Why I don't recommend glowing Apple logo mods for iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S

There's been a lot of companies lately selling glowing Apple logo mods for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. While they may look extremely cool and make your iPhone stand out from the rest, you should also take into consideration how these work and the potential risk they pose to the functionality of your device.

First we will state the most obvious - it will completely void your Apple warranty. Opening your device in any unauthorized way will void your factory warranty with Apple. So if your device is still in warranty, I'd stay away from this.

If your iPhone is out of warranty, there's still concerns to consider. Accelerated battery drain will be an issue. While many of these companies claim there is minimal draw on power, there is still extra power being consumed. An extra light source will always pull power. So yes, you will see more battery drain than without the modification installed.

My biggest concern is how these light mods actually function. They use the existing circuitry in your iPhone to draw power, specifically the LCD cable. This is where the glowing panel pulls power from. Not through the battery but by pulling power through a connector that is already being utilized for something else. In this case, your screen. There have already been reports of washed out LCDs due to glowing mods.

I also don't recommend putting stray components in your device that aren't held down in an appropriate fashion. Your device is designed to pull the correct amount of power from the battery. Your logic board is also designed to handle hardware a specific way. In a worst case scenario, you could potentially short out your logic board.

There's too much room for error with these types of products and not enough information on them. Not to mention the error that can take place if you don't have any idea what you're doing when installing these modifications. You could end up breaking another component in the process, or even worse, break a connector off the logic board. Until a modification can be created that pulls power directly from the battery opposed to using existing circuitry, I won't be giving my thumbs up.

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

Why I don't recommend glowing Apple logo mods for iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S

41 Comments

I agree, I have ordered and resold it. There are too many complains and reports that show the mod causes technical errors.

Great advice. I am sure that apple would have engineered in the glowing logo if they thought it was a great idea and wouldn't affect the performance of the device.
I would be wary about installing a heat source over the battery which is what this modification requires. This affects the performance of your devices' battery and regardless of how little the heat output is this is extra heat in a concentrated location that the manufacturer has not anticipated.
I don't think these kits will be around for too long. I am sure Apple will go after the makers for infringing on their trademark and case design.

what they really need to do is make the home button not a physical button but an touch type button that is shaped like the apple symbol. i don't care if it's a full apple like above or just a stencil but it should in some way glow and serve as a face up notification light that would flash when you miss a message, call or whatever you set it up to blink for.

I agree with you there. I worked for AT&T at one point and carried both a BlackBerry and iPhone. One thing I miss about the BlackBerry is the flashing LED. And then there was an app to make it flash whatever color you wanted for email, text, missed call, etc.

You can actually configure the iPhone's LED flash to blink every time you receive a text or email or whatever.
Settings > General > Accessibility > "LED Flash for Alerts"
;)

While I don't share the same sentiment as chineseperson; I do find it interesting this article was written by a huge proponent of jail breaking, which is basically is altering the operating system of the phone and can lead to damage and refusal of warranty service. However, I do agree that some of these lighted logo kits are suspect at best and hope a real mod will be developed that won't harm the internals.

I am not aware of anyone having damaged a phone by jailbreaking it. Unlocking maybe, but not jail breaking.

Jailbreaking can not cause your phone to short circuit. Nor have I ever had a jailbroken phone cause damage. Restore and it's gone. Warranty in tact. Break a clip on the logic board, a restore isn't gonna help you.
I post repair and mod articles too. But i also claim no responsibility and advise people against attempting repairs they aren't comfortable with. This article is strictly my opinion given this one particular modification. It is not safe.

I cancelled my order. Its not worth the risk. A glowing apple doesn't mean much if your phone is f'd up.

I personally don't think that it's a big energy drain but if it turns out to be i'll just remove it. Every repair or mod down to an iPhone outside of the apple store voids the warranty.
@Ry - you unlock your phone unless you jailbreak it first.

There are jailbreaks that can permanently damage your device. I had a third party video cable that worked fine with my ipad2 and tele. I decided I wanted more functionality so I went to cydia and installed displayout and resupported4. Suffice it to say one then, most likely display out damaged the circuitry of the dock connected. The device would no longer charge and it was impossible to restore as iTunes would no longer detect it even in dfu mode. Eventually I had to return the precious which was on 4.3.3 back to apple for a new one on 5.0.1. Even they were baffled with the sock connector which on the outside was perfect.
Patiently waiting for new jb that will give me back what was taken from me by greedy cydia devs who can't be bothered to test their stuff. Learn from my lesson please.

