How to fix a broken vibrator in an iPhone 5

How to fix a broken vibrator in your iPhone 5

If the switch on your iPhone 5 seems to be working okay but the vibration feature just isn't working, it's possible that the vibrator motor itself is burnt out. Luckily, a DIY repair isn't terribly hard and will cost you a lot less cash than a brand new iPhone. Follow along for step by step instructions on how to replace it yourself.

What you need to DIY replace the vibrator motor in an iPhone 5

You'll need some tools and parts in order to repair your iPhone 5. If you're in the United States or Canada, we highly recommend checking out eTech Parts as we've had lots of good experiences with them and know their customer service is out of this world. All the links below will route you to the direct item on eTech's site.

Step 1: Power off your iPhone 5

How to DIY replace a blown earpiece on an iPhone 5

Before beginning any repair, always power your iPhone down completely using the Slide to power off option. Easy enough right?

Step 2: Remove the front screen assembly

  • To begin, use your security screwdriver to remove the two screws in the bottom of your iPhone 5 that sit on either side of the dock. How to DIY replace a blown earpiece on an iPhone 5
  • Now place your suction cup above the Home button and gently pry up from the bottom. Take care not to pull the entire screen off as the top of the screen is still attached by several cables. You only want to release the bottom portion. How to DIY replace a blown earpiece on an iPhone 5
  • Once the screen is free, swing up the display assembly so you can get to the shield that is holding the cables in place. How to DIY replace a blown earpiece on an iPhone 5
  • Using your ##000 screwdriver to remove the three screws holding the display shield down. Set the shield aside and remember not to mix up the screws. How to DIY replace a blown earpiece on an iPhone 5How to DIY replace a blown earpiece on an iPhone 5
  • Now use your spudger tool to pry up the three cables that attach the display to the board. After you do so, the display should be free from the device. As a side note, you can only see two of the cables (as marked in the photo below) as the third is underneath. Most of the time the third one simply pops up on its own when you remove the first two. You may need to free it but most likely, it'll come up on its own. The second photo below shows its location on the board for reference. How to DIY replace a blown earpiece on an iPhone 5How to DIY replace a blown earpiece on an iPhone 5How to DIY replace a blown earpiece on an iPhone 5
  • Set the device aside once the display is free.

How to DIY replace a blown earpiece on an iPhone 5

Alternate method: If you're having issues pulling the screen up with a suction cup, you may insert a razor blade on the outer edge of either screw hold and pry upwards slightly. This method gives you enough clearance to stick your spudger tool underneath and release the screen. I recommend this method if your hands aren't as steady or you're afraid you may pull too hard and damage a cable.

Step 3: Replace the vibrator assembly

  • Using your #000 screwdriver, remove the three screws shown in the photo below in order to remove the vibrator assembly.
  • Gently lift the old vibrator assembly out of your iPhone 5, paying attention to how the new one should be laid in.
  • Now place the new vibrator assembly into your iPhone 5 and replace the three screws using your #000 screwdriver. I recommend screwing all three screws in part way so you can line up the contacts — explained in the step below — before tightening them up.
  • It's important to note the position of the contacts on the bottom of the vibrator assembly and on back casing of your iPhone 5. Be sure they are making contact once you're done replacing the vibrator assembly, or it won't work.

Step 4: Reconnect the display assembly

  • Re-attach the three cables for the display back to the board of your iPhone 5. How to DIY replace a blown earpiece on an iPhone 5How to DIY replace a blown earpiece on an iPhone 5
  • Carefully re-position the display shield over the cables once you're sure they are secure.
  • Replace the three screws you removed previously using your ##000 screwdriver. Sometimes the top right screw is not magnetized and may be a little tricky to get back in. I normally guide it in with my finger and then use the screwdriver. Makes for an easier job. How to DIY replace a blown earpiece on an iPhone 5
  • Now snap the display back down and into place. Be sure to line up the grooves in the top of the screen inside the frame. If you are facing resistance, do not force the display down. Make sure everything is lined up properly and that the clips in the top are aligned properly. Then try gently pressing down again.
  • Replace the two screws that sit on either side of the Lightning dock using your security screwdriver. How to DIY replace a blown earpiece on an iPhone 5

Step 5: Power your iPhone 5 on and test the vibrator assembly

Now that you've finished putting your iPhone 5 back together, it's safe to turn it back on. Once it's booted back up, test the vibrate functionality by toggling the vibrate switch. If it works, you're in business. If it doesn't, be sure to check and make sure the vibrator assembly is making contact with the contacts on the rear casing of your iPhone 5. Re-adjust it if needed. If that still doesn't work, our iMore forums are a great place to ask for help and suggestions.

If you still can't figure it our or just have suggestions or ideas for future DIY guides, feel free to email me!

See also:

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 a broken vibrator in your iPhone 5

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Why not take it to apple and have them do it? They do this repair at any apple store. Plus if they mess up then they'll get you a new phone. Why would I risk them not being able to service my phone if I myself break it during this repair?

Yes I agree, I'm very handy but too many things to go wrong, I would just bring it to the Apple Store and bite the bullet for the repair.