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How to replace a cracked or broken screen on an iPhone 5

We understand the pain of picking up your iPhone off the ground only to find pieces of glass falling out of it. Unfortunately, a replacement iPhone 5 can cost a few hundred dollars — but a replacement screen isn't that expensive and 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!

Tools and parts

There are lots of parts suppliers out there but not all of them are created equal, especially fly by night Amazon and eBay resellers. 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 5 replacement screen
  • iPhone 5 tool kit
  • Razor blade (not necessary, but recommended)

Note: Some folks have trouble getting the screen off with a suction cup if the screen is extremely spidered. This why we recommend picking up a razor blade as well in case you run into this problem. We can show you an alternate way of removing the display.

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.

  1. 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

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. 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.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

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.

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iMore senior editor from 2011 to 2015.