I highly doubt display out is what fried your dock connector. My guess would be a faulty cable. I see them here and there. The odds of software frying circuitry are slim to none. I'd blame the cable especially since you've already stated it was a 3rd party cable.

I too ordered the mod. One of the first to order it actually, but definitely reselling it.
After seeing (and helped) two friends installed their panels, I'm convinced that this kit possess more risk than novelty value.
One ended up ripping the battery connector off, and the other (thankfully, ONLY) accidentally disconnected the camera connector ribbon cabble.
Perhaps the sole reason why it's difficult to get the mod in place is because the process is way too delicate and insanely difficult to "see" due to the small parts.
If you end up damaging the logic board, there's no going back. You might as well buy a new iPhone. A $699 (depending…) for a $50 mod. Not worth it!

Dang I'm bummed. I have one en route to my house as I type this. I was looking forward to installing this for the whole "one-of-a-kind" excitement. Looks like I'll be returning it due to all the scary reviews. :-(

Two comments:
[quote]
They use the existing circuitry in your iPhone to draw power, specifically the LCD cable. This is where the glowing panel pulls power from. Not through the battery but by pulling power through a connector that is already being utilized for something else. In this case, your screen.
[/quote]
The amount of extra power an EL panel draws is so small compared to the screen, this should definitely fall within tolerances of all power components and cables used.
[quote]
Accelerated battery drain will be an issue. While many of these companies claim there is minimal draw on power, there is still extra power being consumed.[/quote]
A typical LED only draws 20-40mA. That means your 1450 mAh battery can sustain it for over 70 hours, plenty long.
I do agree that installing such a mod is not at all safe, because there is a very real risk you will short something, especially if you don't know what you're doing.

I ordered and received it last week. Took me more than 3 hours to install ( was doing it extremely carefully while reading and watching the instructions over and over again)
It seems to work fine without any issues and I haven't noticed too much of a battery drain.
But it is a very delicate procedure and I can see lotsa things going wrong. Thankfully for me it worked fine and loving the lit up logo

How did you connected it to the display power connection? I found only instructions of K.O Gadget. Did you use aby additional resistors for that? Also Want to use the Display spot but cant find instructions- thank you

Just received mine and installed it on my 4S. The installation is harder than they advertise (5 minutes, yeah right) but it only involved removing and replacing screws and using adhesive to lay down wires. The first step is to totally disconnect the battery so if you do that, the chances are slim you will short your device. The backplate is low quality, all I would expect from KO Gadget. The glass is separating from the plastic due to the pressure against the backplate from the new components on the inside, but nothing some superglue won't fix (on the backplate only, not on the phone). Battery drain seems to be minimal, no noticeable heat increase even when it is lit for extended periods of time. Two cons: the logo lights up whenever there is a background app checking for updates, only for 15 seconds though, and the brightness setting for the screen does not control the brightness of the logo as was advertised (at least on my 4S, it may work on the 4 since I've seen video of that). Overall, I'm satisfied with the product. For $42, definitely worth it.

Quit bein a bunch of panzys ive had this mod
Installed for a while and i c nothing difrent wit my batery power or any other hardware if you install it right u should b ok with a badass looking iphone.. Its worth it..

Hi there! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any trouble with hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing several weeks of hard work due to no data backup. Do you have any methods to protect against hackers?

Nop, there's no way, only have a backup always, or wait yes there''s a way!!!!! Dont ever use a computer! Use a 1950 mechanical type writer!

Don't listen to this article. First of all, I have been using my KOGadget glow mod for 2 months now. The author claims that this mod voids your warranty which is false. The only thing you disasssembly required is that you unscrew the two torx screws in the bottom, slide the back plate off and disconnect the battery during installation. Neither of these things voids the warranty. Also, one wire is attached via double-sided sticky tape and the other is looped around a grounding screw, this means that if you ever want to remove the light, there will be no signs that it was ever installed.
It is also important to note that I have experienced no noticable battery drain from the mod. The light panel is a tiny little thing that draws hardly any current at all(far less than the LCD backlight does). Also, as long as you are careful during installation, you will not damage your device. The people that are reporting that they have screen brightness issues after installation are the ones that were impatient and decided to try and do the install with the battery still connected and they shorted out the contact point. As long as you follow the directions, your device will be fine.

