Thanksgiving offers a perfect chance to crack open a busted iPad Air

Phew. I needed that break. I was able to take off the latter half of last week and this past weekend to spend some time with my family, and it was refreshing to get away. Thanks to Geoff and Cyril, with their alternative Canadian Thanksgiving ways, for keeping the site going.

Because I'm partially crazy, I couldn't just relax during my time away, of course. I took it upon myself to attempt a computer hardware repair. And since doing things that are, you know, sensible isn't a requirement for the halfway insane, I decided to replace the cracked glass digitizer on my brother's iPad Air. Any old chump can fix a busted PC, but only the truly elite hax0rs can tackle hardware maintenance for devices that have been designed with active malice toward the technician.

My preparation for this feat was asking my brother to order a replacement digitizer for his iPad Air and watching the first few minutes of an instructional video on the operation before losing interest. I figured, eh, it's all about glue and guitar picks.

Don't get me wrong. It is all about glue and guitar picks, but the YouTube videos lie. They show operations being performed by competent, experienced people whose hands know what to do in each situation. I am not that person, which is a very relevant difference once you get knee deep into one of these operations.

The other way most of the YouTube videos lie is that they show somebody removing a completely whole, unsullied piece of glass from the front of a device. That was not my fate. The screen on my brother's Air had cracks running clear across its surface, combined with shattered areas covered by spiderwebs of tiny glass shards.

The replacement screen came with a little repair kit, including a guitar pick, mini-screwdrivers, a suction cup, and several plastic pry tools. I used a hair dryer to heat the adhesive around the glass pane, pulled up on the glass with the suction cup, pried under it in one spot with the tiny screwdriver, and slipped a guitar pick into the adhesive layer. Sounds simple, but just getting this start took a lot of trial and error.

I soon discovered two important truths. One, I needed about five more guitar picks to keep the areas where I'd separated the adhesive from re-sealing. I had only the one—and we were away from home, at a little rental house thing, for the holiday. Two, getting a cracked screen to separate from the adhesive is a huge pain in the rear. Suction cups don't stick to cracked glass.

Here's what I eventually pulled free from the chassis, after over an hour's hard work with a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Notice the spiderwebbed section sticking up. Yes, I literally peeled the glass free from its adhesive backing. Not pictured are the hundreds of tiny glass shards that shattered and fell out during the process, all over me and into the iPad chassis. The minuscule shards practically coated the surface of the naked LCD panel beneath the glass, while others worked their way into my fingertips. The pain was one thing, but worse, I was pretty sure at this point that I'd ruined the LCD panel in my brother's tablet.

Notice that some sections of the screen around the edges are not in the picture above. They didn't break free when I removed the rest of the digitizer, so I had to scrape those shards off of their adhesive backing separately.

Also notice that the busted digitizer doesn't have a home button or a plastic frame around the pinhole camera opening up top. Most of them do, and this one did when I first removed it from the iPad. However, the replacement digitizer we ordered bafflingly didn't come with a home button or pinhole frame included. It did in the YouTube videos, but surprise! You get to do this on hard mode.

The home button bracket seemed like it was practically welded on there. And remember: we didn't have any spare adhesive or glue or anything.

After nearly giving up in despair, I found another YouTube video showing this specific operation in some detail. The dude in it used tools I didn't have, but what the heck. After heating the home button area with the hair dryer, I pulled out my pocket knife and went for it. I proceeded to separate the home button, its paper-thin ribbon connection, and the surrounding metal bracket from the busted digitizer. Somehow, I managed to keep enough adhesive on the bracket to allow it to attach to the new screen. The button happily clicked without feeling loose. This success massively exceeded my expectations.

Once I'd crested that hill, I  came face to face with that perfect Retina LCD coated with glass dust. Frankly, I'd been trying to bracket off my worries about that part of the operation, or I wouldn't have been able to continue. After lots of blowing on the gummy surface of the LCD panel, I decided what I needed to deal with the remaining glass shards and fingerprints was a microfiber cloth. Lint from cotton would be disastrous. Shortly, my brother went out to his truck and returned with a nasty, dirt-covered microfiber cloth that was pretty much our only option. A couple of the corners were less obviously soiled, so I used them lovingly to brush, rub, and polish the surface of the LCD panel. Several spots where I concentrated my efforts just grew into larger and larger soiled areas. My brother stood looking nervously over my shoulder, asking worried questions about the state of things. However, after rotating the cloth and giving it some time and gentle effort, I was somehow able to dispel the oily patches almost entirely.

