How to replace a GSM/AT&T iPhone 4 speaker assembly and cellular antenna

How to replace a GSM/AT&T iPhone 4 speaker assembly and cellular antenna [Weekly mod]

Having speaker or cellular reception issues on your GSM/AT&T iPhone 4 and want to DIY repair it? iMore has you covered. We can guide you through the process and give you advice on where to get your parts and tools. Replacing the bottom speaker assembly or cellular antenna are both pretty straight forward repairs if you've got good instructions, the right tools, and quality parts.

Disclaimer: As with any repair, iMore nor PXLFIX can 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 issues this repair will address

  • Cellular reception issues - if your iPhone 4 can't hold a cellular signal, won't connect to 3G, or constantly says "Searching.." - you may need to replace your antenna. First try replacing your SIM or speaking with your carrier.
  • Bottom speaker doesn't work when using speakerphone or playing music

What you need for a DIY speaker or cellular antenna repair

PXLFIX 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.

Please note the speaker assembly is the same across all models of iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S but the antenna will be different.

  • GSM iPhone 4 (please note there ARE internal differences between the GSM and CDMA models)
  • New GSM iPhone 4 speaker assembly or cellular antenna (whichever part you are replacing) - iPhone 4 speaker assembly, GSM iPhone 4 cellular antenna
  • SIM removal tool (or a paper clip)
  • #00 Phillips screwdriver
  • Pry tool or spudger
  • Security screwdriver (only if your iPhone has 5-point security screws in the dock connector)

Power off your iPhone 4

Before performing any repair, always power off your device before removing any screws or parts.

Remove the back

  1. First remove the bottom 2 dock connector screws in your iPhone 4. Use either your #00 screwdriver or the five point depending on whether or not your iPhone 4 has security screws in the dock connector. Almost all newer devices will have security screws.
  2. To remove the back simply slide the back upwards and lift it off gently.
  3. Set the back and 2 dock connector screws aside.

Remove your SIM card

Use a SIM removal tool or a paperclip to remove your SIM card and tray. Set them aside.

Remove the battery

  1. To remove the battery you’ll need to remove the #00 screw holding the battery clip in place. Remove this screw located to the bottom left of the battery.
  2. The metal clip on the battery is what clips the battery to the logic board. You’ll need to pop this clip up with your plastic pry tool. Simply stick the end of your pry tool underneath the clip and gently pull upwards until it unfastens from the logic board.
  3. To remove the battery, I do not recommend using the plastic pull tab. There is quite a bit of adhesive underneath the battery and the tab will normally just rip off or you can bend the battery. Instead, run your pry tool along the right side of the battery and break the adhesive that way. Once the battery is free from the adhesive, you can pull the battery out of the phone. There are no other connectors holding it in.
  4. You will notice a tiny grounding clip sitting underneath where you unscrewed the battery. Set this aside for replacement during reassembly. This is a grounding clip for your antenna. Make sure you put it back in place before reconnecting your battery.

Remove the dock connector shield and disconnect the cable

  1. There is a shield held on with two screws covering the dock connector cable. Remove the two screws holding it in place and set the shield and screws aside, remembering where they came from.
  2. Next, use your pry tool to pry up the actual dock connector cable. Be careful as there is adhesive holding the cable in place as well. Peel back the adhesive gently to free the cable.

Remove the top logic board shield

  1. There are 5 screws holding the logic board shield in place. Remove the 5 screws holding it in place. Just be sure to remember which holes they came out of as the screws are different sizes. I always keep them in order of how they came out.
  2. Next you'll need to remove the shield. There is a tiny clip built into the shield holding it in place. (Refer to the photo above.) Pop it up with your pry tool and you should be able to slide the shield up fairly easily. Just take care not to bend it or break off a clip.

Disconnect the 6 cables from the top of the logic board

  1. There is only one connector holding the camera to the logic board. Remove this cable in the picture above using your pry tool. Gently lift upwards and it will pop right off.
  2. Next gently lift the camera out of the device. You'll notice there is a tiny tab that is seated underneath the LCD and digitizer cables to the right.
  3. Next pop up the LCD and digitizer cables to the right of where the camera cable was connected. You pop them up in the same direction.
  4. The 3 cables further to the right will need to be disconnected as well. They pop up in the opposite direction.

