Weekly Mod: How to replace the Home button on an AT&T/GSM iPhone 4

The iPhone 4 is known to have issues when it comes to the home button -- all that double-clicking for multitasking seems to have come at a price! This is probably the reason they redesigned the home button assembly in the iPhone 4S. If your GSM iPhone 4 home button has become unresponsive or loose, a DIY repair is something you can perform with the right tools and about 45 minutes of your time.

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 you need for a DIY GSM iPhone 4 home button replacement

iMore 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 this guide only refers to the GSM model of the iPhone 4. If you are using the CDMA variant, please use that guide instead.

  • GSM iPhone 4 home button (white) - Buy now
  • GSM iPhone 4 home button (black) - Buy now
  • GSM iPhone 4 flex cable - 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

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.

Remove the vibrator assembly

  1. Locate your vibrator assembly in the upper right hand corner of your iPhone 4 (assuming you're looking at it from the back).
  2. It is held in with two screws. Use your #00 Phillips screwdriver and remove them. The screw on the left will be significantly longer. Just remember which screw came from where.
  3. Next, gently lift the vibrator assembly out of the device.

Remove the 4 screws in each corner

There are 10 total screws that attach your iPhone 4 LCD/Digitizer assembly to your frame. The 4 in the corners will need to be completely removed. They are all #00 screws.

Loosen the remaining 6 screws

These screws run along the sides of your iPhone and also have washers on them. I find it best to just loosen them opposed to removing them completely. The washers are not fun to put back in. Loosening them will allow you to remove the LCD/Digitizer assembly just as easily. About 2 1/2 to 3 turns for each screw should loosen them up enough to continue. If you feel the washer wobbling back and forth a bit, you've loosened it enough.

Remove the LCD/Digitizer assembly from your iPhone

This is where it can get a bit tricky. Your screen is held in not only with the 10 screws mentioned above but also with strong adhesive. You will need to break this adhesive in order to remove the front panel.

  1. Hold your iPhone in one hand with the screen facing you. Starting in the top left hand corner, run a pry tool or razor blade in between the frame and front panel. You'll need to pry up quite a bit in order to break the adhesive. Be careful around the front facing camera and speaker area.
  2. Next move your pry tool or razor blade to the bottom of your device and do the same thing, working your way around until the adhesive is broken and the front panel starts to come off.
  3. To completely remove the front panel - start at the top of your iPhone and gently pull the assembly away from the frame. Be careful to allow the LCD and digitizer cables to slip through the opening in the frame without getting caught up.

Remove the old home button and cable

  1. Flip the phone back over and look by your dock connector. There is a tiny bracket that holds the home button flex cable in place. You'll need to flip up the clip on the bracket. Be very gentle as it can break easily.
  2. Next, carefully back out the cable from the bracket.
  3. You can now remove the home button flex cable by pushing it through the opening in the front of the frame. The home button and the flex cable will come off in one piece.
  4. If you are only replacing the cable, peel the actual home button off the old cable and apply it to the new one.

Put in the new home button and cable

  1. Starting from the front of the frame you'll need to stick the flex cable through the opening just as you had taken the other one out.
  2. Next you'll need to gently wiggle the cable connector back into the bracket and clip it back down. The bracket is very small and it may take a few tries to get the cable seated all the way in.
  3. Clip the cable back down.
  4. Turn your iPhone back over and make sure your home button is aligned and straight. Push it down once or twice to make sure you are getting better feedback than before. You should hear a click and it should feel springy if it is installed correctly.

Reassembly

In order to re-assemble your device, follow these instruction in the exact opposite order or watch the reassembly video below.

Tip: When reassembling your front panel, make sure the LCD and digitizer cables come through and they are both the same height. They tend to crimp up occasionally and you'll have issues snapping them down to the logic board if they aren't even.

And... done!

You should now have a home button that's a lot more responsive and be ready to go!

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

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.

More Posts

 

6
loading...
0
loading...
43
loading...
0
loading...

← Previously

What do you want to see in an Apple iTV television set?

Next up →

Rumor: iPad 3 announcement coming in a few weeks?

There are 20 comments. Add yours.

musicfor18 says:

Dear God, I doubt I'd ever try that on my iPhone. Does not look like a good idea (unless you're Ally). And all that detail, step-by-step, on the disassembly and then you're on your own for reassembly?! Way too much room for error.

Allyson Kazmucha says:

That's why I linked up a reassembly video ;)

musicfor18 says:

Yes, I saw that AFTER I posted the comment. Sorry about that. Still, is be nervous wreck trying to do that, yet you're so calm!

Ferrigno says:

It's not really that hard..

Jocko says:

Jeez...thank god for extended warranty and coverage through Verizon!!

Lars says:

So... you basically have to disassemble practically the whole iPhone? Yikes.
My iPhone 4 (GSM) home button is wonky as well (after 18 months), but with that level of work, I think I can hold out. (and I'm not afraid of modding/upgrading most of my computers/electronic devices)

Jeff H says:

Good Lord! That would be a nerve-wrecking surgical procedure that would probably take me 5 hours, minimum. Hope I never have to worry about that...

FlopTech says:

Great video Ally! Fascinating to see the internals. But really, although we could do the fix ourselves, we'd gladly pay you to do it (if and when.) :-)

Frankie says:

iMore: more ways to break your $h&t!!

Ferrigno says:

Be EXTRA CAREFUL when connecting the home button cable into the little bracket, this is where I facked up...

GraysonIP says:

My home button has been on the blink for months, starting just a bit after my warranty expired. I've opted to use the Accessibility feature that allows for an on-screen home button. It's beautiful, because it saved me the expense of buying a replacement phone.

axmuzaffar says:

Thank you so much Ally! your detailed instructions helped me to replace my front screen, back plate, home button, and battery on my iPhone 4 white (GSM). When I put everything together, home button, charger, and speaker were not working. I found out that the cable was not connected correctly with the mother board. For everyone, just pay real close attention to what Ally said and you will be set. Thanks again.

Misha Herriott says:

This may not be the best place to inquire about this, but I'm searching for a pest management business in the pittsburgh region and have no method to find out who is the most effective. I discovered this business that's truly close to me and wished to see if any individual has any testimonials on them. Spectrum Pest Control, 3058 West Liberty Avenue, Dormont, PA 15216 - (412) 446-2802

Pedro Mayfield says:

A big thank you for your article.Much thanks again. Awesome.

Antoine says:

Its pretty oobvius? The Colors on the cymbals dont necessarily mean thats the one you have to plug in. Those are just for a reminder. There should be 4 different color screws in the box. I personally use Yellow and Green so you would put a yellow screw on One and then a green on the other. Stick them in the appropriate hole and you should be good.References : I have the cymbals

www.mobilehomepartsstore.com says:

I may be buying an iPod Touch this week. Probably the third gen 32GB. I don't really need a camera.

telefon says:

I have read some excellent stuff here. Certainly price bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how much attempt you set to make this kind of great informative website.

SEO Services says:

Thanks , I've recently been looking for info about this subject for a long time and yours is the greatest I have discovered so far. However, what about the conclusion? Are you positive about the source?|What i don't realize is in reality how you're not actually a lot more smartly-liked than you might be now. You are so intelligent.

caixa Econômica Federal says:

hi!,I really like your writing so so much! percentage we communicate more about your article on AOL? I require an expert on this area to resolve my problem. Maybe that's you! Having a look forward to see you.

rebo says:

You've gotta be freakin' kidding! I mean, THANKS for the info, I guess, but . . . you've gotta be freakin' kidding!