How to fix the vibrator assembly in a Verizon or Sprint iPhone 4

How to fix the vibrator assembly in a Verizon or Sprint iPhone 4

If you've got a Verizon or Sprint iPhone 4 and the vibrate function has mysteriously stopped working, you may have a bad or burnt out vibrator assembly. If you're out of warranty and don't want to shell out for a replacement iPhone 4, a DIY repair is a lot less expensive. With a little bit of patience, we'll walk you through how to get your iPhone 4 in working order again.

Disclaimer: As with any repair, neither iMore nor PXLFIX can 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.

How to fix a broken vibrator assembly in a Verizon or Sprint iPhone 4

What you need for a DIY CDMA (Verizon or Sprint) iPhone 4 vibrator assembly replacement

PXLFIX 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.

  • CDMA iPhone 4 (please note there ARE internal differences between the GSM and CDMA models - this guide strictly deals with the CDMA model - in the US, that means Verizon or Sprint)
  • Replacement vibrator assembly - CDMA vibrator assembly part
  • #00 Phillips screwdriver
  • Flat blade screwdriver
  • Pry tool or spudger (you may need a handheld razor blade as well)
  • Security screwdriver (to remove the 2 screws in your dock connector, all CDMA models will come with security screws)

INSERT VIDEO HERE

Power off your iPhone 4

iPhone slide to power off

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

Remove the back

    Remove the dock connector screws on your CDMA iPhone 4
  1. First remove the bottom 2 dock connector screws in your iPhone 4. Use your five point security screwdriver for this as all versions of the CDMA iPhone 4 have security screws in the dock connector.
  2. Remove the back of your CDMA iPhone 4
  3. To remove the back simply slide the back upwards and lift it off gently.
  4. Set the back and 2 dock connector screws aside.

Organize your screws

It's very important to make sure you remember where you are pulling screws from, so place them in an arrangement that you'll understand and remember. I normally lay them out the same way every time I disassemble a device so I remember where they came from and how they go back in. They're all different sizes so trying to figure out where they go if you get them mixed up probably won't be fun.

Remove the battery

    Remove battery screw iPhone 4 CDMA
  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. Remove battery clip iPhone 4 CDMA
  3. 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.
  4. Remove battery iPhone 4 CDMA
  5. 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.
  6. Fold over battery tab on iPhone 4
  7. I typically fold the plastic tab over while working on the iPhone 4 to keep it out of the way while I'm disassembling parts. It's not necessary but convenient.

Remove the grounding clip

To the left of where you disconnected the battery you'll see another screw holding in a grounding clip over the antenna. We'll need to remove it.

    Remove grounding clip screw on CDMA iPhone 4
  1. Unscrew the one screw holding the grounding clip in place with your #00 Phillips screwdriver.
  2. CDMA iPhone 4 grounding clip for antenna
  3. Gently lift the grounding clip out of the device. It's very tiny as you can see above. Take care not to misplace it or lose it.

Remove the dock connector shield and disconnect the cable

    Remove dock connector shield iPhone 4 CDMA
  1. There is a shield held on with two screws covering the dock connector cable. Remove the two screws holding it in place and set the shield and screws aside, remembering where they came from. (They are labeled as screw 1 & 2 in the photo above.)
  2. Remove dock connector cable iPhone 4 CDMA
  3. Next, use your pry tool to pry up the actual dock connector cable. Be careful as there is adhesive holding the cable in place as well. Peel back the adhesive gently to free the cable.

Unclip the antenna from the logic board

Underneath where you removed the grounding clip, you'll see a tiny circular cable. This is your antenna cable. You'll need to unclip it from the logic board.

  1. Take the edge of your pry tool or spudger and gently pry up the circular head to detach it from the logic board.
  2. Unclip antenna cable iPhone 4 CDMA
  3. You'll notice the cable is wound around some metal brackets. Just gently guide it out of the brackets with your pry tool and finger. It's attached to the speaker assembly. Once you've finished unwinding it from the brackets, you can leave it where it is for now.

