Introduction - The Unauthorized Guide to iPhone, iPad, and iPod Repair (2013)

The Unauthorized Guide to iPhone, iPad, and iPod Repair (2013)


Have you ever broken an electronic device? In particular, has your iPod, iPhone, or iPad ever taken a tumble, resulting in a cracked screen? Is your iDevice’s battery life not what it once was?

How do you ordinarily handle these situations when they occur? Please take comfort in the fact that you are not obligated to pay Apple’s sometimes exorbitant fees for out-of-warranty iDevice replacements. Instead, you can learn to perform your own repairs!

If you study this book and invest in the proper time, tools, and materials to attain enough practical experience then you can save yourself a lot of money (and even make quite a bit of extra money to boot) performing iDevice repairs for your family, friends, and even the general public.

Do you want to know more? Read on, friend!

What’s in This Book

To present all the various ways you can take full control of your iDevices, this book contains 19 chapters. Each chapter walks you through a different aspect of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) iDevice repair, from character traits of the ideal iDevice tech to where to get the best deals on iDevice hardware:

Image Chapter 1, “Why Do It Yourself? presents all the reasons why you might want to consider taking screwdriver in hand and performing DIY work on your iDevices.

Image Chapter 2, “The Tools of the Trade,” is all about understanding what is required of you, from character traits to specific hardware tools, to become an effective iDevice technician.

Image Chapter 3, “Protecting Your iDevice User Data and Settings,” is where you learn how to ensure that you don’t lose any of your precious documents or settings when you perform work on iDevice hardware.

Image Chapter 4, “iDevice Repair Best Practices,” connects you to the larger computer technician community and makes you fully aware of the tips and tricks professionals use to guarantee a safe work environment.

Image Chapter 5, “iPhone 3GS Disassembly and Reassembly,” is a great place to begin your iDevice disassembly practice because 3GS hardware is inexpensive and the phones are relatively easy to take apart.

Image Chapter 6, “iPhone 4S Disassembly and Reassembly,” shows you how easy and (dare I say it) enjoyable it is to work on iPhones; they represent the best Apple iDevices to repair, bar none.

Image Chapter 7, “iPhone 5 Disassembly and Reassembly,” continues the iPhone DIY love; you’ll be pleased to note that with respect to the iPhone, Apple actually made this model of the device easier for us repair techs to disassemble and perform parts replacements.

Image Chapter 8, “iPad 2nd Generation Disassembly and Reassembly,” presents a full walkthrough on the iPad 2. You’ll be unpleasantly surprised to learn how difficult it is to gain entry to these beasts.

Image Chapter 9, “iPad 3rd and 4th Generation Disassembly and Reassembly,” doesn’t have a lot more good news in the screen removal department (iPads are notorious for DIYers in this regard). However, after you have the display off, performing repairs and parts replacements on iPads is largely a breeze.

Image Chapter 10, “iPad mini Disassembly and Reassembly,” presents how to disassemble and reassemble Apple’s smallest iPad model. The good news is that the iPad interior is intelligently designed. The bad news is that the display is difficult to remove and parts are permanently soldered to the logic board.

Image Chapter 11, “iPod touch 4th Generation Disassembly and Reassembly,” provides proof that Apple doesn’t want anybody (including its Apple Store employees) opening any iPod touch device.

Image Chapter 12, “iPod nano 5th and 7th Generation Disassembly and Reassembly,” takes on the nearly insurmountable task of disassembling an iPod nano without doing more damage in the process. Again, Apple considers all iPods to be disposable devices; I do my best to teach you how to prove Apple wrong.

Image Chapter 13, “Sourcing iDevice Replacement Parts,” submits strategies for separating the wheat from the chaff, as it were, in terms of finding iDevice replacement parts that actually work. You would be surprised (or not) at the quality variance that exists in the marketplace.

Image Chapter 14, “Addressing Water Damage,” gives practical tips and tricks for resurrecting an iDevice that has taken a bath against your will. The information in this chapter can save you quite a bit of money at the Apple Store!

Image Chapter 15, “Replacing the Front Display and/or Rear Case,” shows you how to perform what is by far the most common iDevice repair—replacing the display assembly and/or the rear case.

Image Chapter 16, “Replacing the Battery,” demonstrates that batteries do indeed have a limited lifetime and it is relatively straightforward, depending upon the model, to replace the battery in your iDevice.

Image Chapter 17, “Replacing the Logic Board and/or Dock Connector,” teaches you about the logic board, which constitutes the “brains” of any iDevice, and gives you techniques for performing this most fundamental of parts swap-outs.

Image Chapter 18, “Recovering Data from Your Broken iDevice,” presents clear instructions for retrieving otherwise lost data from crashed, crushed, or otherwise hopelessly damaged iDevices.

Image Chapter 19, “Before You Sell, Donate, or Recycle Your iDevice,” outlines lots of ways to protect your privacy when you decide to pass your iDevice along to another person.

That’s a lot of stuff! Then again, there’s a lot you can do with your iDevices. It is my goal as your instructor to make you fully aware of what’s possible with your new, secondhand, or seemingly “broken” iPods, iPhones, and iPads.

Who Can Use This Book

You don’t have to be a technical expert to use this book; many of the procedures discussed here require nothing more than basic computer skills. It helps if you know your way around electronics or computer hardware, and you’ll find out soon enough that this book contains some procedures that require those skills to greater or lesser degrees. But in general, just about anybody can perform most of the hardware and software exercises presented.

As you must know, iDevices are made by Apple. However, you can use iTunes and many other iDevice management tools either on OS X (Mac) or Windows. This book is written for both platforms. In most cases, the procedure is the same; I point out where operating system-specific differences exist.

How to Use This Book

I think you will find this book easy to use and helpful. To that end, I have included some items that help organize and call attention to specific pieces of information.

As you’ve probably already noticed, this book contains Notes, Tips, and Cautions—all of which are explained here:


Notes point out ancillary bits of information that are helpful, but not crucial.


Tips point out a useful bit of information to help you solve a problem.


Cautions alert you to potential disasters and pitfalls. Don’t ignore these!

I’ve offered many solutions to your iDevice repair problems, but some of these solutions involve software, websites, and services owned by third parties outside my direct control. I’ve included web addresses (URLs) for those sites when appropriate. To keep long and cryptic URLs under control, I used the URL shortening service for your convenience. I’ve tried to ensure that the web addresses in this book are accurate, but given how quickly the Web changes, you might find an address or two that no longer works. I am sorry about that, but with a little Google searching, you can probably find the resource at its new location.

Warning and Disclaimer

While Que, iFixit, and I have made every effort to ensure that the directions provided in this book are complete and accurate, any attempt on the reader’s part to perform an iDevice do-it-yourself upgrade or repair is solely at the reader’s risk. Even when our instructions are carefully followed, the slightest misstep in disassembly or reassembly could result in further damage or destruction of the iDevice. Also, any attempt to repair or upgrade your iDevice immediately voids any warranty you have through Apple. You’ve been warned!

There’s More Online...

When you need a break from reading, feel free to go online and check out my personal website at Here you’ll find more information about this book as well as other work I do. And if you have any questions or comments, feel free to email me directly I do my utmost to answer every email message I receive from my readers and students.

Do It Your Way

With all these preliminaries out of the way, it’s now time to get started. Put on your reading glasses, fire up your iDevice, and get ready to take complete control of your Apple hardware!