How to replace a cracked screen on an iPhone 5

How to replace a cracked screen on an iPhone 5

Have an iPhone 5 with a busted screen? We understand the pain of picking up your iPhone off the ground only to find pieces of glass falling out of it. Unfortunately, broken screens aren't covered under the standard AppleCare warranty, and if you didn't opt for AppleCare+, a replacement iPhone 5 can cost a few hundred dollars. However, a replacement screen itself isn't that expensive and luckily the repair itself is one of the easier ones to perform. So if you're up for the task, follow along and we'll walk you through step by step!

What you need to DIY replace a cracked screen on an iPhone 5

Video walkthrough

Our video will walk you through disassembly to reassembly. Even though it's possible to perform this repair using only the video, we highly suggest reading the written walkthrough and viewing the high quality images below. Both guides are meant to compliment each other so we suggest reading and watching both before actually performing the repair.

Power off your iPhone 5

Before performing any repair, you should always turn your iPhone completely off by holding down the Power Button and using the Slide to power off feature. Once the iPhone has completely turned off, you can move on to the next step.

Remove the two security screws in the dock connector

There are two security screws on either side of the Lightning connector port. Use your security screwdriver to remove them.

Remove the damaged display

There are two methods for removing the display. If you've cracked the bottom pretty badly you may find it hard to get a seal with a suction cup. We'll walk you through both ways of removing the display.

Suction cup method

This is the method we recommend and the one you should use if you can get a seal. If not, use the straight edge razor method below.

  1. Position your suction cup firmly above the Home button.
  2. Gently pull upwards while holding the phone down with your other hand.
  3. The display is in there pretty good so you'll have to apply quite a bit of strength to pull it out. Just make sure you keep your hand over the top of the iPhone as you don't want to completely pull the display off. There are still cables attached underneath.
  4. Once the display has dislodged from the device, swing it upwards to expose the cables connecting it underneath.
  5. Move on to the next section.

Straight edge razor blade method

If the bottom of your iPhone 5 screen has shattered badly, it'll be next to impossible to get a good enough seal to pry it up. You'll need a straight edged razor blade for this method. Be careful and work slowly not only so you don't damage the iPhone but more importantly, so you don't cut or hurt yourself.

  1. Start at either side of the Home button and carefully work the razor blade between the frame and the glass.
  2. Slowly pry upwards until you get an edge freed enough that you can slip a pry tool or spudger in between.
  3. Now set the razor blade aside and continue to work around the bottom and bottom edges until you free the display from the frame.
  4. Do not pull it straight upwards but instead, swing it upwards as there are still cables attached at the top we need to remove.

Remove the iPhone 5 display panel

  1. There's a silver shield covering the LCD and digitizer cables. Remove the three screws holding the shield in place with your #00 Phillips screwdriver.
  2. Gently lift the shield out of the iPhone 5.
  3. Now you have a clear view of the cables holding the display assembly to the logic board. Use your spudger or pry tool to carefully pry all three cables from the logic board.

You can now lift the front digitizer and LCD assembly off the device.

Ready the new iPhone 5 display

Odds are your new replacement display will come stripped down to nothing but the display assembly. We'll need to remove some pieces off the old cracked display to place on the new display before laying the new assembly in place.

Remove the display shield, earpiece shield, and earpiece assembly

  1. There are a total of eight screws holding the display and earpiece shield in place. They are outlined in the picture below. Remove all eight screws using your #00 Phillips screwdriver.
  2. Now use your pry tool or spudger to carefully lift up the display shield off the back of the display. The best way is to slip your pry tool beneath the shield at the bottom on either side of the Home button. The shield will easily lift off.
  3. Now remove the earpiece shield at the top by lifting it off and setting it aside.
  4. The actual earpiece assembly sits directly below the shield and will easily lift off as well. Set it aside.

Remove the front-facing camera and sensor cable

  1. The front-facing camera and sensor cable sits to the left of where the earpiece assembly was and lines the top of the device. We need to remove it.
  2. Carefully lift it up but notice the kink in the cable underneath the front-facing camera. The noise canceling mic is pushed into the display assembly. Pop it out carefully.
  3. The rest of the cable is only held in with a tiny bit of adhesive. Carefully peel it back to finish removing the cable from the display assembly.

Remove the Home button assembly

  1. Remove the two screws on either side of the Home button assembly using your #00 Phillips screwdriver.
  2. Start lifting the Home button shield starting on the left side but don't pull completely up yet.
  3. On the right hand side you'll see a contact that's stuck to the display assembly that runs on the Home button shield. Use your finger or pry tool to carefully break the adhesive.
  4. Set the Home button shield aside.
  5. Now we've just got to remove the actual Home button. Simply push the Home button up from the front of the assembly and use your pry tool or a metal spatula to loosen the gasket on the back side. The Home button should come free pretty easily.

