Smartphones

How to: Do-it-Yourself iPhone repair

Try at your own risk

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If you’re looking for a step-by-step tutorial on how to repair your iPhone by yourself, this isn’t iFixit nor JerryRigEverything. But if you came here out of curiosity (and for some tips), I’m here to share my first ever iPhone repair experience.

I’ve been dealing with tech mishaps over the years. From faulty PCs and laptops, all the way to a completely dead iPhone 3Gs and Samsung Galaxy Note5, it’s not something new to me. In fact, it was frustrating to deal with it as I’ve experienced having no computer when I was in high school — and even being phoneless for three months back in college.

If you’re too clumsy or you can’t see small parts clearly, your next best option is to:

  • Bring it to a repair shop
  • Find a friend (like me) who knows how to replace phone parts
  • Find a substitute phone instead

Disclaimer: Try at your own risk. Don’t do it if your device is still under warranty.

Check your phone’s defects

You can’t fix something if you don’t know what’s wrong with it. If you already know your phone’s situation, it’s easier to determine what parts you need to buy for the Do-it-yourself iPhone repair you’re planning to do.

In my case, I already knew that my iPhone’s battery is not in its ideal shape. Apple iOS’ Battery Health feature is actually helpful as it states whether your battery is still functional or needs to be replaced. Other than that, my phone’s display also suffered from “ghost touches” that I needed to replace it too right away.

DIY repair is the cheapest option

Phone repairs really aren’t cheap. If you take your iPhone to an Authorized Service Center, you’re not just paying for those parts that need to be replaced, you’re also paying a hefty amount of diagnostics fee and even the repairman’s labor.

As I checked on Apple’s website, an out-of-warranty screen repair for the iPhone 6 Plus will cost me a whopping US$ 149 (which is around PhP 7,360 when converted). Other than that, Apple’s US$ 29 battery replacement is long overdue. Now, it’s back to its original replacement cost of US$ 79 (around PhP 3,900).

I know what you’re thinking. Third-party repair shops have cheaper services. Still, you’re gonna pay for labor and diagnostics fees. It will also consume much of your time — and just the thought of going out amid the pandemic isn’t safe at all.

Be knowledgeable enough

 

Image by GadgetMatch

DIY repair isn’t for everyone. As for myself, I’m confident enough to proceed as I’ve had numerous experiences repairing most laptops and CPUs. I was able to upgrade the RAM (memory) capacity as well as replacing old HDDs (hard disk drives) to a faster SSD (solid state drive).

Other than that, one should know how tools work. One mistake and you might damage the whole thing. Usual problems start when you don’t know what proper screw head to use — either between the common Phillips and flathead screw heads to a more complex Tri-wing and Pentalobe screws.

Not being vigilant and careful results to stripped screws, making future repairs harder. Other problems arise when you damage flex cables, IC chips, and other phone parts that are all vital in making the phone function — just like organs in the human body.

Finalize your decision

If you’re still holding onto your phone because you’re used to your phone’s ecosystem or you still need a lot of files with you and you don’t want to switch to a slower budget phone, this might be your final call.

But if you don’t actually care switching to a new phone without thinking of the hassle of moving files and several information, it’s not a bad decision. Just pick something that’s practical for you.

Choose the right parts and buy the exact tools needed

Now, it’s time to search for replacement parts. With the ongoing pandemic, it’s advisable to buy from reliable shopping apps. In the Philippines, you can find options on Shopee or Lazada. But if you still want to explore more, AliExpress offers parts for consumers and not just for wholesalers. The only downside is the pricey shipping fee compared to local operators.

As this is an old iPhone, buying third-party parts wasn’t a big deal as long as they’re functional. I was able to buy a replacement battery for just PhP 460 (US$ 9).

For the display replacement, I was able to purchase one for PhP 1086 (US$ 22). It even came with the right set of tools, from pliers, plastic spudger, suction cup, sim ejector tool, and a screwdriver with 4 detachable magnetic screw options that are commonly used for iPhone repairs.

Note: Most iPhones are assembled in China that’s why parts being sold online are sourced from them. If it looks sketchy to you, try checking customers’ feedback. It has always been my habit whenever I shop online. Luckily, I wasn’t scammed and received the items I ordered without damage.

Let’s get the work done

After receiving the replacement parts, I immediately went on with the repair. It’s common knowledge but just in case you forgot, you need to turn off your phone before repairing to avoid technical failures.

I started by plugging my hot blower into the socket and directly pointed it at my phone so it’s easier for me to separate the display from the aluminum unibody. Then, I started attaching the pentalobe attachment to the screwdriver and removed those two screws found between the Lightning (charging) port.

And with the help of the included suction cup, plastic spudger, and a little bit of my hand’s force, I was able to pry the phone’s display gently.

Not all iPhones are created equal

As my iPhone doesn’t have an IP rating, it doesn’t come with a waterproof gasket on its edges. For the iPhone 7 series and newer, prying the display will be more challenging because of the added adhesive for waterproofing.

