The Most Common Smartphone Repairs You Can Do Yourself

The Most Common Smartphone Repairs You Can Do Yourself
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The Most Common Smartphone Repairs You Can Do Yourself. Dropping your phone and cracking the screen can completely ruin your day. While most handsets aren't built to be repaired, with the right tools and a little know-how, you can fix many problems with your handset for cheaper than an insurance claim.

Dropping your phone and cracking the screen can completely ruin your day. While most handsets aren't built to be repaired, with the right tools and a little know-how, you can fix many problems with your handset for cheaper than an insurance claim.

While it should go without saying, we'll say it anyway: opening up your phone will almost certainly void your warranty and, if you have insurance on your device, you will likely be unable to successfully make a claim if you choose to self-repair. If you're comfortable enough with a tiny screwdriver and electronic components, have at it. However, if you're unsure or don't want to risk it, talk to your carrier or manufacturer before you try to break open that phone.
No matter what phone you're trying to take apart, there are a few tools you'll almost always need. Some devices are easier to take apart than others, but before you open up your hardware, you'll want to make sure you have a few things on hand:
A screwdriver kit: It goes without saying that you'll need a set of screwdrivers, but the type you'll need may not be sitting in your garage. Your phone is filled with a myriad of tiny screws. iFixit sells a toolkit with many of the screw heads you'll need, but many PC repair toolkits will do.
Specialty screw heads: In addition to regular screwdrivers, certain smartphone models-especially modern iPhones-use special screws that standards sets can't handle. While this is usually done to prevent unauthorized repairs, you can buy tools that can open up the hardware.
Screen pry tools: Perhaps the most important tool you'll likely need that you won't already own is a plastic pry tool. They're relatively cheap. The pry tool is used to separate parts that are pressed together like the plastic casing.
The Most Common Repairs
Not every hardware problem with your phone can be easily repaired, but many can. Depending on the type of phone you have and whether you signed up for insurance on your device, it may be cheaper to do your own repairs (and void your warranty, of course). Here are some of the most common types of repairs and concerns you'll need to be aware of with them:
Broken Screen/Digitiser: Fixing a broken screen can be either fairly simple and cheap or extremely expensive depending on how it's built. In both cases, you'll need to disassemble your device (guides for many popular phones can be found below). In some cases, the glass and digitizer (the layer which translates taps into input) may be fused together which makes a replacement unit very expensive. If they are not, however, you can buy a replacement screen fairly cheap.
In cases where the display is not fused to the glass, you may be able to replace either the glass by itself or the glass and digitizer. Both are fairly simple repairs, but if the digitizer is connected to the glass, you'll need to connect a data cable, which varies by model. Here is a collection of guides for the most popular phones of the last couple years, but you can find others (see the next section below).
Headphone Jacks: Any time moving parts are introduced to a device, it can increase the failure rate. Headphone jacks may not be motorised, but they see a lot of action from headphones and stress can frequently be placed on the contact points if you it while working out or other heavy activity.
Once your device is opened, headphone jacks are relatively easy and cheap to replace, but this assumes you can get in. Devices with unibody designs like the HTC One are difficult to enter no matter what task you're trying to accomplish. Headphone jack units are usually self contained and plug directly into the motherboard, though they are sometimes attached to the speaker assembly. You can check out one of the guides below to see how easy it will be for your device.
Loose/Stuck Buttons: Like headphone jacks, buttons can be replaced roughly as easily as the phone itself is to open. You can buy replacements for most hardware buttons in a handset and swap them out without too many problems. However, if you're uncomfortable cracking open your phone, you can solve a lot of button problems with software.
Most buttons are attached via cables to the motherboard and they can be very delicate, so be careful when re-attaching new hardware. You can usually find out how to replace the various power and volume buttons by following the standard teardowns. Be sure to read ahead first before purchasing replacement components.
Camera Replacement: It's rare for camera hardware to break outside of a cracked lens, however internally, camera sensors are relatively easy to replace. The unit is usually attached by a single cable, but if the glass is cracked you can sometimes replace the exterior glass without actually removing the camera from the motherboard.
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