From here, it was all downhill, right? I attached each of the miniature ribbon connectors and, before reassembling the tablet, turned it on for a quick test. To my great relief and pleasure, the LCD worked perfectly, with no dead pixels or obvious damage of any kind. And the touchscreen digitizer responded perfectly to my input, even though it wasn't yet layered atop the LCD. It was good to go.

The next step was the tedious process of placing the pre-cut 3M adhesive strips along the edges of the iPad chassis. Somehow, I managed to do this without folding over the glue strips and having them stick to themselves. Really not something I expected to pull off cleanly.

Pictured above is the open iPad with the new digitizer attached. You can see the adhesive strips around the edges of the chassis with the backing still on one side. My bandaged fingers are holding up the LCD panel, and the big, back rectangles you see are the iPad's batteries. The device's motherboard sits under the metal shield just above the batteries. It's a little larger than a stick of gum. I stopped to take a picture at this point mostly because my stress level was finally low enough for me to remember to do so.

With only a little remaining struggle, I was able to re-seat the LCD panel and secure it, remove the adhesive backing, flip over the new digitizer, and push it firmly into place atop the new adhesive layer. After a little clean-up, my brother's iPad Air looked as good as new.

Three hours after my journey began, I turned on the repaired iPad. It booted up quickly. The LCD looked perfect. The home button was clicky and solid. And I swiped to log in.

Didn't take.

I swiped again, a few times, and I was able to log in. And then… the thing went crazy. Phantom touches everywhere ran apps, activated UI buttons, and began typing gobbledygook messages. The touchscreen was completely hosed.

Utter defeat. What followed isn't something I'd like to share on the Internet. Suffice to say that I'm a grown man, and grown men shouldn't act like that.

Initially, I blamed myself for messing up the repair with my clumsiness. I figured I must have ruined a ribbon connector or something. Hours later, after I'd gotten some distance from the whole thing, I poked around online and came to a different conclusion. You see, the original adhesive layer I removed from the iPad was essentially a felt lining with sticky stuff on both sides. The repair kit, however, came only with a thin layer of adhesive, with no insulator. I'm now 99% certain that the touchscreen's problems were caused by making electrical contact with the iPad's aluminum chassis. Others have run into the same issue, looks like.

I may never know for sure. My brother took the iPad back to his home after Thanksgiving and will be paying a repair shop to fix it. I dunno whether they'll offer any feedback about what happened.

Meanwhile, I suppose I got a little bit more experience doing repair work on mobile devices. So far, I've learned two things. First, I can do this. It just takes more of the same patience, precision, and self-imposed calm that working on larger computer systems requires. And a few initial victims, like my daughter's Nintendo DS, my mother-in-law's cell phone, my old laptop, and my brother's iPad Air.

Hey, they were broken anyway.

Second, it takes a special sort of person to do this stuff for fun. I am probably not that sort of person—and I'm okay with that.

Besides, next time I'll have a proper heat gun, more guitar picks, and some insulating tape.

Comments closed
    • frenchy2k1
    • 5 years ago

    About a year ago, my Galaxy Note 2 fell one time too many, flat, screen down.
    The case I had on it did not help and the front glass broke.
    Note that it is only the front glass, digitizer and LCD were fine.
    I used it for a few months until I researched how to change it, watched a few videos and ordered a repair kit on ebay for a few bucks.
    One night, I prepared myself and started the disassembly. The phone needed to be removed from its housing before being able to even try to separate the glass. That part went fine. When I tried to separate the cracked glass from the LCD, after a few minutes, as I tried inserting the pick, I heard the LCD corner crack.
    I reassembled the phone enough to test and of course, now the LCD would not turn ON.