Omg, I just reread the article, the author has not tried this mod for themselves, probably can't do things to the degree of technical skill required but can write about things they know nothing about, truly gifted I am sure lol...
This is yet another example of the blind trying to lead the sighted, first the author does not test the very thing they are giving their advice on, second the author tries to give advice based on no real experience or testing of the product they are reviewing or advising us on.
This is not good and only serves to expose the author as someone who does not know very much about electronics, just because you know how to use a MacBook does not make you an expert on all things Apple or what can and can't be achieved by the smart people out there. I think the author needs to learn how to test things properly and research technical data before making themselves look stupid...

Excellent site. Plenty of helpful info here. I'm sending it to some pals ans also sharing in delicious. And obviously, thanks for your sweat!

I would love to try this mod if i can find it for less than $80 then cool but this is a rediculous [rice for something that could potentially damage my phone. Now about apple creating this mod... they are having a hard enough time trying to enable 4g for their devices it seems to me that the things that would draw customers/ consumers to apple products are the same things they dont allow.... its a powerstruggle and i wish it was a lil more open!! all in all i love i i devices and would love to try this mod... for a cheaper price :)

Thank You for the post. I love to read interesting post that has knowledge to impart. I hope to read more articles from you and in return I will post also my articles in the forum so that others can benefit from it. Keep up the good work!jordan retro 11

Installation was a bit tricky. Does not void your warranty. Battery drain is not noticeable at all. Easy to undo. $20 on eBay and came with different inserts to change color. WORTH IT

To stop the logo lighting up at random times turn off location services and close background apps, bingo no light up unless you turn screen on or receive a SMS, also your battery will last much longer, your iphone likes to locate its self every few minutes or as apps demand, I know where my iPhone is...it's in my pocket so therefore does not need to know where it is until I require it to know this information for my use, turn location services off and use it only when you need to use it. Most apps do not require it so why waste power having it run in the background, this is why you jail break your iPhone to have total control, learn how to use your device and it will run sweet.
I have had this since the mod first came out although I did opt for the more expensive glass back, search it out and you will find it. This is a great mod and makes your iPhone stand out, sure I got an iPhone just like everyone else but I am glad to stand out because I am not like everyone else, my glowing logo shows you that, just because I have an iPhone does not mean I want to be like the everyone else, think about this next time you dress up to go out, you are just the same as everyone else but you sure try hard to make yourself different in some way, this is a great mod if your smart and want to be different form all the other iPhone owners out there, go on show off now is the time of the nerds, let the idiots worship the smart...
Worship my glowing logo...

The mod itself takes no more than 10 minutes to do. Idid it in math class after i finished a test. As for the warranty: opening your phone does not void a warranty. Think about it. In order for apple to see theinsides of your phone to see if they have been tampered with, they would have to open the phone. So there is no way for them to tell if the "warranty" has been void as long as you put everything back the way it was. Also, i can speak from experience that there IS very very minimal power drain. Since the LED pad leeches from the power for the screen no extra juice is being drawn from the battery.

There is the law of conservation of energy that dictates that it would be impossible for the device to release more energy (in form visible electromagnetic waves, i.e. light) without consuming more energy. I agree that if the user lowers the luminosity of the display, then the power consumption could be compared with the a user that does not have the mod, and uses a higher luminosity. However, i would not suggest using this mod with Auto-Luminosity on, or with luminosity set all the way to max.

That's a very good point, Allyson. The circuitry that is feeding power to the LCD was designed to do just that. Most likely, by keeping the luminosity low, there should be no damage, as what draws most power from the LCD screen is the luminosity level. However, it would certainly be best, if these devices would draw power directly from the battery. Since the iPhone is carefully optimized for size and weight, i don't think there is much wiggle room to add anything else.

Agreed ^^^
Also the reason the power is drawn from the LCD screen is so that it is automatically regulated(on/off). You would have to create a controller if you wish to drain directly from the battery so the mod light won't constantly be on.