How to Replace an iPhone Screen

Posted by Greg on Mar 23, 2015

Smart phones are such a great convenience in life that we can scarcely image what we would do without them. Our dependency on them makes it all the more painful when accidents happen and a screen is cracked or shattered. That is just what happened a few days ago to a family member who dropped theirs down a flight of concrete steps just days after they swapped out their hefty case for a slim lightweight case. The iPhone landed face down as it tumbled down two flights of steps and the result can be seen below. It still worked, but certain areas of the screen were about useless to try and view. 

Luckily MCM Electronics carries a line of replacement screens for the iPhone 3, 4 & 5 along with tools to help with the disassembly of the phones. There are several articles on how to replace a damaged screen, but after reading them I felt that they did not go into enough detail and are tailored to their specific product. This how to guide is written specifically for the screen which MCM sells. 

Step 1: Determine Which Screen You Need

68-100 - Black iPhone 4 Replacement LCD with Digitizer Add to Cart
68-105 - White iPhone 4 Replacement LCD with Digitizer Add to Cart
68-110 - Black iPhone 4S Replacement LCD with Digitizer Add to Cart
68-115 - White iPhone 4S Replacement LCD with Digitizer Add to Cart
68-120 - Black iPhone 5 Replacement LCD with Digitizer Add to Cart
68-125 - White iPhone 5 Replacement LCD with Digitizer Add to Cart
68-130 - Black iPhone 5C Replacement LCD with Digitizer Add to Cart
68-135 - White iPhone 5C Replacement LCD with Digitizer Add to Cart
68-140 - Black iPhone 5S Replacement LCD with Digitizer Add to Cart
68-145 - White iPhone 5S Replacement LCD with Digitizer Add to Cart

Tools Kits (Optional but very helpful)
22-15515 - iPhone Tool Kit with Pentalobe Driver Add to Cart
22-15520 - iPhone Tool Kit Plus with Pentalobe Driver Add to Cart
22-21525 - Apple 6 Piece Pentalobe Tech Driver Kit: Sizes IPR1~IPR6 Add to Cart

Step 2: Arrange Your Parts and Tools


After your parts have arrived you'll want to line everything up with your phone and new screen on an anti-static mat. The screws are very small and easy to lose or get mixed up, so make sure you have a good place to store them. 

Step 3: Remove Bottom Screws & SIM Card


Using a Pentalobe screwdriver remove the two small screws found on either side of the charger input. You'll also want to remove your SIM card by sticking the end of your screwdriver into the hole so that the tray pops out. Then just remove the tray from the phone fully and set  to one side. 

Step 4: Remove Screen


Attach the suction cup to the screen and slowly pull at an angle until part of the digitizer starts to pull away from the frame. You'll want to use the pry tools to slowly leverage the screen away from the frame. It helps to have a second person available for this step to help pry while you pull on the suction cup. This part of the project took the longest because the digitizer seemed to be really jammed into the frame due to being dropped and falling down steps. 

Step 5: Get Familiar with the Inside of the Phone


Take a good look at the inside of the phone since you will be putting everything back together exactly as it looks at this stage. This way you can make sure you remember exactly where everything goes.

Step 6: Remove the Wire Cover & Disconnect the Cable Connectors


The wire cover is located in the upper right hand corner and has three screws holding the cover. Once you remove the cover you need to carefully remove the cable connectors, they snap upwards fairly easily with the help of one of your plastic prys. Make sure you set the wire cover & screws aside in one area away from the other screws. 

Step 7: Remove the Digitizer 

Once you have disconnected the wire bundles the digitizer is no longer connected and you can set it down near the main part of your phone. I recommend lining up the phone base, the old broken digitizer and the new digitizer. 

Step 8: Remove the Camera & Home Button

You will now need to remove both the camera and the home button from the broken digitizer since they will have to be attached to the new digitizer. The camera is held in with two screws and also a power cable. You will need to remove these, as well as the small lens ring that sits within the camera hole. The lens ring and power cable are held down with a bit of glue but can be pried out easily. Be careful not to force anything though, since they could break. Once the camera is removed proceed to removing the home button and sensors. The home button has two screws and the sensor is held down with a bit of glue. Remove this carefully because any damage can effect your home button. 

Step 9: Remove the Protective Cover

The protective metal cover separates the digitizer and the inner workings of the phone. This cover is held on by eight screws, three on each side and one at both the top and bottom. This will be the final item you will remove from your broken digitizer. 

Step 10: Remove Protective Film

Remove the protective red film from the new digitizer and then attach the protective cover.

Step 11: Reattach Camera and Home Button

Reattach the camera and home button taking care to align everything in the formatted groves in the cover. There is no need to re-glue these items as they will retain a bit of their adhesive. 

Step 12: Reattach the Cable Connectors and the Wire Cover

You need to line up the new digitizer with the case at a 90 degree angle and then align the three cable connectors. This will take a bit of time to get straight, but once you have them aligned they will snap in with just a little force.

Step 13: Align and Close 

Finally you just need to align the digitizer to the phone base and then snap it closed slowly. Once it snaps together smoothly reinsert the SIM card and attach the two screws near the power cable input.  

Step 14: Enjoy Your Fixed Phone!

Enjoy your fixed phone for a fraction of the cost of taking it to a phone store or Apple. Make sure to test the home button and camera before you clean up your tools to make sure that they function properly.

Video coming soon!

Other Options

While you are planning on having your case open it is a good idea to replace your battery if you feel it has not been holding a charge as well as it should. 

iPhone Batteries
68-260 - iPhone 4 Replacement Battery
68-265 - iPhone 4S Replacement Battery
68-270 - iPhone 5 Replacement Battery
68-275 - iPhone 5C Replacement Battery
68-280 - iPhone 5S Replacement Battery

MCM Electronics also carries replacement power flex cables for each of the phone in case the are damaged and need to be replaced. 

iPhone Power Flex Cables
68-150 - iPhone 4 Replacement Power Flex Cable
68-155 - iPhone 4S Replacement Power Flex Cable
68-160 - iPhone 5 Replacement Power Flex Cable
68-165 - iPhone 5C Replacement Power Flex Cable
68-170 - iPhone 5S Replacement Power Flex Cable


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