How to DIY repair headphone jack or mute switch issues in an iPhone 4S

Symptoms typically include audio cutting in and out when headphones are plugged in or no sound at all. The mute switch can also face issues where turning vibrate on or off results in no response or the switch itself being loose. These problems don't typically involve the actual mute switch, but the cable that lies underneath it.

Regardless whether you're having headphone jack or mute switch issues on your iPhone 4S, this guide can walk you through how to get both functions back in working order again.

Disclaimer: As with any repair, iMore cannot 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.

If you are comfortable with repairing your own device, put your ninja pants on and keep reading!

What you'll need to DIY replace an iPhone 4S headphone jack or mute switch

iMore recommends using only quality and genuine parts from a reputable supplier like iFixYouri. They have quality parts, tools, and much more for all your repair needs.

  • iPhone 4S (any variant)
  • Replacement headphone jack and mute switch cable
  • 5-point security screwdriver
  • Standard #000 Phillips screwdriver
  • Spudger tool
  • Razor blade
  • iSesamo Opening tool (not necessary but awesome for prying up cables and getting under adhesive)
  • SIM removal tool or paperclip

Power off your iPhone 4S

iPhone 4S slide to power off

Before performing any repair you should always power off your device before opening it up.

Remove the back plate

  1. Using your security screwdriver, remove the 2 screws on either side of the dock connector port.

iPhone 4S dock connector screws

  1. Set them aside. They are both the exact same size and length so it does not matter if you mix them up. They are interchangeable.
  2. Gently slide up the back plate by applying a bit of pressure along the bottom with your thumbs and sliding upwards.

iPhone 4S remove back plate

  1. Now lift off the back plate and set it aside.

iPhone 4S back removal

Remove the battery and grounding clip

  1. Using your #00 Phillips screwdriver, remove the two screws holding the battery in place.

iPhone 4S bottom battery screw

  1. These screws are different lengths so make sure you remember which one goes where. The one that is slightly larger is the bottom screw.
  2. There is a tiny grounding clip underneath the battery clip where the first screw is located. Use your spudger tool or finger to remove it before prying the clip up. Many times it can go flying if you don't remove it first and then you'll have difficulty locating it so it's best to remove it first.

iPhone 4S grounding clip removal

iPhone 4S grounding clip

  1. Now use your spudger tool and at the bottom of the battery clip, gently pry upwards so the clip pops up.

iPhone 4S battery clip

  1. Move to the edge of the iPhone where the volume buttons are located and use your spudger tool to carefully pry up the battery. It is stuck down with a good amount of adhesive so be careful when prying upwards that you don't bend the battery. This is why I do not use the plastic tab that is provided. It typically rips or bends the battery. If one part is resistant move your pry tool a little further down and gently start prying it up in different places taking care not to come too close to the volume button cables towards the top.

iPhone 4S battery removal

  1. Once you've gotten the battery pulled out of the iPhone 4S we can move on.

Remove the top logic board shields

  1. Using your #00 Phillips screwdriver, remove the four screws that hold the top silver shield in place and the one screw that holds the small black shield in place.

iphone 4s logic board shield removal

  1. Now use your spudger or pry tool to gently lift the silver shield out of the iPhone.

  1. Use your spudger or pry tool to lift the black shield out of the iPhone.

  1. Set both shields aside and make sure your screws are organized for reassembly later.

Unclip the top logic board cables & remove the rear-facing camera

Using your spudger or pry tool carefully disconnect all the cables at the top of the logic board. There are seven cables total. One of the cables lies underneath the bottom most cable so you'll need to disconnect the cable over it before folding it back and revealing the shorter cable underneath.

Once you unclip the seven cables, you can lift the rear-facing camera directly out of the iPhone. It is only connected by one cable.

Disconnect the dock connector

  1. Using your #00 Phillips screwdriver remove the shield that is covering the dock connector cable towards the middle left of the iPhone. Remember which screw came from where as they are different sizes. Gently lift the shield out of the iPhone and set it aside.

