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

Galaxy S23 series has a secret feature for gamers

Might not be widely available

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Mobile gaming has a natural setback: battery life. Though mobile games easily entice users to spend hours and hours playing, a smartphone’s battery can just as easily cut a long gaming session short. One way to get past this limitation is to play while charging. However, another unintended drawback is the additional heat from charging the battery. Giving gamers a convenient reprieve, the Galaxy S23 has a secret feature to do away with battery heat.

First spotted by NL Tech (via 9to5Google), the new Galaxy S23 series can reportedly redirect power from the charger to bypass the battery entirely. Instead, the power will fuel the power directly. Though the feature (called “Pause USB Power Delivery” and found through the Game Booster menu) won’t necessarily improve performance for gaming, it will stop the battery from heating up, ensuring comfort for long sessions while in bed. Since the phone stops using power to charge the battery, the charger will use up less electricity.

Naturally, using the feature will halt charging entirely, so if you desperately need juice, it won’t do anything. Additionally, the feature will not turn on if your smartphone’s battery is below 20 percent.

Of note, Samsung has not officially announced such a feature. It is reportedly unavailable in some regions including the United States. It might be in its early stages, on a staggered rollout, or a regional exclusive. Still, it’s a useful feature for gamers who want more comfort for their gaming sessions.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy S23, S23+ and S23 Ultra Hands-On

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Accessories

OnePlus 11 series launches internationally

With OnePlus Pad and OnePlus Buds Pro 2

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Last month, OnePlus unveiled the OnePlus 11 series in China. A China-exclusive launch usually means a global launch is on the horizon. That’s just what OnePlus did today in New York. While the surprise was already spoiled last month, the brand still had a good share of surprises. Besides the international launch of the OnePlus 11 series, take a look at the new OnePlus Pad and the OnePlus Featuring Keyboard 81 Pro.

OnePlus 11 5G

As revealed last month, the OnePlus 11 5G is one of the first smartphones this year to tout the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset. The smartphone comes with up to 16GB LPDDR5X RAM and up to 512GB of internal storage. Plus, everything is made even better with a 6.7-inch LTPO 3.0 2K AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh rate.

Behind everything, the OnePlus 11 touts its black-hole-inspired camera bump. The setup features three shooters: a 50-megapixel main sensor, a 32-megapixel telephoto shooter, and a 48-megapixel ultrawide camera. It also has a 16-megapixel selfie shooter.

Underneath everything is a 5000mAh battery, capable of 100W wired charging.

OnePlus Buds Pro 2

Touting the MelodyBoost Dual Drivers co-created with Dynaudio, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 expands its capabilities in the lower frequencies to deliver richer bass. Plus, it also has an equalizer crafted by award-winning composer Hans Zimmer.

It is also the first TWS earbuds to adopt Android 13’s spatial audio, making the pair a perfect device for YouTube and Disney+. With TUV-certified Smart Adaptive Noise Cancelling, the wearable can filter up to 48dB of noise from your environment — which users can customize with a transparency mode.

Finally, OnePlus says that a single charge can last up to 39 hours with the case.

OnePlus Pad

One of the new surprises for this event, the OnePlus Pad is the brand’s first flagship foray into the tablet market. The new tablet sports the Dimensity 9000 chipset, featuring the Cortex-X2 core clocking in at 3.05GHz of performance. It also comes with 12GB of RAM.

Outside the tablet’s impressive hardware, the OnePlus Pad comes with an 11.61-inch screen with 144Hz refresh rate. With a large 9510mAh battery, the tablet can reportedly last up to 12 hours while watching videos and up to a month on standby.

OnePlus Featuring Keyboard 81

Finally, rounding out the brand’s efforts to expand its ecosystem, the OnePlus Featuring Keyboard 81 is the brand’s first mechanical keyboard. Built with Keychron technology, users can fully customize the keyboard according to their needs.

Price and availability

Both the OnePlus 11 5G and the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 will start accepting preorders today. The devices will start shipping out on February 16.

The OnePlus 11 5G comes in Titan Black and Eternal Green. The smartphone will start at US$ 699 for the 8GB/128GB variant and will go up to US$ 799 for the 16GB/256GB variant.

Meanwhile, the OnePlus Buds 2 Pro will come in Obsidian Black and Arbor Green. It will sell for US$ 179.

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News

Apple might be adding iPhone Ultra to lineup

Out by next year?

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After the Pro Max, which frontiers can Apple break open next? As the brand continues to explore the perfect iPhone lineup, a new challenger is slowly emerging as the next big thing for the flagship series. Following a new rumor, Apple is reportedly adding an additional tier after the Pro Max, the iPhone Ultra.

Real or rumored, this isn’t our first taste of an Ultra from Apple. Last year, the company expanded its Apple Watch lineup with an Apple Watch Ultra, a ruggedized version of its popular smartwatch. The new wearable packs in both impressive hardware and durable materials to meet the needs of the outdoors.

Soon after the new Apple Watch, a rumor emerged for this year’s iPhone 15 series. According to an early report, the brand is planning to replace the Pro Max with the iPhone Ultra. Doing so would hopefully improve the product differentiation between the Pro and the Pro Max.

However, in lieu of making its products more differentiated, Apple might crowd the lineup even further. Reported by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple is slotting the Ultra right above the Pro Max. Because of its position, the upcoming Ultra will carry a pricier starting point. Gurman says that the target release date is next year.

Besides the price and eventual release window, nothing else is known about the enigmatic addition. Ideally, the iPhone Ultra will have better hardware, compared to the rest of the lineup. However, like the Apple Watch Ultra, it could also mean a more durable iPhone for outdoors users.

SEE ALSO: Apple iPhone 15 Rumor Roundup: Goodbye Pro Max, hello Ultra

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