    I then located a repair shop that offered to change the whole LCD stack for $100, shipped it and got it back working.

    I then understood I would not try again on a Samsung (they do not have edge glue, they literally glue the whole thing).

    A few month later, my wife dropped our iPad on concrete and the top glass shattered.
    Again, I researched, but I then found a local shop that could give me a diagnostic. They took the iPad off its case and one corner of the aluminium frame rises way past what should be. They declined to fix it. I ordered a screen protector and we are still using it like this…

    • Pettytheft
    • 5 years ago

    After my second repair of a family members broken iPhone I decided to get rid of the blowdryer technique. Takes too long. Heat guns are the key. I did screw up my S3 though. While talking to my wife I held the gun on the area too long slightly cooking the screen. The top corner doesn’t display colors properly anymore.

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 5 years ago

    And now you know why Foxconn had to install nets outside their plants. Imagine working day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, decade after decade doing nothing but this. Breathing in masses of aluminum dust.

    The ground would look mighty tempting by the end as long as it was away from the inside of That Thing.

    • link626
    • 5 years ago

    I save old credit cards to use as wedges

    • tactictaylor
    • 5 years ago

    I have had the ‘pleasure’ of a few digitiser replacements. One tip, use a small vacuum cleaner to remove glass particles during disassembly. Also, make sure your environment is as close to totally dust free as you can get. Try to earth anything metallic to reduce static. Use heat shields only so you melt glue in area required, and take time. Have plenty of wedges available when glue losens, and vacuum up any particles instantly.

    • UnfriendlyFire
    • 5 years ago

    I had an old Dell laptop that required the entire display, keyboard, and upper body removed. About 20 screws needed to be removed as well.

    Why?

    Because the motherboard was facing upward and there was a daughterboard sitting right on top of the GPU, which made it pure hell to clean the cooling assembly and especially if replacing the thermal paste.

      • tipoo
      • 5 years ago

      Which one? I think I’m looking at around 20 screws as well if I want to get into my Dell Studio 1555 and bake the motherboard for a reflow.

    • WaltC
    • 5 years ago

    [quote<]Meanwhile, I suppose I got a little bit more experience doing repair work on mobile devices. So far, I've learned two things. First, I can do this. It just takes more of the same patience, precision, and self-imposed calm that working on larger computer systems requires. And a few initial victims, like my daughter's Nintendo DS, my mother-in-law's cell phone, my old laptop, and my brother's iPad Air. Hey, they were broken anyway.[/quote<] I'd like to offer a third lesson, if I may be so bold...;) "Working on larger computer systems", at least where the hardware is concerned, is an order of magnitude easier, imo--no Boob-Tube videos, no glue & guitar picks required. It's a simple component replacement exercise among components that are designed to be replaced by hand in the first place. Which is why it's wise never to confuse personal computers with "mobile devices" because they adhere to radically different design protocols. (Which is why the latter will never replace the former, etc.) But anyway, wise man say: "Man who open touch-screen device is touched in head and will get giant headache!" I guess you'd agree. Happy Thanksgiving...;)

    • sweatshopking
    • 5 years ago

    Scott, I’m proud of you. First off for attempting, second for admitting you, a man, didn’t do it perfectly.

    • LoneWolf15
    • 5 years ago

    A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I was an Apple Certified Technician, working for an Apple Authorized Service Provider. Mind you, this was before the day of iPads, iPhones, etc. I believe the click-wheel iPod came out during that time.

    I found out there were quite a few Apple products (especially after the return of Steve Jobs, where beige Macs went by the wayside) where the exterior looks, shape, and form factor greatly outweighed the ability to service them. Some of the laptops were the worst; where replacing a hard drive might take six screws and fifteen minutes on a PC, the white iBook G3 had to be nearly disassembled, taking over an hour. The PowerBook G4 Titanium’s display bezel was literally glued together, making it extremely difficult to replace the hinges or LCD without just tossing the entire display housing, screen, hinges, and all.

