iPad 3rd and 4th Generation Disassembly and Reassembly - The Unauthorized Guide to iPhone, iPad, and iPod Repair (2013)

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

Chapter 9. iPad 3rd and 4th Generation Disassembly and Reassembly

In Chapter 8, “iPad 2nd Generation Disassembly and Reassembly,” I told you that Apple replaced the iPad 3rd generation (called the “New iPad”) with the iPad 4th generation (dubbed the “iPad with Retina Display”) scant months after the 3rd gen’s release. The first thing you should know is that the differences between the 3rd and 4th generation iPads are relatively slight. Thus, if you have a 3rd gen and felt cheated when Apple put out the 4th gen, don’t be.

In my humble (or not-so-humble) opinion, the primary motivator for Apple to push out the 4th generation iPad was to standardize their mainline iOS devices on the Lightning connector. That’s it. The notion is that as of Fall 2012, the iPhone 5, iPod nano 7th generation, and iPad 4th generation all share the same (new) connector. Big deal.

Besides the connector, Apple made the following incremental changes to the iPad 4th generation:

Image Processor: The iPad 4th gen sports a 1.4GHz A6X dual-core processor, as compared to the 1GHz A5X dual-core processor that was included in the iPad 3rd generation.

Image FaceTime Camera: The iPad 4th generation sports a 1.2 MP front-facing camera that captures 720p video as well. This is compared to the anemic 0.3 MP FaceTime camera on the iPad 3rd generation.

Image Carrier Network Capability: The iPad 4th generation supports 4G LTE, whereas the iPad 3rd generation caps out at “standard” 4G.

If by contrast you are an iPad 2 owner, there are several very compelling reasons for you to upgrade to a 4th gen model, not the least of which is the crystal-clear Retina display. Table 9.1 details the major feature improvements between the two iPad models.

TABLE 9.1 Comparison of iPad 2 and iPad 4th Generation


External Anatomy

Aside from the new connector (and model number; the iPad 3rd gen Wi-Fi model is A1416, and the iPad 4th gen Wi-Fi model is A1458), I defy anybody to differentiate these two iPad models by exterior examination alone. Figures 9.1 through 9.4 show the external anatomy.


FIGURE 9.1 iPad 4th generation top view.


FIGURE 9.2 iPad 4th generation front view.


FIGURE 9.3 iPad 3rd generation rear view (the 4th generation model is identical except for the connector).

Figure 9.4 is particularly telling because it enables you to compare the 30-pin and Lightning connectors side-by-side (or one above the other, but you get the idea).


FIGURE 9.4 Connector comparison: 3rd gen iPad on top, and 4th gen iPad on bottom.

Required Tools

Image iFixit iOpener or heat gun

Image iFixit or standard thin-gauge guitar picks

Image Phillips #0 and #00 screwdrivers

Image Plastic and/or metal spudgers

Image Plastic opening tools

Image Adhesive strips

Disassembly Procedure

1. For detailed instructions on removing the front panel assembly from the 2nd-generation iPad, see Chapter 8. Unfortunately, the process for the 4th-gen iPad is every bit as troublesome and prone to shattering as it is with the iPad 2nd generation. The bottom line is that you need either a heat gun or an iFixit iOpener tool along with several iFixit “guitar picks” and plastic opening tools in order to do the job, as shown in Figure 9.5.


FIGURE 9.5 Using iFixit tools to remove the front glass/digitizer assembly. The iOpener bean bag is at left, and the iFixit guitar picks are at right. (Photo courtesy of ifixit.com.)

Remember also the three main “trouble spots” of the iPad rear case where you need to be careful how you dig through the adhesive:

Image Top-center border of the case: This is the cellular antenna (cellular models only).

Image Bottom of case, to the right of the Home button: This is the Wi-Fi antenna assembly.

Image Bottom left of case: This is the digitizer cable.

2. After you have the glass/digitizer assembly loose, you can flip it over like you are opening a book. Use your trusty screwdriver to remove the four Phillips #0 screws that hold the LCD to the rear case (see Figure 9.6).


FIGURE 9.6 Removing the LCD screws. (Photo courtesy of ifixit.com.)

Use a plastic or metal spudger to lift and gently flip over the LCD such that it lies on top of the front display as shown in Figure 9.7.


FIGURE 9.7 Rotating the LCD panel to expose the inside of the iPad 4th generation. (Photo courtesy of ifixit.com.)

3. There are three substeps to remove the LCD ribbon cable connector from the iPad 4th generation case:

a. Use a spudger to peel back the piece of black tape that covers the LCD ribbon cable connector, as shown in Figure 9.8.


FIGURE 9.8 Disconnecting the LCD ribbon cable. (Photo courtesy of ifixit.com.)

b. Use the spudger to flip up the retaining clip of the zero insertion force (ZIF) connector.

c. Use your fingers or a pair of tweezers to pull the LCD ribbon cable connector from its socket.