Weird Flex but OK

At last! I was able to lift my phone’s display. But don’t get too excited. You should still be careful with those flex cables that are still connected to the phone’s logic board. If you forcefully pull it hard, the worst thing that could happen is you ripping the flex cables — which you don’t want to do with your original display especially if you did not buy a replacement.

Usually, you only need to use a Phillips screwdriver to unscrew certain parts in the phone. But if you’re gonna disassemble the whole phone, you also need to use flathead and tri-wing screwdrivers to remove everything.

As for this part, I only needed the Phillips head to remove the metal plate that protects the display’s flex cables. Removing it will help me unsnap those cables.

Label your screws accordingly

As mentioned earlier, you might encounter screws that are completely different from one another. This isn’t totally required but it’s a helpful way to distinguish which screw parts go to which hole since not all screws have the same length and type.

You can do this by placing a piece of tape with numbers/labels on top of your working space and place them in an order you will remember. Things are always better when they’re labeled. 😉

Don’t use metal pliers when unsnapping cables

Be cautious or you might snap

You can use pliers to remove metal parts that aren’t electrically-charged. Still, you should be cautious as you can’t use metal pliers when unsnapping cables inside or it might damage the IC chips found on the logic board and will badly affect the phone. Doing so might not only damage your phone, but it can also make you snap hard.

Best way is to use a plastic spudger to prevent metal contacts from sparking. As JerryRigEverything always says in his videos, unsnapping them is as easy as removing LEGO bricks stacked on top of one another.

Battery removal is tedious but satisfying

Usually, your iPhone’s battery has plenty of adhesive beneath it in order for it to stick even when you’re on the move. But before prying it up, you should remove the metal plate housing first on the lower right side. After doing so, unsnap the cables just like how you did with the display’s flex cables.

If you can’t find those black pull tabs that will easily help you remove the battery adhesive, you should grab your spudger and slowly lift the battery until you see the white adhesive and pull it as hard as you can. Once all the adhesive is pulled out, it’s safe to say you succeeded with the battery removal.

Start replacing those parts

Unlike replacing your ex, replacing your phone’s parts is just a backward process. After getting the replacement parts ready, you should store the old parts in a safe place since they are still products that are electrically-charged and include chemicals that might pose a risk of fire hazard when not handled and stored in a closed container.

Remember to dispose technological devices and parts properly. Keep it out of reach children and pets as well.

Putting back what’s left

Unlike putting your trust back in another person, putting all the cables, plates, and screws back in place is easier especially when you know how and where to place them — that’s why labeling them is more important than you thought.

Some iPhone parts are designed for a single device only

Display, backplate, battery, cameras, microphones, speakers, and vibration motor can all be replaced. But for parts that require biometrics, there’s a 1:1 equivalent for every iPhone. If you’re proceeding with the display replacement of your old iPhone, you need to remember that it doesn’t come with a TouchID replacement. That iPhone part is made for a single device only. You need to transfer that part from your original display to the replacement.

If you break your TouchID (or even FaceID in newer iPhones), you can’t have replacement parts for them. Breaking these precious parts will result into complete biometrics malfunction.

Fun fact: The best way to know whether an iPhone was repaired is by checking the True Tone Display setting. If it doesn’t show that setting, your iPhone’s display is most likely replaced. Even original iPhone display replacements are not exceptions to Apple’s repair mishap.

It wasn’t a perfect repair

When you’re not careful, you can immediately break something — whether it’s someone’s heart or just the flex cables in your display.

I overdid the unsnapping of the LCD backplate’s flex cable that connects the TouchID. Luckily, the fingerprint sensor is still in its original shape that I only needed to order a new LCD backplate for PhP 261 (US$ 5). It came two weeks after because it was directly sourced from China.

But it was still a successful repair

After waiting for weeks to get my LCD backplate replacement, I successfully repaired my old iPhone 6 Plus — all with working buttons, a better touch input, and of course, the TouchID works as well. With the faulty battery, it usually lasted for around two to three hours but now, it lasts for at least a day of moderate to heavy use. Standby time lasts a whole week.

The original cost of repair was around US$ 228 (or more than PhP 10,000) — where you can find and buy a brand new budget smartphone instead. Thinking about the money I saved actually motivated me to push this through. Combining the parts I paid for (including their shipping fees), that’s a total of just PhP 1807 (US$ 36) just in case you forgot to do the math.

BONUS: I also repaired my friend’s iPhone X

After sharing my story on how I successfully repaired my old iPhone 6 Plus to my friends, I was dared to repair an iPhone X. I took it as another iPhone repair challenge.

At first, I thought the logic board was dead. Not until I tried charging it wirelessly. Eventually, it powered on — which made me think that only the charging port was defective as it was submerged in water.

The repair process is completely different — from the placement of display flex cables, all the way to the complete removal of the battery, logic board, Taptic Engine, and the cameras as the charging port hides beneath those parts. The best thing is that, the Lightning port replacement plus waterproofing and battery adhesive only cost around PhP 916 (around US$ 19). It will cost more if it was brought to a service center considering they will run several diagnostic tests that add up to its total repair cost.