    Some aspects of that has improved since then, but from what I’ve heard (from a very reliable source), the style and exterior design engineers at Apple greatly outweigh the people who have to build and arrange the internal hardware that goes inside whatever unit they’re building.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 5 years ago

      Man. I had an iBook G4 1GHz. Replacing the hard drive in that thing felt like 50 screws. Not sure if it really was. But man it wasn’t easy to service. lol

    • Yumi
    • 5 years ago

    Xperia Go, one of the worst Android smartphones out there.

    I cracked the touch digitiser, found a new complete front and a spare digitiser on ebay for $50 shipped and it turned out it was kinda easy to change the touch digitiser.
    I am luckily not using using the phone any more, but I still have a complete front in a drawer somewhere.

    • MarkG509
    • 5 years ago

    I’m using a naked Galaxy Note 4. I think this article and the comments just convinced me to put a serious case on it. Recommendations?

      • curtisb
      • 5 years ago

      Put the toughest case on it you want, but it won’t protect against an angry 7-year old forcibly throwing it down on a tile floor. Yeah, it’s been months and I’m still not happy with him about that one. In this case (no pun intended) it happened to be an iPad 4 in a Griffin Survivor case. I waited MONTHS before ordering anything to fix the screen. I’d left it in the case because there were tons of glass shards I wasn’t ready to deal with yet. Got the screen in and finally took the iPad out of the Griffin case, only to find out the frame is horribly mangled on the power button corner. Not sure what I’m going to do there, but it all got put back up until I get over the anger of the situation again. That may take another six months. I’m pretty sure I can order another frame/back and transplant all of the internals, and I’ll probably have to get another power button as well.

    • vargis14
    • 5 years ago

    You know it must be a PITA if IfixIt does not even sell a kit or have a guide up to repair the glass on the iPad air so do not kick yourself too much it is not a easy fix.
    Kick your brother for breaking it in the first place….Also did he at least have it in a case of some kind? If not and you hang around tile floors, cement, and other hard floors without a case your asking the screen to break on the 1st drop
    Perhaps a propane torch next time for the glue:)

    • DragonDaddyBear
    • 5 years ago

    I bought an iPad 2nd gen two years ago that was broken and broke the replacement putting it in because I did not use my dremmel to take enough of the bent aluminum. Then I decided to try and fix the ribbon cable that controls the lock/mute because the power button was broken. That resulted in a broken lock switch that is now broken and a magnetic sensor that is now the cause of the power button being only good for powering off.

    It was a fun exercise but I am glad I did it on a tablet that my two year old is going to abuse and not one I really care about.

    • willmore
    • 5 years ago

    I’ve done this level of surgery to pretty much every portable electronic device I’ve owned–sometimes just for fun! You get used to it and you learn what to do and not to do.

    The most recent was a screen replacement for a Kindle 2. To up the difficulty level, I didn’t use a Kindle 2 screen, I used a B&N Nook screen! It needed a little metal work and aligning it was sort of fun as the alignment tabs are completely different. Oh, thank goodness for double sided tapes of all kinds! I have a 30m roll of thin 3M VHB that I once thought was a lifetime supply. I’m not so sure, anymore.

    The ereader survived and will be an xmas gift for my kids. Hey, if they break the screen, I have three more and I can replace it again and again if need by.

    • NeelyCam
    • 5 years ago

    My son destroyed an HP Touchpad with milk a couple of weeks ago, messing up the touch display (all sorts of ghost ‘touches’). My solution? Take out my last spare TouchPad from its original box, charge it for 24h, and put CM9 on it.

    Fixed. Good as new.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 5 years ago

      CM9? Can you even still get apps for Ice Cream Sammich?

        • NeelyCam
        • 5 years ago

        Sure – all Angry Birds and whatnot children’s games play nicely. And Netflix & Flash work great. It’s mainly because of Netflix that I decided to stay with ICS

          • willmore
          • 5 years ago

          What’s the limitation WRT Netflix?

            • modulusshift
            • 5 years ago

            I’d imagine the drivers don’t work quite as well as they should past a certain version of the Linux kernel, so it’s stuck back before the kernel upgrade in Jelly Bean if it wants to decode video properly.

