AT&T/GSM iPhone 4: Ultimate DIY repair guide
Everything you need to know to do-it-yourself (DIY) repair your AT&T/GSM iPhone 4. Whether you're out of warranty or your iPhone 4 has suffered accidental damage, we've got you covered!
If you have an AT&T/GSM iPhone 4 that's showing it's age and exhibiting some hardware issues, and you don't have the benefit of AppleCare or insurance, we can help you give it some love and get it back in working order. Whether it's time to replace that problem battery, fix that cracked screen, or get that broken Home button back in working order, iMore will help you get the longest life possible out of your iPhone 4, and walk you step by step through all the major repairs, with detailed instructions, photographs, and links to high quality parts from suppliers we trust.
Not exactly sure what the issue is? Read the descriptions for each repair below and match up the symptoms. Also make sure you check back often and bookmark this page as we'll be updating and adding even more guides on a regular basis.
- How to replace the battery in a GSM/AT&T iPhone 4
- How to replace the back casing on a GSM/AT&T iPhone 4
- How to replace a cracked screen on a GSM/AT&T iPhone 4
- How to replace the Home button on a GSM/AT&T iPhone 4
- How to fix a stuck or broken On/Off button on a GSM/AT&T iPhone 4
- How to replace the vibrator assembly in a GSM/AT&T iPhone 4
- How to replace the speaker assembly in a GSM/AT&T iPhone 4
- How to replace the rear camera in a GSM/AT&T iPhone 4
- How to replace the cellular antenna in a GSM/AT&T iPhone 4
- How to fix a blown earpiece in a GSM/AT&T iPhone 4
- How to replace the dock connector in a GSM/AT&T iPhone 4
- How to replace the front facing FaceTime camera in a GSM/AT&T iPhone 4
- How to choose quality colored parts for your iPhone 4
- How to replace the headphone jack and volume control cable in a GSM/AT&T iPhone 4
- How to fix sound issues with the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S
- How to check for water damage on an iPhone 4
How to replace the battery in a GSM/AT&T iPhone 4
If you're iPhone 4 is going on a few years old and your battery just isn't what it was before, replacing the battery can make a huge difference and possibly prolong the life of your device another year if not longer.
An iPhone 4 battery replacement is a super easy repair to perform and only takes about 10 minutes. It'll also cost you a lot less than shelling out money for a brand new phone, especially if you're out of warranty.
Symptoms of a dead or dying battery can include drastically reduced battery life, random reboots, and sluggishness even after a restore. In rare instances, a completely dead battery may result in an iPhone 4 only powering on when plugged into a charging source and when unplugged, the iPhone will turn off instantly.
How to replace the back casing on a GSM/AT&T iPhone 4
If you've cracked the back casing on your iPhone 4 or just want to change it out for a different color, an iPhone 4 back replacement is one of the easiest repairs to perform but if you need some help along the way, check out our guide for reference.
How to replace a cracked screen on a GSM/AT&T iPhone 4
Whether you've cracked just the front glass on your GSM iPhone 4, the touch screen isn't responding, or the LCD looks pixelated or has display issues, this is the repair you want to perform. A front digitizer replacement should resolve any issues with lines through the screen, dead pixels or pixelation, a grey screen due to a bad drop, and obviously a shattered screen. This is one of the harder repairs to perform so proceed with caution.
How to replace the Home button on a GSM/AT&T iPhone 4
The iPhone 4 has been known to have Home button issues for quite a while now. No, WD-40 will not fix it. If anything, using a substance like WD-40 will cause more harm than good. The problem with the Home button almost always stems from the cable becoming worn over time from so many presses. It's flimsy and Apple should have designed it better.
The only thing that will correct Home button issues is a flex cable replacement. Whether it's not responding at all anymore, you've got to push down harder than you should, or it's registering single and double taps funny, a flex cable replacement will fix the issue 99.9% of the time.
How to fix a stuck or broken On/Off button on a GSM/AT&T iPhone 4
The iPhone 4, particularly the GSM variant, is prone to issues with the on/off (power) button. You may need to DIY replace it if you have symptoms such as the button being recessed into the phone or becoming extremely hard to push down. In severe circumstances, the button may lose the ability to push down at all.
This issue actually stems from a worn out power button sensor cable. Replacing it will almost always alleviate the issue.
How to replace the vibrator assembly in a GSM/AT&T iPhone 4
If your GSM iPhone 4 vibrator functionality isn't working and the switch seems okay, the actual vibrator assembly could be burnt out. Replacing the vibrator assembly is a fairly easy repair and will only require about 5 minutes of your time. It's also a heck of a lot cheaper than picking up a brand new iPhone.