Remove the top logic board shield

    Remove logic board shield screws CDMA iPhone 4
  1. There are 5 screws holding the logic board shield in place as labeled in the photo above. Remove the 5 screws holding it in place plus screw number 6 off to the right (we'll get to this one in a second). Just be sure to remember which holes they came out of as the screws are different sizes. I keep them arranged in the shape they came out of the logic board with the shield next to it. I find this to be the easiest way to keep them in order.
  2. Remove logic board shield CDMA iPhone 4
  3. Next you'll need to remove the shield. There is a tiny clip built into the shield holding it in place. (Refer to the photo above.) Grab the shield by the top where the top screw came out and gently lift up and push down. The bottom notch will come out and you should be able to gently lift the shield out of the device.

Remove wifi antenna grounding clip

    Remove wifi grounding clip screw CDMA iPhone 4
  1. The number 6 screw we removed previously we're now returning to. There is a clip underneath it. Gently use your pry tool to remove it.
  2. Remove wifi grounding clip CDMA iPhone 4
  3. You'll find a cross head screw underneath it. We'll get back to that in just a minute.

Disconnect 7 cables from the logic board

    Remove cables from logic board iPhone 4 CDMA
  1. Pop up all the cables labeled in the pictures above by gently lifting them with your pry tool or spudger..
  2. Remove CDMA iPhone 4 CDMA Camera
  3. 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.
  4. iPhone 4 CDMA cables removed from logic board
  5. Play close attention to the direction in which the cables pop up. The cable furthest to the right will pop up in the opposite direction of the others.

Remove the logic board

    Logic Board Screw Placement CDMA iPhone 4
  1. There are 5 screws you'll need to remove in order to remove the logic board. Three need to be removed with a flat blade screwdriver (flathead) while the other two will be removed with your #00 Phillips screwdriver.
  2. Remove the screws numbered 1-3 in the image above using your flat blade screw driver. Make sure you remember which ones go where as the heads are a bit different.
  3. Now remove screws 4 and 5 with your #00 screwdriver. Notice that the screw labeled number 5 will have a tiny gold grounding clip for the camera underneath it. Make sure you don't lose this and save it for re-assembly.
  4. Remove the logic board on a CDMA iPhone 4
  5. You should now be able to remove your logic board. Holding it at the bottom, gently pull it upwards. I use my other hand to lift up at the top where the rear facing camera used to be.
  6. Logic board grounding clip iPhone 4 CDMA
  7. Take note that there is a small rubber piece that sits at the top of the logic board. You will need this for re-assembly so make sure it doesn't fall off. If you lose this, you could experience wifi or reception issues.

Remove the speaker housing

While it isn't necessary to remove the speaker housing to replace the vibrator assembly, I recommend it so you don't damage the speaker housing when prying off the vibrator.

    Remove the speaker assembly screws CDMA iPhone 4
  1. To remove the speaker assembly you have two #00 screws to remove. They sit to the right and the left of the speaker assembly. The left screw will have a tiny triangular shaped plastic spacer under the screw. Set it aside with the screw as well for re-assembly. If you lose this, your speaker assembly will not sit correctly.
  2. Remove the speaker assembly CDMA iPhone 4
  3. Gently lift the speaker assembly out of your device and set it aside.

Replace the vibrator assembly

    Remove CDMA iPhone 4 vibrator assembly
  1. The vibrator assembly in the CDMA iPhone 4 is only held down with adhesive. Use your pry tool to gently pry it up from the mid-frame of the device. Just take care not to bend it.
  2. Next, gently lift the old vibrator assembly out of the device.
  3. Your replacement vibrator assembly should come equipped with adhesive on the bottom. Just peel off the backing and carefully replace the vibrator assembly. Be sure you line it up with the screw hold as well as straight along the bottom where the speaker housing will sit.

Reassemble your iPhone

To reassemble your iPhone 4 you can either follow these directions in reverse or watch our CDMA iPhone 4 reassembly video above. The video contains complete instructions from the LCD backwards so to start with the speaker housing just forward the video to about 2:40 and follow it the rest of the way through.

And... done!

If you followed the above steps correctly you should know have vibrator functionality again. This definitely isn't the easiest repair to perform so now's the time to give yourself a big pat on the back and 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@imore.com.

For questions or to inquire about mail-in repairs through PXLFIX, please follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook or e-mail us directly! Of course, you can like us and follow us just because you think we're cool too!

Additional Resources:

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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How to fix the vibrator assembly in a Verizon or Sprint iPhone 4

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Thanks so much for this list! I haven't started reviewing the list but from what I assume they are all useful. Thanks for the effort! More power!