All the Gory Details

By , May 19, 2011 7:11 pm

I recently changed my black iPhone to white. I found a vendor on eBay that sold all the pieces as a kit for $75. That was a lot better then $199 at the Apple store with another 2 year contract! It was a bit of a commitment getting this done, but with the right tools and patience it can be done by a “regular” tinkerer like me. My process took about 1.5 hours in all, but I was going really slow and cataloging everything with pictures. Here’s the process in a few pics.

The paper with screw guides on a magnetic tray

All the parts can be seen above. I have already taken off the back as that’s super easy. Two screws on the bottom and you just slide it up and pop it off. The magnetic tray I got from an auto parts store. It was invaluable to keep the tiny screws from disappearing.

Power connector unfastened and battery is coming out

I heard that the battery was easy to take out…NOT! It was secured with adhesive and I had to pull very hard and firmly to get it to finally lift out. The picture above shows the battery being lifted out.

There are 5 connectors at the top near the camera.

You can see the little screws areĀ  in their respective circles. Also in this picture you can see the vibrating device just outside the top edge of the phone. It’s pretty cool how it’s contacts are connected. There’s basically a copper plated spring steel “prong” coming off of it. Screwing it in place forces the prongs to contact the power source. I thought it was a nice way to accomplish a connection with no wires.

Main board is being removed. Speaker box at right.

After all the connectors are out, you can lift the main board out of the phone. In this picture you can also see at the far right, the plastic box that holds the speaker and causes it to amplify the volume. The audio cable is a teeny tiny black wire with a unique circular connector. I was really fascinated by the various fasteners.

The touchscreen and LCD assembly is held by these 10 screws.

It’s hard to understand the scale of those top screws without actually trying to handle them. I had to break out tweezers for this step. Those 10 screws hold the touchscreen and LDC assembly to the phone frame.

Separating the screen was the most nerve wracking part.

I had to pry quite a bit to get the glass separated from the frame. You see, there’s an adhesive involved. I ended up using a swiss army knife blade to cut and pry until it came loose. I was afraid I was going to crack the glass, but I didn’t.

The button was a PAIN to replace as well

Again they don’t tell you that there’s adhesive securing the plastic button to a rather delicate mylar film with contact stripes on it! So once again I broke out the swiss army knife and ever so carefully pried the button away from the mylar, all the while hoping that I didn’t damage the contact stripes. It proceeded VERY carefully as there was no replacement for this. If this button didn’t work, I would be royally screwed. Luckily it all went well.

So that was the last major setback. After that, I just had to re-assembly everything in the right order. The tolerances are extremely tight in the phone. They did not waste an lot of space.

So a few tips, get really really small screwdrivers. I just needed a Philips and a flathead. The magnetic tray was key! It kept all those tiny screws from getting lost. It also kept them pretty close to the circles on the paper I was working on . The circles are roughly equal to the locations on the phone interior.

Finally, if something doesn’t fit just perfect, stop and check clearances and how the parts are seated. Everything fits in a very precise manner. If something looks bents or is not flush to the surface next to it, it’s probably not right. Take it apart and check it again.

OK, that’s my experience that I wanted to share with you. If you decide to go for it, good luck and take your time!

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