        • tipoo
        • 5 years ago

        Yes! Android is unlike iOS (and I think WP?) in that components are updated separately from the OS. ICS can still use the latest app store version, and all apps that I know of are still compatible with it.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 5 years ago

          I know that, but certain things from Google are better with Jelly Bean – I like the Google Now launcher and it advertises itself, at least, as requiring 4.1.

      • HisDivineOrder
      • 5 years ago

      You see? Apple quality meant my nephew could use his iPad as a makeshift plate for some peaches and he could then keep right on playing Minecraft not long after.

      Apple doesn’t advertise it as such, but iPads apparently make great plates. 😉

    • uni-mitation
    • 5 years ago

    In the pursuit of absolute thinness a few things have to go by the wayside.

    • atari030
    • 5 years ago

    The most I’ve felt comfortable with trying to fix are broken laptops. Laptops being devices with enough margin for error (larger components) to not be a giant PITA (sometimes).

    I give you huge credit for going after a project like this one! Sorry the result was not what you were hoping for.

    • Westbrook348
    • 5 years ago

    Thrilling read. I was rooting for success the whole way. Personally I feel my time is too valuable to spend it on a difficult repair like this, especially if there’s a good chance of failure. But I can appreciate the challenge, especially with our tech obsession.

    On a somewhat related note, I have a 2560×1600 Korean monitor (Yamakasi Sparta 300) that died on me after almost a year. At first it would have intermittent periods of bright single colored (often neon green or pink, if not white) vertical lines on a black background, which would spread to eventually cover the entire screen in a rainbow of vertical lines that would fade to pure white. Cycling the monitor on and off a few times would eventually restore the picture, and there was No apparent permanent damage from the episodes. And though it started to occur with increasing frequency, I was always able to eventually get a normal picture back. Until one day it just wouldn’t turn on at all.

    So now I think I have this gorgeous monitor just sitting around with a perfectly fine panel, but something obviously broken inside. My best guess is there’s a part on the main board that just needs to be replaced. But it’s an obscure Korean import so.. Don’t know if this is a project I should undertake.

    • prb123
    • 5 years ago

    The good news is that you do get better with practice, but it really sucks when you break something.

    1. Samsung Note 2. – Attempted to De-laminate Glass from LCD, Broke LCD when I hit the large horizontal crack. Replaced with LCD/Glass Unit – Still working.
    2. ASUS Transformer. Older Model not Bonded w/ Cracked Screen. Metal frame came clipped from it’s self when removing adhesive. Cracked LCD when snapping together. Too expensive to fix. Replaced with new unit.
    3. Samsung Tab 2 for a Friend. Older Model not Bonded w/ Cracked Screen. Pulled Glass before ordering replacement. Went well. Ordered Replacement & Re-Assembled. Still working good.

    • nanoflower
    • 5 years ago

    What’s needed (if you really want to learn) is to pick up a bunch of broken devices off of Ebay, which should be available for little money. Then try to resurrect them. There will probably be a number of failures but eventually you will develop the necessary technique to resurrect the dead (device.)

    • Chrispy_
    • 5 years ago

    There are so many horror stories like this on the web.
    I’ve repaired a couple of iPhone4 and iPhone5 screens myself, as well as an HTC One.

    Reviews should seriously consider giving mobile devices that are likely to suffer screen cracks (glass to the edge devices) a zero or one rating out of ten. I occasionally commute on the tube and I am not exaggerating when I say that over half of all iPhone4 phones I ever saw on the tube were cracked.

    [b<]"FORM OVER FUNCTION" SHOULD NOT APPLY TO A DEVICE THAT HAS TO FUNCTION ABOVE ALL ELSE.[/b<] Not entirely, anyway.

      • Beelzebubba9
      • 5 years ago

      iFixit does repairability scores for all major mobile devices, ranked on a 1-10 scale, so that metric already exists.

      Personally, I think y’all need to stop dropping your hugely expensive gadgets. I don’t want bulky rubberized hardware because half the human population seems to coat their fingers in Crisco on a regular basis. 🙂

        • Chrispy_
        • 5 years ago

        This is what I mean. Title of “best phone of 2014” and “gold award” and “Editor’s Choice” do not belong on an unreasonably fragile device that is near-impossible to repair.