Transfer the removed components to the new iPhone 5 display assembly

Now that we've removed everything from the old assembly, we can transfer it to the new, unbroken assembly. In order to do this, just follow the above directions in reverse order or refer to our video where we'll walk you through readying the new assembly.

Once you've finished readying the new assembly, continue on.

Replace the iPhone 5 display assembly

  1. Start by securing the three cables back to the logic board.
  2. Replace the logic board shield cover over the cables and secure it with the three screws we originally removed using your #00 Phillips screwdriver.
  3. There are plastic clips that run along the top of the display assembly like you can see below. These need to sit underneath the inside of the frame.
  4. Starting from the top make sure you slide the clips in place and carefully work your way around the edges of the display applying even pressure to snap the display into place.

Replace the dock connector screws

Use your security screwdriver to replace the two screws on either side of the Lightning connector port.

And ...done!

Now that you've finished reassembling your iPhone 5 you can go ahead and turn it back on by pressing and holding down the power button until you see the Apple logo.

If all went well, your iPhone should boot up just fine. Make sure to test the new replacement for dead spots and check the display quality to make sure there are no dead pixels or discoloration. Since you did have to transfer components that control brightness, sound, and the proximity sensor - it's always a good idea to test those functions too so you know you transferred all the components over correctly.

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 40 comments. Add yours.

mikells43 says:

or just pay the 100$ and some change(for tax) for the apple care plus. alot easier, no questions asked. and if you sell your phone (like i did my 4s) you get a refund on the un used apple care if the other buyer dont want it.

Allyson Kazmucha says:

I've never heard of Apple refunding AppleCare+.

A hundred plus a 50$ deductible is more expensive than the part and doing it yourself. You can, of course, make whatever decision you'd like but there are several people out there who'd rather do it themselves than pay for the insurance.

crwoo says:

what is the price of a screen?

Allyson Kazmucha says:

We aren't sure what retail pricing will be yet as they aren't readily available just yet. I'll update with links as soon as we know.

JamesHIII says:

Thank you for the very helpful and easy to follow tutorial. Can you please post a link to the iPhone 5 LCD and digitizer assembly?

mikells43 says:

believe me i understand the dyi thing i did it before too. but the lack of good parts for cheap, has pushed me to getting apple care. i fixed android phones for people .cracked screens and all . most digitzers were ok but a few would come and constanly activate when not touched. and the iphone 5 is brand new, and if you have a problem other than you can dyi, apple wolnt touch it with someone elses parts in it. and they do refund if you sell your device you have to call the agreement admin department.
heres a snip it of my email they sent me the other day

Dear Apple Customer,

Your refund request is now complete. You will receive a refund for your
AppleCare Protection Plan:

- Refund Amount 57.59
- Credit Memo Number 75437

and with apple care, its cheaper than paying the whatever your carrier charges for assurion also.

Allyson Kazmucha says:

I never said they didn't. I was just stating I'd never heard of that.

As far as faulty parts, that happens with knock-offs. We don't recommend knock-offs nor will we ever link to them.

PalmerDeville says:

What is the price of a water damage repair?

"I've never heard of Apple refunding AppleCare+." - a simple web search will help you.

Section 9. Cancellation
http://images.apple.com/legal/applecare/docs/applecareplus.pdf

mikells43 says:

they didnt hit me with the 25$ fee which was nice of them.

Allyson Kazmucha says:

Water damage always depends on what gets damaged and whether board level repair has to be performed. We are always honest with customers and if the cost of the repair exceeds a replacement device, we let them know that. We give them all their options, not just our options. If it's cheaper or a better option for them to go to Apple, we send them right over to Apple.

Jack Lopez says:

Great tutorial with details, where can I get the replacement part for my iphone 5 white broken glass. Please let me know . Thanks

mikells43 says:

sorry for the 2 comments cant delete them

mikells43 says:

and if you happen to be prone to water damage you can always get the liquipel its under 100$ for the version without the skins in the iphone 5

mikells43 says:

it was a great article ally. thanks for your work. you have more patients than i do for sure lol.

ccox76 says:

I don't understand where people are getting the idea that this is Gorilla Glass. GG is a product by Corning. All they have stated that the glass is very durable. How do we make that connection to Gorilla Glass by Corning? I just don't get it.

ccox76 says:

That's interesting because Apple and the iPhone 5 isn't on the list.