Remove the logic board

  1. Start with the 2 screws holding the logic board down in the middle and at the bottom left. Both use your #00 Phillips screwdriver. They are the same size. The one on the right of the logic board in the middle of the device has a water sensor over it you'll need to remove.
  2. The second screw is located where the logic board meets the speaker assembly towards the bottom left of the device.
  3. The third and final screw holding the logic board in is located at the top of the logic board off to the right. It is the only cross-head screw in your device. Use a small flathead screwdriver to carefully remove it.
  4. You should now be able to remove your logic board. Holding it at the bottom, gently pull it upwards. I use my other hand to lift up at the top where the rear facing camera used to be.
  5. Take note that there is a small rubber piece that sits at the top of the logic board. You will need this for re-assembly so make sure it doesn't fall off. If you lose this, you could see reception issues.

Remove the speaker assembly

  1. To remove the speaker assembly you have one more #00 screw to remove. It sits to the right of the speaker assembly in the bottom right hand corner of your device. Remove it.
  2. The second screw holding the speaker assembly into your iPhone you've already removed when you removed the logic board.
  3. Gently lift the speaker assembly out of your device and set it aside.

Replace the speaker assembly

If you're replacing the speaker assembly, you'll just need to unscrew the cellular antenna and peel back the adhesive holding it in place. There are only 2 screws holding it in place. Place the cellular antenna carefully on the new speaker assembly and follow the instruction video for reassembly below.

Replacing the cellular antenna

Remove the 2 screws holding the old assembly down and peel it off the speaker assembly. From here you can apply the new cellular antenna to the speaker assembly. Most will come with adhesive already on them and ready for installation. Be sure to put any folds or creases where necessary as some come flat and you'll have to work it into place.

Reassemble your iPhone

Once you've gotten your new speaker assembly or cellular antenna reassembled using the steps above, you'll just need to reassemble your iPhone 4. We've put together a reassembly video you can watch above.

And... done!

Your bottom loud speaker should now work or your cellular antenna should be back in working condition. As a side note, once replacing the cellular antenna you may have to toggle 3G on and off in certain cases.

Have you done this repair yourself? Let us know how it went! Want to know how to perform another type of iPhone repair or modification? Send me suggestions to ally.kazmucha@imore.com or leave a comment in our brand new Mod and DIY Repair Forum!

For questions or to inquire about mail-in repairs through PXLFIX, please follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook or e-mail us directly! Of course, you can like us and follow us just because you think we're cool too!

Allyson Kazmucha

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

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There are 11 comments. Add yours.

xxDruMMer BoYxx says:

I heard the iPhone 4 is the hardest iPhone to disassemble. Is that true...and why/why not?

Allyson Kazmucha says:

The iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S are about the same when it comes to difficulty. The iPhone 3G and 3GS are about the same internally and easier than the 4 and 4S.
The original iPhone is a bit harder than the iPhone 3G and 3GS. The casing is a pain to take on and off without breaking. The internals aren't very difficult. There is just more internally to deal with when it comes to the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S than previous models. I wouldn't say "harder" - just a longer process.

Fresh says:

Iam sorry I fix iPhones for extra cash an this is not a DIY for the average user you will ruin your phone

Allyson Kazmucha says:

I've had a lot of folks successfully execute repairs. We "do" warn against opening your device if you aren't comfortable or feel knowledgeable enough to do so. For those users with technical know how, these repairs shouldn't be a problem.

Fresh says:

R u joking we can get 10 random people and I promise not 1 can do this

xxDruMMer BoYxx says:

@Fresh
So what your saying is there is a different way of opening up an iPhone 4? Lol I'm sure Allyson didn't write back because she doesn't need to defend herself. Pxlfix?....so if your suggesting somethin else buddy go ahead...but it's not to say she doesn't know what she is doing...

Fresh says:

And why is it less than 7 percent of the world own and Mac and over 70 own a pc?

Fresh says:

Iam saying exactly what I said I do it all the time people don't need to void there warranty by thinking they can do something they cant

jam11 says:

They forgot the final step. List it on ebay as a broken iphone. That is exactly what is going to happen if you don't have any experience with electronics. This is extremely hard to be done for the average iphone user.

David Chien says:

Hi, I was wondering, if there is a fix for the connector on the motherboard for the antenna, there is nothing wrong with my antenna but it does not connect to the motherboard because the aluminum surrounding where the antenna is supposed to touch was broken off because i pressed the antenna too hard. If possible please email me, im willing to pay if you would fix it as well, also, if i have to get a new motherboard, that would mean a new iphone right? basically.

Etta Crossman says:

I could probably catch the last half hour