4. Remove the LCD entirely from the rest of the iPad.

5. Turn your attention to disconnecting the digitizer ribbon cable from the logic board. Here are the three substeps:

a. Use a spudger to peel back the piece of black tape that covers the digitizer ribbon cable, as shown in Figure 9.9.


FIGURE 9.9 Preparing to remove the digitizer cable from the logic board. (Photo courtesy of ifixit.com.)

b. Use the spudger to flip up the retaining clips as you did for the LCD ribbon cable connector. Yes, there are two connectors, not one.

c. Use the spudger or a pair of tweezers to pull the ribbon cables directly out of their respective ZIF sockets. You need to loosen some adhesive holding down the cable in the process.

After you’ve pulled back the digitizer cable, releasing the adhesive along the way, you can lift the digitizer ribbon cable out of its recess from the rear case (see Figure 9.10). At this point you have the front panel assembly as well as the LCD completely detached.


FIGURE 9.10 Removing the digitizer cable and freeing the front panel assembly from the chassis. (Photo courtesy of ifixit.com.)

6. Remove the piece of black tape covering three important logic board connectors:

Image Wi-Fi antenna cable: Use a spudger to detach this button connector. This part is called out in Figure 9.11 with a red box.


FIGURE 9.11 This is how the Wi-Fi antenna cable, speaker connector cable, and dock/Lightning connector attach to the logic board. (Photo courtesy of ifixit.com.)

Image Speaker connector cable: Use the flat end of a spudger to pry this connector. This part is called out in Figure 9.11 with a orange box.

Image Lightning/Dock connector cable (depends on model, obviously): Use a plastic opening tool to pry up the connector. This part is called out in Figure 9.11 with a yellow box.

7. You can remove the headphone jack cable the same way you approached the LCD and digitizer ribbon cable connectors:

a. Remove the piece of tape covering the connector.

b. Lift the ZIF retaining flaps.

c. Remove the headphone jack ribbon cable as shown in Figure 9.12.


FIGURE 9.12 Detaching the headphone jack cable. (Photo courtesy of ifixit.com.)

8. Finish with the removal of the logic board. Use a #00 Phillips screwdriver to remove the four screws that secure the logic board to the rear case (see Figure 9.13).


FIGURE 9.13 Removing the final four logic board screws. (Photo courtesy of ifixit.com.)

9. Carefully grasp the edge of the logic board and gently wiggle to dislodge it from the rear case. Remove the logic board as shown in Figure 9.14.


FIGURE 9.14 Removing the logic board. (Photo courtesy of ifixit.com.)

10. Removing the Lightning connector is a snap. Well, it’s a couple of screws (see Figure 9.15). It’s truly awesome that the Lightning connector in the iPad 4th generation is not soldered to the logic board (see Figure 9.16). As you see in Chapter 10, “iPad mini Disassembly and Reassembly,” removing a Lightning connector is not always so easy.


FIGURE 9.15 Removing the two screws that hold the Lightning connector in place. (Photo courtesy of ifixit.com.)


FIGURE 9.16 Because the Lightning connector is an easily removable part, replacing it does not require replacing the logic board. (Photo courtesy of ifixit.com.)

11. Figure 9.17 shows the iPad 4th generation in its fully blown-out glory.


FIGURE 9.17 The 4th generation iPad, completely disassembled. (Photo courtesy of ifixit.com.)

Reassembly Notes

Image You need adhesive strips to reattach the front display with any degree of security.

Image The battery cells are glued into the chassis extraordinarily tightly. Therefore, although removal of the battery cells proves to be a significant challenge, reseating them is relatively easy because there is so much glue left over.

Why Do Front and Rear Cameras Have Different Resolutions?

As you know, Apple phones starting with iPhone 4 and tablets starting with iPad 2 include two cameras. Apple calls the rear-facing cameras iSight and the front-facing cameras FaceTime (see Figure 9.18). These terms are intentionally applied, for iSight is the name of Apple’s internal and external webcam platform, and FaceTime is the name of Apple’s video chat application and related protocol.


FIGURE 9.18 iPad 4th generation FaceTime camera.

As you can see by studying Table 9.2, the front and rear cameras in iPhones and iPads have different properties. Why do you think that this is the case?

TABLE 9.2 Comparison of iPhone 5 and iPad 4th Generation On-Board Cameras


Apple has never given us any definitive statement. However, I have the following opinions that I would like to share with you:

Image Most people use the rear-facing camera (almost) exclusively. When you want to snap a picture, the natural workflow is to use the iPhone/iPad screen as a viewfinder and expose the image by using the rear-facing camera. To that end, Apple put the major camera horsepower in the camera that they felt would be used by customers most often.

Image FaceTime streaming video needs to be bandwidth-friendly. FaceTime video chat originally worked only over Wi-Fi connections. Nowadays carriers support FaceTime, but you still need to be mindful of bandwidth as most of us pay our carrier based upon data used. Essentially, the front-facing camera is optimized for FaceTime or quick self-portraits. These self-portraits can be made more fun by editing them with the nifty Photo Booth iOS app.