Allyson Kazmucha says:

http://www.imore.com/apple-admits-corning-glass-iphone

ccox76 says:

This is based on a job creation page and hearsay? Gorilla Glass is a sold product of Corning. If Apple were in fact using their product, Corning wouldn't keep it a secret. Not does Apple's display share the same fracture properties as other phones using real Gorilla Glass. Look at reports of people dropping other phones. GG shatters differently compared to every other shatter of an iPhone screen. I have broken both. Both very hard displays. Possibly Apple shares a tempering process with Corning. But that doesn't make it Gorilla Glass, which would explain Cornings reluctance to say that Apple uses it. I'm sorry ... but I don't work on hearsay. And I don't think a professional blogger should either.

Allyson Kazmucha says:

Hmmm... I don't think I ever stated they did? In the video my words are "even though they are supposedly using gorilla glass" - again, i never said "Apple is using gorilla glass" - I gave you a link to where i got my assumptions that they are. I also never once said in the article that the screen was 100% definite made of gorilla glass. Most news about apple is "hearsay" as apple is extremely secretive. Nothing is 100% unless apple states it. I'd figure since you obviously read an apple-centric site, you would have surely realized that?

Patrick Clark says:

From the Corning Gorilla Glass web page: "Due to customer agreements, we cannot identify all devices that feature Gorilla Glass. Your favorite device may include Gorilla Glass, even if you don't see it listed. Ask your manufacturer or retailer to learn more."

Also this article clearly shows that Apple does, indeed, use GG in its products.

http://9to5mac.com/2012/03/02/apple-acknowledges-use-of-corning-gorilla-...

jayblazer says:

http://www.imore.com/apple-admits-corning-glass-iphone

Great video and write up. Im sure at some point soon I will be replacing one of these for a friend or coworker who dropped there's. And I have also learned my lesson about using cheap parts from eBay. Unfortunately it was with an iPad the worse thing to take apart ever. Finally got the cracked screen out and replaced and two days later the digitizer went bad in the new one..ugh

GlennRuss says:

Always like the how to video. Puctures are great, but the videos are even better. Thanks.

rajmasud says:

You can find some good video tutorials at www.kingsmarketonline.com. Good luck.

blackbirdz says:

Great news. I hope it won't happen to my phone ;)

Ash Thompson says:

Great tutorial, I found it really easy to follow!
http://www.iPhoneCourse.com

Melly Bean says:

Any recommendations for replacing JUST the glass? I notice the parts are cheaper and I find that my digitizer appears to be fine and the capacitive touch is working just as it always did... the $299 that eTech wants for the full part is steep compared with the Apple Store wanting $229 to replace the whole phone.

I've pulled apart and repaired many an iPhone and iPod in my time, but ANY tips, walkthroughs or links, etc. would be appreciated and advice is always taken :)

Carly Stevens says:

Yes, I too just dropped my phone and the glass panel shattered. I found the replacements on ebay for under $10, but have read that the LCD and the digitizer are fused together so one cannot be replaced without the other. Is this true? If not, how do you remove the digitizer from the LCD?

Melly Bean says:

I've researched since then and it appears that trying to remove the glass from the LCD does one of two things: 1) renders the iPhone useless, OR 2) makes a huge mess...

I'll look for the full display and stick with that, thanks ;)

wardo_ed says:

iMore is the smartest and most insightful source for all things Apple.

oxygengirl says:

I clicked on the link at the beginning to buy the black LCD w/digitizer. Cost shows at $290. What?? Apple charges $229 for a replacement (w/o Applecare). Why would anyone go through all this trouble if the cost of the parts is more than just going to the Apple store? If the replacement parts were $100 it would be worth it. Ugh.

carper32 says:

If any of you guys do not feel confident in replacing the iPhone 5 screen yourselves then this company can do it for you :)

http://www.repairsuk.co.uk/iphone-5-repairs

kelnhofer says:

Adam, www.Etradersupply.com has the iPhone 5 LCD and digitizer complete assembly with the power button already setup and ready to go. We got ours for less than most others and it was a quality Factory part shipped for free. And it was at our door in three days.

kelnhofer says:

I like that they are her in the US to.

akpapagrizz says:

My son totally shattered the screen on his iphone 5. The walk tutorial was perfect, both the video and photo's were extremely helpful. Got 'er done, and works perfect. Thanks much!

Keith Mitchell3 says:

Allyson, I just finished replacing the screen on my iPhone 5 with a $40 screen and toolkit I got off eBay. I could not have done it without this walk-through. Your tips on how to gently remove and replace each part were critical to keeping my gorilla fingers from trashing these VERY sensitive parts. You did a great job! Thanks so much for posting this - saved me lots of $$ doing it myself!

Felix3012 says:

If You are living in south florida and you not able to follow the steps of the repair visit: www.officialrepairguys.com we are specialize in iphone repairs.