb or other hand as kind of a "door stop" to your motion so you can't go too far with a movement, if you know what I mean. When you're doing an action, you don't want a scenario where it suddenly "gives" and your momentum causes a big movement and something tears. (Causing another big movement)

Taking cables off the logic board, you can use spudger, just be careful to just get under the cable, don't use the logic board as leverage. If you have a good thumbnail, you can use that as well which is sometimes easier to be careful.

If the cable gets crimped, it just won't be long enough to plug into the board, but if you screw on the LCD / Digitizer with it crimped, you can easily damage the cable.

There are one or two little plastic pieces that might come off that need to go back on. The main one that happens is a little protective piece of plastic that sits on the logic board at the top and protects the LCD/Digitizer cable from rubbing against the logic board. In the photo below, its hard to see, but it's sitting right at the edge of the logic board, right on top of the white barcode. Little piece protects LCD and digitizer cable as it wraps around and connects to logic board. Falls out a lot as your taking out.

Image

The 6 screws along the sides, don't take them completely out. Just do 3 turns (Not complete circles, but 3 regular turns of your wrist). A lot easier to do than trying to re-insert with tiny little washers.
By crimped do you mean bent? If it is bent can't you just bend the cable back and then it will fit to the place it needs to on the logic board?

With the spudger, you suggest not "prying" them off using the logic board as leverage, correct? Just place it under the cable and pull up so that the logic board is not leveraged on?
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Old Aug 30, 2012, 12:48 AM   #19
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By crimped do you mean bent? If it is bent can't you just bend the cable back and then it will fit to the place it needs to on the logic board?

With the spudger, you suggest not "prying" them off using the logic board as leverage, correct? Just place it under the cable and pull up so that the logic board is not leveraged on?
By crimped I mean, both the LCD and digitizer cable have to be fed through a small opening from the "back" of the phone's mid-frame to the front and you have to press the LCD/Digitizer to the phone. If you have not carefully fed both cables through the opening so that they are equal length, when you press the LCD/Digitizer to the phone, one cable can get crimped and possibly damaged when pressing. You want the LCD/Digitizer cables to look like they are in the photo below, both looking like the same length:



If you press the LCD/Digitizer to the phone and one is shorter, it's probably not all the way through.

You got it with the spudger and the cables. Just don't press the spudger against the logic board. There are tiny circuits and jumpers that can break fairly easily. Just lift the cables up without pressing on the logic board.
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Old Aug 30, 2012, 09:17 PM   #20
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By crimped I mean, both the LCD and digitizer cable have to be fed through a small opening from the "back" of the phone's mid-frame to the front and you have to press the LCD/Digitizer to the phone. If you have not carefully fed both cables through the opening so that they are equal length, when you press the LCD/Digitizer to the phone, one cable can get crimped and possibly damaged when pressing. You want the LCD/Digitizer cables to look like they are in the photo below, both looking like the same length:

Image

If you press the LCD/Digitizer to the phone and one is shorter, it's probably not all the way through.

You got it with the spudger and the cables. Just don't press the spudger against the logic board. There are tiny circuits and jumpers that can break fairly easily. Just lift the cables up without pressing on the logic board.
Okay I'll be sure to check the cable lengths to avoid crimping issues. Where are you getting those pictures from? They don't look like ifixit ones and I couldn't find them on your site. I'm wondering where you got them from because they seem like they would be helpful once I disassemble and reassemble the iphone. Is there a particular site that has them?
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Old Aug 30, 2012, 09:25 PM   #21
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Go to 3rd party repair shop that is local. Search Yelp or something for "iphone screen repair" or something around those words in your local area. And pick the best reviewed one.

There are tons here in San Diego, CA. They always have someone stand on the street with a wizard costume, with a wand and all trying to get the word out for their shop.
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Old Aug 30, 2012, 11:47 PM   #22
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Apple doesn't sell parts because Apple doesn't make parts. There is no such thing as an "Apple part", other than Apple originally designed the part. The only parts that go into iPhones are the parts made by various 3rd party manufacturers across the globe and assembled in China. It is possible for larger outfits to purchase parts from the same manufacturers that make parts that go into a new, sealed Apple iPhone, so it's not entirely accurate to say there are no "OEM" after market parts.

Having said that, there are no real "official OEM" Apple parts. There is nothing out there to indicate that a part is made at the same manufacturing plants that make the parts for Apple. No manufacturer can put any sort of seal or marker on a part to make it an "Apple OEM" part. There are quite a few parts out there sold for cheap online that range from inferior to worthless, so for consumers, it's usually best bet to go with a reputable place and also see what their warranty is, although DIY kits often don't have warranty.
I have to add that iFixit takes apart iPhones and sells the parts. That makes the parts very OEM, great idea IMO.
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Old Aug 31, 2012, 09:39 AM   #23
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Okay I'll be sure to check the cable lengths to avoid crimping issues. Where are you getting those pictures from? They don't look like ifixit ones and I couldn't find them on your site. I'm wondering where you got them from because they seem like they would be helpful once I disassemble and reassemble the iphone. Is there a particular site that has them?
They are from iFixit.
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Old Aug 31, 2012, 09:52 AM   #24
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I have to add that iFixit takes apart iPhones and sells the parts. That makes the parts very OEM, great idea IMO.
I find that extremely hard to believe. For one, the amount of parts that iFixit sells, it's extremely unlikely that they are purchasing that many new iPhones to meet their supply demand. Apple doesn't sell that many iPhones off the street to any one specific customer, and I doubt they'd sell in quantity to iFixit. Second, it'd be extremely time consuming to harvest parts out of an iPhone bought for $650 to part out the individual parts, considering the volume iFixit does, let alone not that profitable. Thirdly, they'd be left with a ton a logic boards, of which they do not sell.

Not saying for certain that this doesn't happen, just that I find it very hard to believe it does. I'd be interested to see some sort of reference or url that this is happening.
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