How to Replace Glass Only Screen on Your IPhone 5s




About: I love Apple products! I have been repairing them since I was a teenager. I have a lot of experience in technology and have a bachelors in computer science.

The phone repair business is booming due to all the cracked screens, why are you not taking the opportunity to make some easy money? Any one can replace a cracked screen with a brand new screen assembly, but this is not what this tutorial is all about. If you are looking to just replace your screen with a screen assembly, check out my other instructable called "How to Repair Your Cracked iPhone 5 in Less Then 20 Steps". What this instructable is all about is making a bigger profit margin from repairs. I have been in the business of buying cracked iphones and ipods on ebay for dirt cheap and replacing the screen with a screen assembly. I easy made over $2,000 a month doing this. I dedicated a lot of time, but I became an expert over time and did each repair and sold it back on ebay the very same day I received them. I would make sure I would have a constant stream of iphones getting shipped to me by constantly monitoring auctions. All I did was search up "cracked iphone". You will be amazed how many there are and how cheap. This was my income while I attended college. Let me tell you, it does NOT take a genius to fix these things!

As time went on, I began to ponder why I could not salvage the lcd. While the glass screen was clearly cracked and needed to be replaced, the lcd was just fine. Just seemed like a waste of resources to be buying a prebuilt assembly when all I need was the glass! However there was no way to get that pesky glass of the lcd display, believe I have tried! Upon further research I found a lot of people selling glass only replacements on ebay. Were these people trying to scam me, or did they know something I did not?

So I took the task to google and did some research. What I found did not surprise me. Hundreds of posts all over the web asking how to separate the lcd from the glass. Yet all the answers yelled back "Impossible!", "cannot be done!", and "Don't waste your time". Surely somebody out there has to have figured out how to separate the cracked screen.

That very day I discovered it. It is a tool called an lcd separator machine. I am not going to describe too much into detail what it does since I want to show you how to use it, but if you want to learn more about the device check out some lcd separator machine reviews and you will understand.

In this instructable, I will guide you how to separate the lcd from the glass on an iphone 5s, and then put on a brand new screen. Again check out my other instructable if you need to know how to take the iphone apart.

What you will need:

  • lcd separator machine
  • molybdenum wire

  • Goof Off spray
  • iPhone 5s mold
  • loca glue
  • replacement glass
  • uv light

Make sure you are working in a dust free area!

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Step 1: Set the Temperature

Turn on your lcd separator machine and put the temperature to 80 degrees. Let the machine heat up. It will tell you when it has reached your desired temperature.

Step 2: Put the Screen Onto the Hot Plate

Once the alloy plate is hot enough, put the broken assembly on to it. Clamp it down with your four clamps that are attached to the machine. Make sure the assembly does not move around.

Step 3: Use the Molybdenum Wire

Slide the molybdenum wire into one side of the assembly. Get it in between the lcd and the broken screen. Gently move the wire back and forth like you would be flossing your teeth. Once you reach the end, go back to the other side. Keep repeating until the lcd is loose and you can take it off.

Step 4: Use That Goof OFF!

You can now turn of the lcd separator machine and toss the broken glass into the trash. The lcd will have the loca adhesive glue on it. You need to take that off so it is nice and clean. I prefer to use Goof Off as it seems to work the best, but you can try any adhesive remover you would like. After the adhesive is removed, wipe the lcd with some rubbing alcohol. Make sure there are no smudges or finger prints on it.

Step 5: Put the Lcd Onto Mold

Once it looks nice and shiny like new, put it into your mold. The mold is meant for the replacement glass to align perfectly. You can try without it, but these molds are pretty cheap.

Step 6: Loca Glue Time

You probably noticed this by now, Apple or any other phone company does not use any regular glue. They use loca glue, which stands for liquid optically clear adhesive. If you want to learn more about it go ahead. All I am going to say is that you cannot use any other glue besides this adhesive. It is meant for touch panels.

Apply the loca glue like the pattern shown in the picture. This pattern is so there are no bubbles.

Step 7: The New Glass Screen

Once you put down the loca glue, it is time for the new screen. Do not rush this step, don't worry the glue does not dry. Put one end of the glass at the end of the lcd and then slowly lower the other end. Once the loca glue gets a hold of the glass it will spread out by itself. No need to put heavy pressure onto the screen as the glue will move to fill out slowly.

Step 8: UV Light

Now the cool part. Loca glue does not dry by itself. The only way it cures is by uv light. You will need to buy a uv lamp. I just took my girlfriend's uv nail dryer, works the same and more convenient :). All it takes is 5 minutes and the glue is dry. Wipe off any excess glue off the sides. Your screen is now ready to be put onto the iphone!

Step 9: Conclusion

This repair does cost an initial investment for the tools, but you will get your money back after 3 repairs. A screen assembly costs over $25, a replacement glass costs $6. If you were to replace the assembly and resell it back on ebay you would make over $60 since iphone 5s are highly priced right now since they are the latest version. So think about it, if you begin to salvage the lcd that is an estimated $19 profit added onto the repair job.

Why give away my money making technique? I recently graduated college and have obtained a full time job that pays me more then I could ever make from the repair business. Making money to pay the bills is a challenging aspect to everyday life, trust me I went through it just like you. I do not do this anymore so I do not care if more people know about it, I rather help someone out then keep it a secret. I just wanted to make this instructable to help answer so many questions that I receive on a daily biases. I hope this helps!

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    11 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Youre kidding right? You never even mentioned that that machine costs several thousand dolars. This is not "easy money" by any stretch

    6 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    As someone who runs a mobile device repair shop, we have 5 of these, and all of them were less than 100$, and never had a client who returned the phone because of replacing the scren poorly ;)


    Reply 3 years ago

    junits15, are you serious? It takes ten seconds to look up "lcd separator" in google to find that the machine will cost you about $50.


    Reply 3 years ago

    No I'm a professional internet liar.


    Reply 3 years ago

    You will not be able to run a professional business with a 50 dollar screen seperator and a heat gun. You will need proper tools and experience, this is not easy money.


    Reply 3 years ago

    If you were someone that knew how to do this kind of work even slightly, then you would know that you dont actually need to buy something like that to do that work.

    If your a talented guy than you can do all this just by using a hot gun and some prying tools. the fact he's got a good machine which probably costs just "250$" or something pretty much says that he gets easy money to buy that equipment. you dont need several "thousand" dollars.

    Thank you GaryLefoof for the very easy to understand tutorial.

    and junits15 dont start saying stuff like there IS Equipment that costs that much money cause i know that. im just saying that you dont NEED all those equipments. Just appreciate the fact he went through the trouble of making this tutorial :)


    Reply 3 years ago

    Oh it seems I've offended the Czar, go open a business fixing IPhones with a head gun, see how long that lasts.


    4 years ago

    You are great guy! Thank you for your generosity and good luck in your new job.

    what about repairing a broken LCD replacement screen and power button? and what about fixing lock key? PCRC gave me a great deal and awesome service but online. To get quality fixing your iPhone to see


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Hey Gary,

    i asked myself where to purchase the Digitizer Touch Screen Glass since theyr differencies in quality ebay or what? can u link me a good example?

    Greetz Nice Tutorial