Introduction: 1st Generation IPad Mini Digitizer Repair

The purpose of this guide is to walk you through the removal and replacement process of the glass digitizer of the 1st Generation iPad Mini.

Required Tools:

Required Parts and Materials:

Step 1: Before You Begin

The iPad looks uniform from the outside, but on the inside are delicate components that can be damaged if handled too roughly. Familiarize yourself with these areas before beginning and apply caution when approaching these areas.

These parts are:

  • Front facing camera (top)
  • Wifi antenna (bottom left)
  • GPS antenna (bottom right)

Step 2: Removing the Screen

We recommend that you wear safety glasses to protect your eyes, you should also be careful and aware whenever operating the heat gun.

  • Turn your heat onto a medium or low setting. Temperatures may vary depending on your heating device, so you may need to adjust heat to what suits you.
    • We’re using a heat re-work station, since we repair thousands of iPads, but you can use a blow dryer or generic heat gun at low temperatures.
  • On your clean and secure workstation, place the iPad in front of you in a portrait orientation. Make sure that the power button is away from you and the home button is closest to you.
  • Start by heating the bottom left corner of the glass around the edge. Be careful to only apply heat to the glass that covers the frame and not the glass that covers the LCD. Refer to annotated image above for clarification.

Step 3:

  • Insert the tip of your X-acto knife about 1/4 inch into the small gap between the glass and the metal frame near the corner you just finished heating.
  • The blade may not go in easily, if you feel too much resistance you may need to stop and apply more heat.
  • Once you've inserted the X-acto, insert the flat end of the black plastic spudger into the space that you've created. Apply more heat when needed if you encounter more resistance.

Step 4:

  • Start to slowly slide the plastic spudger along the left side of the iPad between the metal frame and the glass screen. Apply a bit more heat to the screen to loosen the adhesive when you feel too much resistance.
  • If the glass breaks or the spudger slips out and you lose your place, use your X-acto blade to create a new insertion point for your spudger further along the side.
  • Leave your spudger in place between the metal frame and glass screen when applying heat or using the X-acto to stop the adhesive from sticking.

Step 5:

  • Continue moving the spudger along the left side of the iPad between the metal frame and glass screen.
  • Make your away around the corner using the same technique you used in previous steps. Heat the glass digitizer or create a new insertion point with your X-acto blade when needed.
    • Be careful as you near the front facing camera at the top of the iPad. Do not use heat directly over the camera and be careful when sliding the spudger past the camera. Use minimal heat here and use the spudger to slowly pry the digitizer away from the metal frame.
  • Continue past the front camera.

Step 6:

  • Continue moving your plastic spudger past the camera and around the right top corner onto the right side the iPad.
  • Continue the technique of using your spudger to separate the glass from the frame, using heat when you encounter resistance, and using the X-acto to create an insertion point if needed.
    • Stop when you get to bottom right corner of the iPad. You are nearing another delicate component, GPS antenna cable, that requires special attention.

Step 7:

Take a second to again familiarize your self with the locations of the two antenna cables at the bottom of the iPad.

  • GPS antenna cable (bottom right)
  • Wifi antenna cable (bottom left)

Step 8:

  • Leave your spudger in-between the glass and metal frame at the bottom right corner.
  • Apply heat to the glass digitizer over the location of the antenna cable. It's okay to use a bit more heat here, the heat really helps release the adhesive that connects the cables to the digitizer.
  • Use the spudger to pry upwards on the glass frame near the GPS antenna cable and create space. You should be able to peer in-between the glass and frame and see the glass start to separate from the cable.
  • Once you are confident the adhesive is separated, slide your spudger over the GPS antenna cable along the frame towards the Wifi antenna cable.

Step 9:

  • Continue using the technique you used in the last step. Apply heat over the location of the left antenna cable (Wifi cable), use your spudger to pry up on the glass digitizer to separate the adhesive.
  • If you use enough heat here, as you pry you should start to see the glass lift and seperate on its own.
  • Move your spudger over and past the wifi antenna cable and through the bottom left corner where you initially started.

Step 10: Removing the LCD

  • You may have to run your spudger between the glass and metal frame once more to completely free any adhesive that may still be stuck.
  • Lift the glass from the top of the iPad, and fold it over towards the bottom of the iPad. The digitizer is still connected to the iPad at this point by a cable.
  • There are four 3.9 mm Phillips screws that hold LCD in place. Remove the gray foam that covers the right tow screws and then remove all four screws. Set them aside.

Step 11:

The LCD is still held down by two light adhesive strips on either side of the back of the LCD and at the bottom by tape. You will need to remove the adhesive to safely remove the LCD without damaging it.

  • Use your spudger to slightly lift the top right corner of the LCD, beneath the screw hole is a good insertion point.
  • Insert your spudger between the LCD and metal backplate, push the spudger down the right side of LCD releasing the adhesive stip. You will fill the LCD start to loosen up.
  • Remove the spudger.

Step 12:

  • Re-insert the spudger beneath the top right corner of the LCD.
  • This time push the spudger horizontally across the top of the iPad.

Step 13:

  • Now use your spudger to slightly lift the top left corner of the LCD. Use the screw hole as your insertion point
  • Slide the spudger vertically down the left side of the LCD between the LCD and metal backplate. This will release the adhesive on the left side. The LCD should feel looser now.

Step 14:

The LCD is still connected at the bottom by two pieces of adhesive tape.

  • Hold and lightly pull up on the top of the LCD with one hand. Insert the end of your spudger into the gap in the right side adhesive tape and LCD created by you pulling on the screen.
  • Rotate your spudger outward to release the the right side adhesive
  • Repeat steps one and two for the left side adhesive tape.

