Guide to IPhone 4 Screen Replacement




About: Carnegie Mellon Design + HCI

If You're Looking for IPhone 5 --- Look no Further! ---> iPhone 5
After having dropped my iPhone 4 while in its case and finding out the screen was cracked, I was determine to find a fix. Before when I had an iPod touch, 2nd generation, the screen was easily removed. I took out the pins from the front of the screen of the iPod; and in the iPhone 3 and 3GS's case the screen popped out after removing two screws. I assumed it would be as simple as that having done the procedure plenty of times for my friends broken gadgets. (You can find the full kit of replacement parts on my website here: South Mountain Repairs) If you're looking for an iPhone 5 tutorial look no further! iPhone 5 Tutorial

After buying this expensive phone my self and having to pay for yearly internet usage, I figured, I would take great care of it and skip the care protection plan. I did take extensive care of it, I used a screen protector along with a case and never had any problems until a few days ago. I was sitting on a bench out side of school (bench was about 1 and a half feet from the ground) with my phone laying beside me I must have gone to grab it, but the phone slid off the bench and hit a mulch surface.

I assumed one little drop couldn't do harm to a helicopter glass grade panel but when I went to pick it up I saw the ungodly crack under the screen protector. I am trying to say that this was an unlikely hit to the phone. As soon as I got home, I looked up replacement parts for the phone and a quick tutorial. My recent fixes with previous Apple products gave me enough experience to say: BUY A FULLY ASSEMBLED REPLACEMENT PART. The vendors on eBay and sites like those are not out to help you, they are just looking for your money. You need to make sure you do the research before you buy the parts. So be smart when you buy the replacement; I proceeded to buy a fully assembled retina display and glass piece. THESE PIECES SHOULD NOT BE BOUGHT SEPARATELY. I STRESS THIS BECAUSE APPLE DOES THE LAMINATION OF THE TWO TOGETHER WHICH IS IMPOSSIBLE TO DO BY HAND. If you have ever done an Apple product repair such as iPod touches or iPhones, you would think that the LCD and the Glass are two separate pieces. Instead on the iPhone 4, Apple decided to use lamination of the two to reduce the glare. That feature was effective and took out the variable of dust particles getting in to the phone but makes the replacement of one twice the amount of money. After seeing all of the sketchy vendors online, I decided to create my own website for parts. (You can find the full kit on my website here: South Mountain Repairs)

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Step 1: Tools, Material, and Advice

I worked in my bathroom because it is the place in my house with the least dust.


1.iPhone (black or white) Not verizon!
2.Full Assembly LCD Digitizer Replacement for iPhone 4.

(You can find the full kit of replacement parts on my website here: South Mountain Repairs)

Not the best option:


1. Philips head size 00 screw driver (try to use a magnetized one)
2. Larger flat head screw driver
3. X-Acto
4. Tweezers/Pliers
5. Torch/Flashlight
6. Pens
7. Note Book
8. Soft surface to place Phone and replacement/ Lint free cloth.


Important Notice: This step is an important notice which I am not responsible for any damage done to your device or any mishaps that may happen along the way. You are preforming this procedure at your own risk.

However, if you do happen to mess up then you can contact me with any questions. If you are going to proceed beyond this step, plan that you will have 5-6 hours of free time ahead of you and a full stomach. (It took me 7 and a half hours to complete mine but that was after looking for plenty of screws on the ground.) This operation does void the warranty but given the fact that AT&T does not provide insurance, I didn't really care.

This operation is not for the fain of heart, steady fingers are necessary!

Remember apple made this as difficult as possible to prevent people doing this, to proceed you have to take out almost every single component in the phone.

(Is that all the warning I need to include?)

Step 3: Turning Off Your Device

Hold the top button on your phone for about 5 seconds, then slide to turn off. If the damage is too extensive and your touch screen does not work simply hold the top and home buttons together for about 10 seconds.

(Find iPhone parts here: South Mountain Repairs)

Step 4: Preparing Your Notebook

Simply trace around the phone on a piece of paper for a schematic on the screws later. This is the primary way I organized everything. I used two ways of holding the screws.