How to replace the speaker assembly in a GSM/AT&T iPhone 4
If your loud speaker isn't working in your GSM iPhone 4, you could need to replace the speaker assembly. A good way to know if this is the repair you need is if your speakerphone function doesn't work, no music will play out of the bottom speaker but will work when you've got headphones plugged in, or if the sound is distorted when on speakerphone or while playing music.
How to replace the rear camera in a GSM/AT&T iPhone 4
If you're having image quality issues with the camera in your GSM iPhone 4, it may be time to replace it. One thing to be certain of before proceeding is that the issue is with the actual camera and not the rear housing. The plastic lens that covers your camera is part of the back panel, not the camera itself. Inspect it and make sure it isn't the plastic that is scratched and causing issues. If that is the case, you'll need to perform a back replacement instead.
If there are no blemishes or scratches over the camera lens cover on the rear casing, the actual camera could be the culprit. If that's the case, follow our guide to replace it. It's a relatively easy repair and should be doable for most, even beginners.
How to replace the cellular antenna in a GSM/AT&T iPhone 4
If you're having reception issues on your GSM iPhone 4 the culprit could be the antenna itself which is attached to the speaker housing towards the bottom of the device. Symptoms could range from poor service even in good coverage areas to no service at all. There have also been instances of the iPhone 4 not picking up on 3G signals due to a bad cellular antenna. If these issues sound like you, a cellular antenna DIY replacement should solve the problem.
You'll follow almost the same procedure you would for a speaker assembly replacement.
How to replace a blown earpiece in a GSM/AT&T iPhone 4
If the earpiece in your iPhone 4 either produces terrible feedback, a shrill noise, or isn't working at all, a DIY earpiece replacement can fix the issue. Typically if the earpiece is bad you'll still be able to place and receive calls like normal, you just can't hear people on the other end. Enabling speakerphone allows you to hear them again but the internal earpiece cuts out or produces no sound. If this sounds similar to your issue, an earpiece replacement is probably what needs to be performed.
How to replace the dock connector and lower mic in a GSM/AT&T iPhone 4
If your GSM iPhone 4 won't recognize a charger when it's plugged in, it may be time to replace the dock connector assembly. Dock connector issues can stem from using a faulty cable or charger, moisture in the dock connector, or an issue with the 30-pin connector inside the charge port.
If you've got issues with the microphone, this should solve those woes as well. Typically if you've got this issue you experience people not being able to hear you while on a call or when recording video or audio there is no sound being output.
If your iPhone recognizes a charger but dies when you disconnect it, try a battery replacement first as that could be the issue.
How to replace the front facing FaceTime camera in a GSM/AT&T iPhone 4
If you're having issues with the front facing camera on your GSM iPhone 4, which is used most often for FaceTime calls, replacing it yourself isn't too big of a challenge if you've got a bit of patience. Symptoms could range from a blacked out camera to distortion to lines through the screen only when you're on a FaceTime call.
How to choose the highest quality colored parts for your iPhone 4
If you're looking into performing a color conversion on your iPhone 4 it's always a good idea to make sure you order high quality parts. Let's face it, eBay and other online resellers have a nasty habit of selling parts that are DOA or issues crop up after a few days. Making sure you use a quality supplier right from the start will save you a lot of headaches.
Apple never made colored parts so you won't find genuine OEM parts anywhere and if anyone claims they are OEM, turn around and run the other way. It doesn't mean there aren't quality parts floating around out there though. Check out our guide of what to look for so you can be prepared before you even place an order.
How to replace the headphone jack and volume control cable in a GSM/AT&T iPhone 4
If you're having issues with your headphone jack or your volume buttons and/or mute switch aren't functioning correctly, replacing the cable that runs to them can fix any issues you may have.
One cable controls the function for the following functions -
- Mute switch
- Volume buttons
How to fix sound issues in an iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S
While most sound in the iPhone 4 and 4S may be dictated by the loud speaker assembly or earpiece, they're not the only components that have to do with sound. Actually, the dock connector and a few other cables can cause you to have sound issues.
The iPhone 4 and 4S is known to have sound issues where system sounds seem to work when you preview them but they don't actually ring or system sounds altogether don't work but music will play. Sound weird? It is. But there's a fix for it.
How to check for water damage before purchasing a used iPhone 4
If you're thinking about picking up a used iPhone 4 from eBay, Craigslist, or any other online source, it's always a good idea to make sure the device hasn't seen any previous water damage before actually committing to the purchase.
You can check some sensors externally and a few internally if the seller will allow it. To make sure you're getting the most for your money and you're not buying a non-working iPhone 4, check out our guide before purchasing
More DIY guides and help
If you've got a CDMA iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or other type of iPhone, we may have guides that can help you fix those as well. If you don't see a guide that can help or can't figure out exactly what the issue is, you can always check out our mod and DIY forums for answers to many questions. If you still can't find what you're looking for, feel free to shoot an e-mail to email@example.com with guide suggestions and questions.
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