How to replace a broken vibrator in the iPhone 5c

How to replace a broken vibrator in the iPhone 5c

If you've got an iPhone 5c that just doesn't seem to vibrate no matter what mode you have it in, it's possible that the vibrator assembly itself is defective or blown. In some cases, a defective vibrator assembly also causes weak vibration that gets fainter and fainter over time. If that sounds like something you're experiencing, it probably needs to be replaced. If you're for some reason not covered by warranty, or just prefer doing the repair yourself to save some cash, we can walk you through where to get replacement parts and how to perform this relatively easy iPhone repair all on your own!

What you need to replace an iPhone 5c vibrator assembly

You'll need some tools and parts in order to repair your iPhone 5c. 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 you need on eTech's site.

  • Replacement vibrator assembly - Buy now
  • Suction cup - 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

1. Power off your iPhone 5c

Before performing any repair on any iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch you should always remember to power it off. Simply hold down on the Power button until you see Slide to Power off. One you're sure your iPhone is turned off, proceed to the next section.

2. Remove the two security screws on both sides of the dock connector

There are two security screws that secure the screen to the frame and they sit on each side of the dock connector. Use your 5-point security screwdriver to remove them. They are both the same size so it's okay if you mix them up.

3. Remove the display assembly

  1. Place your suction cup slightly above the Home button assembly and secure it to the screen.
  2. Holding the iPhone in place with one hand, gently pull upwards on the suction cup until you free the bottom of the screen. You should now be able to use your fingers to slowly raise up the screen and expose where the front assembly is connected to the logic board.
  3. Remove the four screws holding down the shield that covers the display cables. To do this, use your #000 screwdriver. These screws are different sizes so make sure you keep them organized in a way you can remember for re-assembly.
  4. Once all four screws are removed, carefully remove the shield and set it aside.
  5. Now use your spudger tool in order to remove the three cables shown in the image below.
  6. The display assembly should now be free from the body of the phone. Go ahead and set the display assembly aside.

4. Disconnect the battery

We don't need to completely remove the battery in order to replace the vibrator assembly but it's always a good idea to disconnect the battery before removing any other internal components in order to prevent a short for occurring.

  1. Remove the two screws holding down the battery cable using your #000 Phillips screwdriver.
  2. Gently lift the battery shield out of your iPhone 5c and carefully set it aside.
  3. Use your spudger tool to carefully pry up the battery cable.

5. Replace the vibrator assembly

  1. Remove the two screws at the top and bottom of the vibrator assembly using your #000 Phillips screwdriver.
  2. Gently lift the old vibrator assembly out of your iPhone 5c.
  3. There is a piece of black tape sitting on top of the vibrator assembly. You can now transfer it to the new vibrator assembly if it doesn't already have one in place.
  4. Place the new vibrator assembly in your iPhone 5c and replace the two screws you removed in step 1.
  5. Make sure the contacts on the back of the vibrator assembly line up with the contacts on the logic board. If they don't, the vibrator motor won't work.

6. Re-connect the battery

  1. Re-connect the battery cable that you pryed up earlier.
  2. Replace the battery cable shield.
  3. Replace the two screws holding the battery cable down using your #000 Phillips screwdriver.

7. Re-connect the display assembly

  1. Carefully reconnect the three cables running from the display assembly to the logic board.
  2. Reposition the metal shield that sits over the three cables and replace the four screws that hold it in place, remembering where each one came from — they are all different sizes.
  3. Line up the top of the screen carefully and make note of the teeth that line up to the top of your iPhone 5c's frame. Once the top of the display is lined up, carefully snap down the remainder by moving your fingers along the edge.

8. Replace the security screws on each side of the dock connector

Once you are confident that the display is seated correctly again, use your security screwdriver in order to replace the two screws on either side of the dock connector.

9. Test the new vibrator assembly

It's now safe to turn your iPhone 5c back on. If all went well, you should see an Apple logo. Once your iPhone finishes booting up, perform the following steps to verify the vibrator assembly is now working:

  • Toggle your vibration switch and make sure you feel a vibration that's strong
  • Place a test call to your iPhone to make sure vibration works as it should
  • Go into Settings and test different vibration patterns under the Sounds section to ensure that the vibrator is now accurately producing feedback

If all of the above checked out okay, you're good to go!

See also:

iPhone 5c

iPhone 5c
Apple's first popular iPhone with a 4-inch in-cell display, LTE 4G, and BT 4.0 LE. Fun features include:

Complete review >

Released
September, 2013

Alternatives
iPhone 5s, iPhone 4s

Replacements
iPhone 6 (rumored)
Fall, 2014

Resources
Buyers guide
Help forum

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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Reader comments

How to replace a broken vibrator in the iPhone 5c

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I don't intend this to sound sarcastic, but how much money can you save doing this? I guess I'm wondering if it's worth the time and possibility of messing up an expensive device, and if it's smarter to just have a professional do this?

If you're out of warranty, a lot. Part and 30 minutes = less than $30 - Apple replacing the entire phone out of warranty - $229 in the US, similar elsewhere. Unless apple replaces this part, which I don't think they do - if they do though, i'd guess it's $79 plus tax, similar to the highway robbery that is charged for battery replacements on batteries that cost them pennies on the dollar