Making the long story short, it was another successful iPhone repair! With little background and experience to phone repairs, I was astounded that I can replace phone parts even without needing to go out and head to a service center.

News

Redmi 9T: Price and availability in the Philippines

Power on a budget

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Xiaomi is officially launching the Redmi 9T in the Philippines. This entry level smartphone that’s a POCO M3 dead-ringer promises to power you unlike any other in its price segment.

The display is 6.53 inches with a FHD+ resolution and Gorilla Glass 3. Xiaomi even put a thought on the user’s viewing experience, with the phone having a TÜV Rheinland Low Blue Light certification. It also has a Widevine L1 certification for streaming Netflix episodes and movies in full HD and above.

On the performance front, Redmi 9T packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 662. This chipset delivers capable performance without sipping too much energy thanks to its 11nm fabrication process. Backed by a large 6,000 mAh battery, users can last a day and a half without needing to charge.

But if users really need to charge, they can surely rely on the in-box 22.5W charger for quick top-ups. By default, the Redmi 9T comes with 18W fast charging support and reverse wired charging capabilities.

Xiaomi also touts the improved 48MP quad-camera setup on the Redmi 9T. The 48MP wide-angle primary camera is backed by an 8Mp ultra-wide-angle camera for better landscape and group shots. It also has a 2MP depth and 2Mp macro camera for better close-up shots and bokeh.

For videography, Xiaomi added a movie frame feature to give videos a more cinematic look and feel. The timelapse feature also improves on the Redmi 9T with support for custom speeds and duration. Combined with microSD expandable storage for up to 512GB, users shouldn’t run out of space even when taking lots of videos or downloading games.

Price and availability

Redmi 9T will be available in  4GB + 64GB atPhP 6,990. Meanwhile, the 6GB + 128GB version will be available at PhP 7,990.

Both of Redmi 9T’s versions will be on sale at the Xiaomi Philippines Flagship Store on on Lazada and Shopee on January 29, 2021. There will be a special offering of PhP500 off for the 4+64GB variant for 24 hours.

The new Redmi 9T will also be available with exclusive freebies at Authorized Mi Stores and resellers only during the official sale.

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Smartphones

Sony finally launched the Xperia PRO for videographers

Priced at US$ 2,499

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The world needs more videography phones. Though smartphone photography is already at an all-time high, we still need more devices dedicated to videographers. Most recently, only Apple and Samsung have truly pushed for such a phone, creating their own movies with only a phone. Now, after almost a year’s wait, Sony has finally launched the Xperia PRO.

Revealed around the time of last year’s canceled MWC 2020, the Xperia PRO uses the same camera combination as the Xperia 1 II: a triple 12-megapixel rear camera with ZEISS optics. On its own, the smartphone can capture videos at 4K resolution and at 30p.

However, you can also use the phone as an external screen for a HDMI-compatible camera. Connected to another device, the Xperia PRO is a handy tool for photographers and videographers, allowing users to adjust brightness, zoom in, and compose shots directly from the phone’s screen.

Additionally, it is compatible with 5G mmWave and Sub-6GHz technology. Besides creating videos on its own, the smartphone can also broadcast high-definition videos live.

Under the hood, the phone sports a Snapdragon 865 5G chipset, 12GB of RAM, and 512GB of expandable internal storage. While, as mentioned above, it was announced almost a year ago, the Xperia PRO is now available for purchase in the United States. It will retail for US$ 2,499.99 through Sony.com but will also come through major telcos in the country.

SEE ALSO: Sony Xperia Pro is the smartphone for professional videographers

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Smartphones

Xiaomi patents a slide-display phone

Slide up for a selfie

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Image source: Sarang Sheth/LetsGoDigital

Who’s up for another wacky smartphone idea? Because of the advent of foldable smartphones, every smartphone maker wants to try new form factors as experiments. Though the company already has a few tricks up its sleeve, Xiaomi is again experimenting with a new design, this time with a slide-display phone.

Spotted by LetsGoDigital, Xiaomi filed the patent for the smartphone design sometime in October 2020. The design itself is reminiscent of old slide phones of the past generation. Remember holding a brick phone and sliding it up with a finger to reveal the rear camera? Yeah, exactly like that.

Xiaomi’s slide-display phone is an edge-to-edge slab phone in its default state, albeit with one side flowing down into the rear panel. However, as indicated in the patent, the phone’s chassis extends around two centimeters from the top to reveal the front-facing camera. Unlike the old slide phones, you don’t need to use your finger. The extendable camera can be triggered using a tap command or even voice commands.

Naturally, since the patent is still, woefully, a patent, no one knows when the slide-display phone will finally make it into the real world. Over the years, Xiaomi has also patented other radical designs which have never made it past the patent stage.

SEE ALSO: Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro review: By two different Pro users

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