Remove dock connector shield iPhone 4 CDMA

  1. Take your spudger tool and gently pry up the dock connector cable and peel it back as shown below. Perform this step with caution as there is adhesive on the underside of the cable. Take care not to rip the cable by pulling up to quickly.

Remove dock connector cable iPhone 4 CDMA

  1. Leave the cable in this position and move on to the next section.

Pry up the cellular antenna

  1. Using your spudger toolcarefully pry up the round connection for the cellular antenna. It should come up easily so pry up gently.

Unclip antenna cable iPhone 4 CDMA

  1. You'll notice that it is wrapped around a metal clip. Gently unwrap it so it's sticking upwards and leave it in this position.

Remove the SIM card and tray

Using a SIM removal tool or a bent paper clip, eject the SIM tray and set it, and the SIM card aside.

Remove the logic board

  1. Remove the three #00 Phillips screws at the top, middle, and bottom left of the logic board with your #00 Phillips screwdriver. The top screw has a piece of tape over it you'll need to peel back. After removing it you'll also notice a gold grounding clip underneath it. Make sure you don't lose it as you'll need it for reassembly.

  1. There are two more screws holding the logic board in place and you'll need to remove them with your flat head screwdriver. They are located at the top right and bottom of the logic board.
  2. Now you should be able to lift the logic board out of the iPhone. Use the area that the rear-facing camera was located and the bottom of the logic board to lift it straight out.

Remove the metal retainer & front facing camera


There is a metal retainer covering the front facing camera. To remove it use your pry tool to gently pull it off. Make sure you don't lose it as you'll need it for reassembly. Now that the metal retainer has been removed you can gently lift the front facing camera out of the iPhone 4S.

Remove the headphone jack and mute switch sensor cable assembly

  1. Start by removing the screw holding on the upper antenna with your #00 Phillips screwdriver.

  1. Using a metal spatula or pair of tweezers, peel the upper antenna away from the headphone jack. It is only held down with a bit of adhesive and should come loose rather easily. Take care to pay attention as to how it was laid so you know how to put it back during reassembly.

  1. Use your tweezers or a pry tool to carefully loosen the noise canceling mic from the upper frame. Do not attempt to completely remove it since it is attached to the headphone jack cable. You'll only want to loosen it enough so the adhesive completely breaks.

  1. Again, using tweezers or a pry tool carefully pull the headphone jack assembly out of your iPhone 4S. It is still attached so you'll only want to dislodge it from the midframe for now.

  1. Now using the same #00 Phillips screwdriver, remove the screw towards the top of the casing.

  1. Now travel a little further down the inside of the midframe and remove the four screws with your #00 Phillips screwdriver that hold in the vibrate switch as well as the volume buttons.

  1. Carefully dislodge the vibrate switch using your tweezers or pry tool taking care not to completely pull it out just yet.

  1. We now have all the components dislodged that are attached to the headphone and mute switch flex cable. From here we can now carefully pull up the cable and remove it in its entirety from the device.

Replace the headphone jack and mute switch cable

To replace the headphone jack and mute switch cable, follow the removal instructions exactly in reverse. Please note that you may have to transfer the metal brackets to the new cable if the replacement cable you purchased did not come with the brackets pre-installed.

Replace the front facing camera & metal retainer


Now replace the front facing camera with the new replacement part. Once it is securely in place you can replace the metal retainer by snapping it back in place.

Reassemble your iPhone 4S

To reassemble your iPhone 4S, you can either follow all these directions in exact reverse order or view our reassembly video guide above which will walk you through how to reassemble it from screen to turning it back on and testing it. For a headphone jack and sensor cable replacement, you'll need to watch from around 5 minutes and 3 seconds to the end of the video.

And ...done!

Once you've gotten your iPhone 4S completely reassembled and you're positive you don't have any leftover screws, you can go ahead and turn the device back on. If all went well, you should see the Apple logo. Since we've replaced a cable that controls both the headphone jack and the silent switch, make sure you test both thoroughly to make sure that they're working correctly.

If they are, pat yourself on the back. You're officially a DIY ninja.

Allyson Kazmucha

iMore senior editor from 2011 to 2015.