        Repairability should be an important factor in overall reviews, and I bet if that was one of the criteria, many of these devices would be waaaaaaay down the charts in overall review score.

          • frumper15
          • 5 years ago

          iPhone 4/4S screens are the devil to replace requiring disassembly of the ENTIRE unit and about 20 different size screws that are all the size of a grain of sand (only slightly exaggerated).

          The 5/5S appears to be a little easier but not without its own set of challenges.

          Even some newer laptops have become downright frustrating to do something as simple as add memory or replace hard drives. In recent memory I had an HP laptop that required complete removal of the mainboard from the chassis to add memory to an empty slot that should have been accessible if they would have cut a window in the chassis below the keyboard or, i don’t know, made the slots face down instead. The same story with a Lenovo Flex 2 that I spent a few hours looking for what turned out to be an non-existent M.2 slot.

            • Ninjitsu
            • 5 years ago

            Yeah, Asus is guilty of the same stuff. Dell and Lenovo mostly do provide cut-outs in their traditional laptops.

          • Beelzebubba9
          • 5 years ago

          Why? What smartphone do you have?

          There are plenty of devices available that are either designed to resist damage or are easier to repair, and they’re rarely, if ever, among the top sellers. Even the SGS5 which was promoted heavily on the back of its environmental resistance and relative durability sold 40% under expectations and got creamed in the market by the iPhone. People just don’t care that much about the toughness and repairability of their phone. It just isn’t a primary consideration for most users.

          In NYC it costs between $75 and $125 to replace the screen on all of the flagship devices I’ve sen priced. Between this and the insurance many people carry anyway, the additional cost of having devices that focus on formfactor and not repairability is pretty small over the lifetime cost of the platform. Since improving easy of repair adds bulk and can reduce the display quality greatly, consumers have clearly voted with their wallets.

          Also people need to stop being incredible idiots with their phones and tablets. Maybe I’m special, but I’ve had smartphones in my pocket every day since the iPhone launch and never used a case or broken a phone. I just cannot fathom how holding on to an object is so hard for so many people.

            • Chrispy_
            • 5 years ago

            iPhone 4S and a Nexus 5 at the moment.

            I’ve also never broken a phone. My comments are based on the fact that despite the huge range of full-frontal glass phones that people have brought to me with damage over the years, the two outliers that were [i<]disproporionately[/i<] broken more often than everything else were the iPhone4 and the HTC One. I've only repaired a handful, and that's because they're a complete pig to repair. That doesn't mean that dozens more haven't come to me with smashed phones asking for repairs, because they have. It's the dumb design. Neither of those phones can survive any kind of drop onto a hard surface. By contrast, my Nexus 5 (personal phone) is pretty banged up and scuffed. That plastic border is scuffed to hell and I've dropped it looking at Google Maps whilst cycling more than once. Likewise, my previous Samsung Galaxy S2 was near-indestructable and my colleague actually reversed over his S2 with a car without (completely) breaking it. I know iPhones are really popular, so when you Google statistics on broken iPhones you get a lot of broken iPhones. But globally, the Samsung Galaxys far outsell iPhones and they are marketed as robust and durable with claims of unbreakable screens and unbreakable battery covers. With the exception of the US which exists in a weird bubble of Apple dominance, the rest of the smartphone using world voted for durable phones using their wallets.

            • Beelzebubba9
            • 5 years ago

            Good post overall, but you should take note that the SGS5 – the most durable SGS, and marketed as such, sold 40% under expectations and has prompted Samsung to revisit their design guidelines to bring them in line with their more fragile competitors in the hopes of reversing their sales slide. If you look at the Galaxy S Active series you’ll see the gap between the sales of those devices and the iPhone are even more massive.

            Also it’s funny that your Nexus 5 is your most durable phone. I, too, own one as my primary phone and for some reason it’s ended up more banged up and cracked than all of my previous devices combined. All of the others I know with N5s have similar experiences. That said, the phone still works great and the damage was all clearly my fault, so I have no issues with the design. I think I just dropped it unluckily a few times.

