How to replace the rear iSight camera in an iPhone 4

How to replace an iPhone 4 battery

Replacing the rear camera in your GSM or CDMA iPhone 4 isn't a very difficult DIY repair, as long as you have the right tools and parts. We'll walk you through step by step and show you how to get your camera back into working order in no time. While the GSM and CDMA variants are slightly different, the guide will work for both. So grab your tools and your sad iPhone 4 and follow along!

Disclaimer: As with any repair, iMore can not be held responsible for any damage you may do to your device. It's also worth considering that opening up your device to perform any repair or modification can and will void your Apple warranty. If you don't feel comfortable opening your device, don't. Use extreme care and caution when performing a repair on any device.

What you need for a DIY iPhone 4 rear camera repair

iMore recommends using only quality and genuine parts from a reputable supplier like eTech Parts. They have quality parts, tools, and much more for all your repair needs.

  • Rear camera replacement - Buy now
  • 5-point security screwdriver - Buy now
  • Standard #000 Phillips screwdriver - Buy now
  • Spudger tool - Buy now
  • Razor blade - Buy Now
  • iSesamo Opening tool (not necessary but awesome for prying up cables and getting under adhesive) - Buy Now

Power off your iPhone 4

Before performing any repair, always power off your device before removing any screws or parts.

Remove the back of your iPhone

  1. First remove the bottom 2 dock connector screws in your iPhone 4. Use either your #00 screwdriver or the five point depending on whether or not your iPhone 4 has security screws in the dock connector. Almost all newer devices will have security screws.
  2. To remove the back simply slide the back upwards and lift it off gently.
  3. Set the back and 2 dock connector screws aside.

Before we move on to actually replacing the camera. You may want to make sure your back plate is not the culprit if your camera is producing bad images. Check and make sure neither the inside or outside of the lens cover is scratches or cloudy. If it is, try taking a picture with your back cover removed. If the pictures turn out fine, you'll just need to replace your iPhone 4 back cover. If your images are still blurry or the camera does not function at all, you'll need to continue on to replace the actual rear camera component.

Remove the battery

  1. To remove the battery you'll need to remove the #00 screw holding the battery clip in place. Remove this screw located to the bottom left of the battery.
  2. The metal clip on the battery is what clips the battery to the logic board. You'll need to pop this clip up with your plastic pry tool. Simply stick the end of your pry tool underneath the clip and gently pull upwards until it unfastens from the logic board.
  3. To remove the battery, I do not recommend using the plastic pull tab. There is quite a bit of adhesive underneath the battery and the tab will normally just rip off or you can bend the battery. Instead, run your pry tool along the right side of the battery and break the adhesive that way. Once the battery is free from the adhesive, you can pull the battery out of the phone. There are no other connectors holding it in.
  4. GSM iPhone 4 users will notice a tiny grounding clip sitting underneath where you unscrewed the battery. Set this aside for replacement during reassembly. This is a grounding clip for your antenna. Make sure you put it back in place before reconnecting your battery. CDMA users will not see this as it is in a different location.

Remove the top logic board shield

  1. There are 5 screws holding the logic board shield in place. Depending on whether you have a CDMA or GSM iPhone 4, your shield will look different. The process is the same though. Simply remove the 5 screws holding it in place. Just be sure to remember which holes they came out of as the screws are different sizes. I always keep them in order of how they came out.
  2. Next you'll need to remove the shield. Both models have a tiny clip built into the shield holding it in place. (Refer to the photo above.) Pop it up with your pry tool and you should be able to slide the shield up fairly easily. Just take care not to bend it or break off a clip. The Verizon variant seats into the logic board with two tiny notches underneath the camera connection. When reassembling, just line up the two notches on the shield and it will slide into place easily. For the AT&T model, just make sure the clip in the photo above is the first part you insert and it will line up nicely again.

Replace the rear camera

  1. There is only one connector holding the camera to the logic board. Simply remove this cable in the picture above using your pry tool. Gently lift upwards and it will pop right off.
  2. Next gently lift the camera out of the device. You'll notice there is a tiny tab that is seated underneath the LCD and digitizer cables to the right.
  3. To insert the new camera, start by sliding the tabbed part underneath the two cables and then push down gently to seat the camera. Try not to touch the lens at all.
  4. Re-fasten the cable to the logic board.

And ...done!

That's it! All you'll need to do now is reassemble your device in the reverse order and you'll be taking pictures again in no time.

Have you done this repair yourself? Let us know how it went! Want to know how to perform another type of iPhone repair or modification? Send me suggestions to ally.kazmucha@tipb.com or leave a comment in our brand new Mod and DIY Repair Forum!

For repair questions or to inquire about mail-in repairs through PXLFIX, please follow us on Twitter or e-mail us directly!

Allyson Kazmucha

Help and how to editor for iMore. I can take apart an iPhone in less than 6 minutes. I also like coffee and Harry Potter more than anyone really should.

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There are 9 comments. Add yours.

Binja says:

I have a very stupid question.
Could one potentially put an iPhone 4S camera into an iPhone 4? I assume that a backplate swap would be necessary as well. But would it work?

xxDruMMer BoYxx says:

That's not a stupid question that's actually pretty cool. I'd also like to know...who knows maybe they make the same parts?

Binja says:

That's what I was thinking.
I question if the alternate software builds might cause you not to see the benefit of the additional megapixels. And considering the additional lenses, I question whether or not space would permit such a mod, but... The new camera is my main drive for wanting a 4S. My iPhone has turned me into an avid photographer and I would love to cheat the system and upgrade my camera without shelling out the $800 to upgrade early.

Allyson Kazmucha says:

Would not work. Connector and opening are not the same size

Victor says:

I know Its probably for naught, but is there any way of replacing the camera in the iPod touch with something decent? Preferably the iPhone camera? Thanks!

Georgia says:

Love your Mod videos Ally !!
Keep rocking them out

forum informatique says:

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Jason Harris2 says:

After 5 months of using just the front camera (which is AWFUL on an iphone) and after seeing lifeproof FAIL miserably (which caused the destruction of the camera) i replaced my back camera today, the camera runs for about 30 bucks, and the toolset was about 9.00, all in all a neat experience, im not fond of how tiny things are in the iphone but i am a pc tech so i am familiar with them, this guide helped me out, although lots of the plates and screws and covers mentioned were not in my iphone, all i had to do was remove the two security screws and pop the battery lose, but the new camera in and voila reinstall and reboot and my camera works again, thanks Imore for the tips!