Introduction: Fix a Broken Home Button on IPhone 3g


Today I discovered that my Home button was no longer working. I've had the phone for a long time, and its been through some rough stuff, in water, dropped, so I doubt I would be able to get a new one from apple, only a few more months on my contract before I can get a new one cheap, so I decided to see if I could repair the home button myself.

This is not a tutorial on how to take apart your iPhone, as there are numerous instructional videos to help with that. This will just help you fix your home button.

What you will need:

-Soldering Iron.
-Solder
-The Smallest Gauge wire you can find. I went with wire thats a little too large,you'll see why.
-The guts to solder you iPhone, Oh no! 

Step 1: Locating the Problem.

 This may not be the same for everyone, so this step will help you determine if my fix will work. 

Once your iPhone is open to the world, look at the back of the screen, near the home button. There should be two metal springy tabs here. These are the contact that go to the phone and tell it when the button is being pressed. In my case there was only 1, the other one had broken off, hence the non functional home button. I actually touched the other intact one on my phone and it broke right off as well. so it was ready to go as well. 

Now if you look at the botton part of your phone you will see two contact pads for where those springs touch, take note of the orientation. You will have to solder them to the correct contacts. Sorry for the blurry pic, it looked good on my camera...

Step 2: Soldering the Pads.

First off the wire you will need to be using should be about 4-5" in length because of how you have to put the phone back together. You want really small gauge because it has to fix inside the phone between the screen and chip/

 Hopefully prior to this fix you will have had at least some soldering experience. The area for solder is rather small, but it really is not difficult.

What I liked to do was put a drop of solder onto each contact like a bubble. Then after I have done that, take the wire and sit it on top of the bubble of now hard solder. Take your soldering iron and hold it over the wire and let it sink it. Check for a snug hold and you should be good to go.

Step 3: Closing the Phone.

 I would say this is the trickiest part, getting everything lined up and the wires out of the way for the phone to close again. Hopefully the wire you chose was very small and you are able to fix it in between the screen. One thing I noticed when I first closed it and turned it on, if the wire is pushing on the screen it will cause the screen to turn white in a certain spot when you put pressure on it. I had to open it up again to get rid of that. 

I suggest you tuck it too the left of the phone as well because on the right hand side you will notice there is a little motor for the vibrate, and you don't want the wire getting that jammed.

Once you get it back together, hopefully you won't have too much of a FrankenPhone like me. Mines kind of beat up, can't wait to get a new one. But it has served me well. Like I said I wish I used a smaller gauge wire because my phone is a little bulgy now on the left hand side. Noone will be able to notice but me though its that minuscule, plus when I put a case on it, you can't tell.

Well there you go, hopefully you just fixed your Home button like me and get back to actually closing applications!!! 

Comments

author
nealbo (author)2012-05-03

I had the exact same problem, got caught in rain, iPhone was soaked. But my solution was a lot less risky! The water had brought dirt with it and settled under the button. Using a simple toothbrush (seriously!), no taking it apart, I was able to fix it. It's a bit fiddly, instructions below:

http://nealbo.hubpages.com/hub/Fix-a-broken-unresponsive-or-sticky-iPhone-Home-Button

author
mysteryee (author)2011-11-18

alternatively you can replace the broken tab with a new one (replacing the entire button assembly). quite cheap. http://www.amazon.com/Screen-Button-Cable-Ribbon-iPhone/dp/B002ZX8NWM/ref=sr_1_2?s=wireless&ie=UTF8&qid=1321675173&sr=1-2

author
ssari (author)2011-06-13

tank you very much, now my iphone is thicker because of the wires i used, but it's working...

author
pbodnar (author)2010-12-25

I just got an iphone used on craigslist with the same problem ; a contact was breaking loose on the home button inside, so it was having the obvious problems. At first I tried superglueing one end of it in the hopes the other end would make contact - but the glue interrupted contact, So, I scraped it off, then found my low-temp instant battery powered soldering gun - the coleman - with the carbon tip, and just put a dot of solder on the contact base where the little clip broke off, so the little blob of solder is the same height as the other intact clip. And now it's as good as new. No mess of wires - though a good idea - and no having to heat gun the thing apart to put another home button in. They really should have designed this part differently to allow easier access to change the button. Anyway - this worked well. And still working. I'd put pictures up, but I put it together already and my wife's using it. Better leave well enough alone.

author
jb449 (author)2010-05-06

While replacing the battery on my iPhone, I accidentally broke one of the contact clips on the home button ribbon cable. I thought about fixing it using the method your describing, but I was worried that the heat from the soldering iron would melt the screen. Did the soldering mess up the front of the screen at all?

The way I fixed my phone was by breaking the contact pins off the old battery and soldered them to the antenna/jack side of the phone. I basically inverted the contact mechanism.

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