          • jessterman21
          • 5 years ago

          Mmm, I disagree – fragility and battery life are two EXTREMELY under-scored and undervalued portions of modern mobile reviews, but if it’s built to last its usable life (5 years max), then it doesn’t need to be built with user-repairability in mind.

          Of course if that means it needs to be inch-thick rubberized-plastic and plexiglass brick, so be it, I say…

            • f0d
            • 5 years ago

            for me fragility is pretty much the ONLY trait i care about as i use it at work and im not an IT pro like most people here im a forklift driver and warehouse worker so my phone gets knocked about all the time

            for the last few years (3+?) i have used a motorola defy with a blisteringly fast single core 800mhz cpu and a massive 3.5inch screen and you know what? its all i need, i can play my movies and music on it and make phone calls without issue, its tough as nails surviving drops from over 5 meters (16ft) with just minor scratches on the case

            even thought i havnt actually pulled it apart yet it looks really simple to take apart and repair
            its the perfect phone for me

      • travbrad
      • 5 years ago

      Why make stuff easier to fix or replace when they can just sell you their newest shiniest phone that is only slightly different than the last one?

      • BenBasson
      • 5 years ago

      I concur that most iPhones in London do appear to be cracked or broken in some way.

    • drfish
    • 5 years ago

    I’ve been sitting on repair kits for four Lumia 920s and the broken phones in need of them for a few months, it’s for work though and I haven’t had the time for a “fun” project like that – it’s easier/faster to just buy a new unlocked phone instead. Maybe I’ll bring them to the BBQ and we can have a phone repair contest.

      • Jason181
      • 5 years ago

      Throwing them on the barbecue might be more entertaining.

        • epicmadness
        • 5 years ago

        no sh~t, except when it explodes on your face.
        remember to take out the batteries first.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 5 years ago

    Yeah, anything that has glue holding it together gets sent elsewhere. As soon as I’m at the “you need a heatgun to melt the adhesive” stage I’m done. Not very geeky of me, I suppose, but like you I feel little to no confidence in my ability to make it work again.

    • NTMBK
    • 5 years ago

    Mobile devices can be a serious PITA. I installed a wireless modem in my tablet last night, and good lord was it harder than those Youtube videos made it look. “And then you just pop the cables onto their connector…” AHAHAHA. Apparently none of their tablets came with the “f***ing b*****d twisty cables from Hell” factory option. Spending over an hour battling 2cm of cabling can really make a man question his life choices.

    • frumper15
    • 5 years ago

    Oh man, I feel your pain. I’ve done two iPad 2 screen/digitizers and I have no desire to do any more ever. The first was my wife’s that one of the kids managed to drop right on the corner on the basement floor. The second was a friend that heard I had fixed ours. As you said, the videos/tutorials all seem to be removing largely intact screens. Both of the ones I did came off in about 1 million tiny shards of glass. Occasionally, I would get a good 3 or 4 inch stretch to come off as one piece but that was about it. I was happily surprised in both cases that things worked after the repair, but I did manage to leave a little shard of glass in each despite my best efforts at cleaning up before reassembly.

    At least the replacement parts were very affordable. I think i paid less than $30 for each replacement and at that price vs. either a professional repair shop or new device it was worth the effort for me. Doesn’t mean I enjoyed it, though.

      • diesavagenation
      • 5 years ago
        • continuum
        • 5 years ago

        Ditto. It’s expensive as hell to do this, but like Scott’s experience I usually end up with devices that have the glass coming off in multiple shards and lots of glass dust, and it’s just a pain in the butt to deal with….

        • frumper15
        • 5 years ago

        That was certainly true in the iPhone 4S that I replaced the screen in (seriously, had to disassemble the entire device to get to it) where the digitizer and LCD are a single laminated unit. However, in the iPad2 – and sounds like the Air as well – the front glass/digitizer are completely separate from the actual LCD itself. Thanks in part to the wide bezel on the iPad you can somewhat easily avoid damaging the LCD in the repair process and it tends to be somewhat well protected from drops to the edges of the tablet as well.

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