1. Cut a slit in the paper with an X-Acto and slipping in the screw exactly where the screw would be on the real phone.
2. Tap small pieces of tape to the location it would be on the phone
3. Llastly, put the screws on the frame where all of them will be easily differentiable so I just put them on a piece of duct tape for easy storage.

(Find iPhone parts here: South Mountain Repairs)

Step 5: Remove Sim Card Slot

With a simple paper clip, push in on the Sim Card slot hole and the holder should pop up. A bit of pressure is needed. Easy as pie!

(Find iPhone parts here:South Mountain Repairs)

Step 6: Removing Back Panel

1. Lay your phone with its back facing you.
2. Simply unscrew the small screws at the bottom of the phone with your Philips head screw driver.
3. Push the front cover upward, it should come loose.
4. Place the screws in an organized place such as the photo shown below.

(Find iPhone parts here: South Mountain Repairs)

Step 7: Removing the Battery

1. Remove a screw on the iPhone, (look at photo for reference).
2. Gently pry this up from the side opposite to the battery and make sure to keep the small black piece that comes out with it, organize these in your notebook below.
3. The battery takes a lot of force! be careful this pull the tab that says authorized service provider only. This should help you out but it still takes a bit of time to loosen it from its adhesive. Do not use a screw driver to take this out, it may short the battery, a simple guitar pick will do the trick.

(Find iPhone parts here: South Mountain Repairs)

Step 8: Removing Protection Plate 1

For this process you will need to base your actions on the images below.
1. Make sure to organize the screws and make small sketches of reference points, mine was the camera.
2. Remember that when taking out the plate after all of the screws are removed there are two hooks that you need to take into count when your are wiggling it out.

Step 9: Removing Protection Plate 2

For this step you will be in close contact with the mother board so be extremely careful:
1. Simply remove two screws which are indicated below and the plate should come off, no hooks.
2. Remember set these aside and draw where they were.
3. Here is the difficult part, under the shield there is a connector, simply pry it up from the top side of your phone. BE CAREFUL!

Step 10: Removing Vibrating Motor

These steps are as usual and easy ones:
1. Simply unscrew the screws below and set aside the entire motor.
2. Remember sketch this out and organize!

Step 11: Removing Connectors

These steps are possibly the more delicate moves:
1. Take a saftey pry tool/ a guitar pick and gently pry each ribbon cable connector up, use the photos to see which way to pry.
2. Remove the camera after this step no hooks or screws.

Step 12: Removing Speaker/Microphone Set

For this step you will have to go back to the small connector under the shield on step two. Gently peel away the long ribbon cable. It is vital that you do this carefully because this can easily rip. After it is peeled away and laying gingerly at its side remove the two screws indicated below. Then after removing each screw use a flat head screw driver or a safety pry tool to disconnect the speaker connector, this is shown on the 6th picture. Organize each part as you have been doing. you can now slide the black plastic component out.

Step 13: Removing the Mother Board

This step is directly handling the mother board of the iPhone so i can not stress this enough, be careful. first you want to proceed by removing two screws, one flat head and one Philips, the Philips screw is hidden under a water sensor that can be scraped off. The photos below will show you the difference. after you remove those screws and organized them in you sketch begin by freeing up the top of the mother board from the ribbon cables up top. then slowly take it off. proceed with caution.

Step 14: Removing More Screws

This is probably the most time consuming step in the entire process for this you will need to remove 10 screws, 6 larger ones with washers on the sides classified as A screws, and 4 smaller ones in the corners classified as B screws. Follow the photo below for thier exact positions. Organize as shown below on a piece of tape.

Step 15: Removing Adhesive From Front Glass Panel

Take some time to slowly guide a guitar pick around the edges of the metal frame and the plastic boarder, it really does not matter if you put some force, even if your not getting any where with a pick use a small knife and make a small entry for your pick and glide it around a few times to take off the adhesive. Then here is your moment of glory! take off your front glass panel! make sure you thread the ribbon cables trough the frame before your take it completely off.

Step 16: Installing Your New Screen

Before you install your screen.
1.Make sure you have taken off the clear adhesive on both ends of the phone. see photo for detail.
2.Make sure that clear camera adjustment is still on phone. see photo for detail
3.Make sure the speaker grill is set on your new display!. see photo for detail!
4.Make sure both ribbon cables are standing upright and are parallel to each other. see photo for detail.