Step 15:

  • Lift the top of the LCD and lay it on your workstation like you did the digitizer in an earlier step or like in the above picture.
  • Now you will remove the 15 screws that hold the metal backplate in place.
    • Start by removing the two top right 2.6 mm screws. Set them aside.
    • Next remove the other thirteen 1.7 mm screws. Set them aside. Make sure to clearly separate these screws as they look similar in size to the screws you will remove in the next few steps.

Step 16:

  • Remove the three 1.3 mm screws securing the connector shield. Set them aside.
  • Use your tweezers to remove the connector shield.

Step 17:

  • Use the flat end of your spudger to gently pry the battery connector up from its socket. Be very careful to pry up on the battery connector and not the socket its self. If you pry up on the logic board socket, you may break the connector entirely.
  • Again, use the flat end of your spudger to gently pry up the LCD connector. Remove the LCD and set it aside.

Step 18:

  • Use the flat end of your spudger to gently pry loose the digitizer connector.
  • From the side, insert the flat end of your spudger beneath the digitizer connector and pry up to release the adhesive holding it to the iPad. Remove the old digitizer and set it aside.

Step 19: Clean the IPad

  • Use your screen opening tool to clean any left over adhesive, glass, and debris from the bezel of the iPad. Also check that there is no glass or debris inside the body of the iPad.
    • This step is very important as any debris or glass that is left on the bezel when you install the new digitizer may cause the glass to crack.

Step 20: Taping the IPad

  • Tape your iPad using the thin 2 mm double sided adhesive along the sides of the iPad bezel where the original adhesive once was.
  • Use the 1/4 inch tape along the top and bottom of the iPad bezel. Do not cover the front camera at the top or the home button slot at the bottom. Use a small piece of 2mm adhesive to fill any space on the bezel directly above the front camera.
    • Refer to above image for clarification.

Step 21: Preparing the Digitizer

  • Lay your new digitizer face down on your workstation
  • Use your spudger to gently remove any adhesive completely from the screen. Be careful not to scratch the digitizer and remove the paint. The adhesive that comes with the screen is not that great and will eventually come apart if used.
  • Next remove the plastic covering the adhesive strip on the digitizer connector. Fold the connector over.

Step 22: Reassembly

  • Place your new digitizer next to the iPad so that you can connect it. Gently use your finger to press the digitizer connector into its socket.
  • Gently use your finger to push the battery connector into its socket.

Step 23:

  • Lay your LCD next to the iPad so that you can connect it. Use your finger to gently press the LCD connector into its socket.
  • Line the metal connector shield up with its screw holes and replace the three screws that you removed earlier.

Step 24:

  • Next place the backplate in place and screw in the 15 screws that you removed earlier. Remember that the two longer 2.6 mm screws belong in the top right screw holes.

Step 25:

  • Fit the LCD in place inside the iPad and screw in the four screws that you removed earlier that hold the screen in place.

Step 26: Check the IPad

With the iPad on a flat surface and before removing the plastic cover on the adhesive, turn the iPad and fold the screen over so that you can check it. You're going to turn on and check the functionality of the iPad to ensure that everything is working before we close it.

Things to check:

  • Open both cameras
  • Click home button and ensure it's responsive
  • Check that LCD looks fine Make sure that power, volume, and mute switch still work
  • Connect to a wifi network and ensure signal is strong
  • Long press an app icon so that you can move it around and run it across the screen to make sure there are no unresponsive spots on the touch glass

Step 27:

  • Take your old digitizer, turn it over and look to left corners. There should be two magnets there, one in the bottom and top left corners. If one or more of the magnets is not here, it may have stuck to some of the original adhesive removed.
  • Use your spudger or X-acto blade to remove these magnets.
  • Place one magnet in the top right corner of the iPad onto of the LCD screw hole, and place one in the bottom right corner of the iPad onto of the LCD screw hole. The magnets should sit below the edge of the bezel and not obstruct the new digitizer when closed.

Step 28: Final Preparation & Cleaning

  • Remove the plastic film cover on both sides of the new digitizer. Be careful not to get any finger prints on the inside of the digitizer screen.
  • With the plastic film still covering the double sided adhesive, close the iPad and give it a thorough inspection. Check that there are no finger prints, smudges, or dust caught inside. Use a clean cloth and screen cleaner or isopropyl alcohol to wipe clean any prints. Compressed air or canned air works great for removing the dust.

Step 29: Closing the IPad

  • Remove the plastic film covering all the double sided adhesive tape.

Step 30:

  • Set the digitizer inside the iPad bezel. Only push down on the top two corners of the digitizer. Leave the bottom two corners unsealed. The digitizer cable should still be holding the digitizer up at the bottom, stoping the digitizer from closing.

Step 31:

  • Use the flat end of your plastic spudger to push in on the digitizer cable in the bottom right corner. Your objective is make sure the cable folds inwards towards the LCD as you close the iPad. If this cable is not folded inwards and gets caught between the bezel and digitizer, the digitizer will not seal properly.
  • Watch as you close the bottom of the digitizer and make sure the digitizer cable is folded properly and out of the way. Once you are confident the cable is out of the way, completely seal the screen.

Step 32:

  • Use your your fingers to lightly press down on the entirety of the iPad bezel (the top, sides, and bottom). Inspect the iPad to make sure that the new digitizer sits flush with the metal bezel.
  • Your done. Congratulations on successfully installing your new iPad Mini digitizer!