How to replace the battery in an iPhone 4S

How to replace the battery in an iPhone 4S

If the battery life in your iPhone 4S is getting worse and worse, or it just won't hold a charge, you can easily perform a DIY replacement. This can help you get lots more life out of your device and prevent having to buy a new iPhone before you absolutely have to. If you're soon to be out of warranty or otherwise not covered for exchange or replacement, or if you're just a DIY type who wants to learn more about the inner workings of your iPhone, we've got you covered.

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'll need to DIY replace an iPhone 4S battery

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. You will find links to the specific parts you'll need for this repair in the list below.

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

Power off your iPhone 4S

iPhone 4S slide to power off

Before performing any repair you should always power off your device before opening it up.

Remove the back plate

  1. Using your security screwdriver, remove the 2 screws on either side of the dock connector port.
  2. iPhone 4S dock connector screws
  3. Set them aside. They are both the exact same size and length so it does not matter if you mix them up. They are interchangeable.
  4. Gently slide up the back plate by applying a bit of pressure along the bottom with your thumbs and sliding upwards.
  5. iPhone 4S remove back plate
  6. Now lift off the back plate and set it aside.
  7. iPhone 4S back removal

Remove the battery and grounding clip

  1. Using your #00 Phillips screwdriver, remove the two screws holding the battery in place.
  2. iPhone 4S top battery screwiPhone 4S bottom battery screw
  3. These screws are different lengths so make sure you remember which one goes where. The one that is slightly larger is the bottom screw.
  4. There is a tiny grounding clip underneath the battery clip where the first screw is located. Use your spudger tool or finger to remove it before prying the clip up. Many times it can go flying if you don't remove it first and then you'll have difficulty locating it so it's best to remove it first.
  5. iPhone 4S grounding clip removaliPhone 4S grounding clip
  6. Now use your spudger tool and at the bottom of the battery clip, gently pry upwards so the clip pops up.
  7. iPhone 4S battery clip
  8. Move to the edge of the iPhone where the volume buttons are located and use your spudger tool to carefully pry up the battery. It is stuck down with a good amount of adhesive so be careful when prying upwards that you don't bend the battery. This is why I do not use the plastic tab that is provided. It typically rips or bends the battery. If one part is resistant move your pry tool a little further down and gently start prying it up in different places taking care not to come too close to the volume button cables towards the top.
  9. iPhone 4S battery removal
  10. Once you've gotten the battery pulled out of the iPhone 4S we can move on to inserting the replacement battery.

Replace the battery and grounding clip

  1. Pay attention to how the cable is bent on your old battery and if the new one is not crimped in the same fashion put the folds in it before inserting it into the iPhone 4S.
  2. iPhone 4S battery cable
  3. Line up the grounding clip you removed previously over the screw hole before snapping down the battery.
  4. iPhone 4S grounding clip position
  5. Snap down the battery in place to the logic board and then position the battery and press down firmly to make sure the adhesive sticks.
  6. Replace the two screws you removed in a prior step starting with the top one using your #00 Phillips screwdriver. Make sure the grounding clip stays positioned. Use your other hand to hold it straight while you replace the top screw if you need to.
  7. iPhone 4S top battery screw
  8. Now replace the bottom screw.
  9. iPhone 4S bottom battery screw

Replace the back plate

  1. To replace the back plate line up the hinges around the edges. It should fall right into place. There will be a gap at the bottom.
  2. iPhone 4S remove back plate
  3. Using slight pressure slide the cover down into place with your thumbs. If there is resistance make sure the hinges are lined up correctly and don't force it down and you can easily snap the hinge if it's caught up on something.
  4. Once the back cover is securely in place and flush with the antenna band, replace the two screws on either side of the dock connector using your security screwdriver.iPhone 4S dock connector screws

And ...done!

iPhone 4S power up

Now that your iPhone 4S is completely put back together you can turn it back on. If the phone doesn't come on, try plugging it into a wall charger and see if the charging icon comes up. It's quite possible the battery may be dead and needs to be charged before use.

It's a good idea to run the battery completely down before plugging it into a charger if it wasn't run down already. After it dies, charge it completely before pulling it off the charger again. You can do this a few times to condition the battery. While many say this may not be needed with batteries anymore, I have found it to make the battery meter read more accurately over time. You can actually do this at any time if you feel your battery is not displaying a charge accurately.

Want to know how to perform another type of iPhone repair or modification? Send me suggestions to ally@imore.com.

Additional resources:

Allyson Kazmucha

Editor for iMore, Potter pundit, and the ninja in your iOS

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There are 7 comments. Add yours.

Boots says:

Every "Security" bit screwdriver I buy rounds off after a few phones... will the linked one hold up??? Good tut as usual!

Allyson Kazmucha says:

The one I linked to is a much better one. I have about 5 of them and haven't bought another one since last summer. I fix tons of phones every week and haven't had one of them dull on me yet.

nickpthemft says:

An alternative guide:

1. Take iPhone 4S into Apple Store
2. Request repair/replacement under warranty (still good for another 30 days or so)
3. ???
4. Profit!

Boots says:

Yep and get a refurb phone... if that's what you like.

Fixxy says:

Awesome tutorial for those who aren't afraid to dig into their iPhone. Replacing the battery solves tons of power related issues, generally costs less than $10, and takes 2-3 minutes.

It's worth a try even if you're still under warranty. Because, as Boots mentions, when you take your iPhone in for a replacement you're getting a refurb, so you could run into problems down the line that you may not have with your original iPhone.

Surprisingly, the biggest thing to watch out for in this repair is replacing the back panel. If you apply force unevenly or one of the hooks on the back panel isn't lined up with the case properly you can end up with a cracked back panel.

Anyone who has any power related repair questions can contact me @ http://iphonerepairphoenix.org and I'll be happy to help out.

Tiff Horea says:

I want to replace my 4s battery and i was wondering if i must match the apn on my battery with the apn on the new one?will i run into trouble if i put a 4s battery with a different apn number?

Qnline says:

Thanks for the extensive how-to. I just replaced the battery of my iPhone 4S, did exactly as explained here and in videos on the net. But when I restarted my iPhone, it wouldn't connect to a cellular network. I thought I was screwed, but luckily I had noticed that the connector screws were slightly different in length. After I changed these screws, everything worked fine.

Maybe these screws are made from different material, maybe it's just the length that makes a cellular connection possible, I don't know. But... take it from me: look carefully at the two tiny screws, the smallest one is for the bottom, the longer screw is for the top!