Installing screen, i could not take a photo of this because i was putting it together two handed. Simply guide the new ribbon cables through the hole that you took the old display out of, you sort of have to play around till the cable and a small metal box fit snugly inside the enclosure. the 3rd photo should give you a good example of how the cable should fit in.

Step 17: Putting It All Back Together

Im not going to go into detail but just follow each step backwards. Enjoy your amazing scratch free crack less retina display phone:)

Tips: The mother board goes on top of the screw socket for the speaker.
When you finish make sure every thing works go through a check list.
Digitizer, pull your finger along each level of apps to see if it works,
Speakers, crank up the tunes,
Camera, take a few photos.

(You can find the full kit of replacement parts on my website here: South Mountain Repairs)



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55 Discussions


1 year ago

This is supposed to be a Class on Canning?! <====

A bad link in a Newsletter!! <====


3 years ago

Worked perfect thanks to your instructions! But...there are 2 tiny rubber pieces I found on my paper after assembly I have NO idea what they fell off of or if they are critical to the phone. Any ideas?


3 years ago

hey can i use touch screen of any other phone on my device

will it work??

1 reply

Reply 3 years ago

52inch smart TV display will plug right in.

No you cannot use touch screen of any other phone -- unless the other phone is a iphone 4


4 years ago

I recently dropped my ipod touch 4th gen and the ipod got a crack on the front panel.My ipod is working fine.There is screen response even in the cracked areas. I want to know that do I hv to replace the whole lcd assembly


4 years ago on Introduction

that's a really good instruction, i completed the screen replacement with a screen from flashechllc store.

1 reply

4 years ago

Ok so i was wondering i got the front piece for my phone nut the back ribbion broke so i was wondering do u need both of the ribbions for your iphone screen to work?

1 reply

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

Yes, one of the ribbons is for the LCD, the other is for the digitizer. You might need to purchase a new part again.


4 years ago on Introduction

ok.. Quick question before I embark on this task. I have purchased all of the necessary tools and parts for the screen replacement, but am wondering now if the screen needs replacing or if there is a loose cable inside. I dropped it a few times, but there is no cracking, just a strip of black/blue along the side of the screen. Does anybody know? Thanks.

1 reply

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction


You have a LCD damaged. In this tutorial he is replacing the external glass only. You can follow these steps tutorial and replace the LCD screen as well.

Hope its helps,


4 years ago on Introduction

Great instructable, I used it to disassemble an IPhone 4, and as a basic guideline for disassembling an IPhone 4s. Unfortunately I was hoping the screen on the 4s was the same as the screen on the 4. Not so, the connectors for the A screws are in different places. Ah Well, now I am using the 'ible as a guide on how to put them both back together. :)


4 years ago

I wish I would have seen your site sooner. I can't remember were some parts go. If I send you a picture could you help. Also I am missing some screws. Do you know were to get more. Any help would be appreciated. Icem987


5 years ago on Introduction

Hi, thanks for the instructions, they are perfect. I have a slight problem though, ive now got a white screen. I have tried re-booting etc and checked all the wires are present and correct but its still no good, can you help please ?

Thanks in advance



5 years ago on Step 7

What should i do if i stripped a screw


5 years ago on Introduction

Thank you very much for your help!!! I've just changed my screen, it took me about 3 hours, but notice that I'm a girl, and my native language is not english! Even though , your post helped me a lot with my schematic and I watched some video tutorials during the repairings ! I waited almost a month till my replacement parts and tools arrived and I was anxious to do it myself, cuz here in Bulgaria, othorized repair shops want tripple the coast I bought the items ! For the hour my Iphone 4 works again it is doing fine, but I'm a bit worried for my Wi-Fi signal, becaouse it's a bit low. So I was wondering if I did something wrong when I repaired it?

1 reply

Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

I'm a woman and I did not struggle with this repair so I think we can factor out gender as causative.


5 years ago on Step 2

Where I would find the original Apple screen ? Or we have to use the compatible one ?


5 years ago

any one need touch screen please contact me ,from CUBE electronics in China