Student self-repairs cell phone


Junior Shannan Lum doc-umented a 35-step process she found online to repair her cracked iPhone screen.

Shannan Lum

Junior Shannan Lum doc-umented  a 35-step process she found online to repair her cracked iPhone screen.
Junior Shannan Lum documented a 35-step process she found online to repair her cracked iPhone screen.

While hopping out of a car last Memorial Day weekend, I heard a crack and looked down to see my precious iPhone 4 on the uneven asphalt. The entire back glass was shattered in a spider web pattern.

I was upset about the possible $100 repair in the moment, but I soon remembered a classmate from Stuart Hall High School had replaced his white back glass with an electric lime green. He explained how changing the back glass was a simple process I could perform myself with a special screw driver.

I’m the type of person who enjoys tinkering with technology. The thought of doing a self-repair on my phone at a fraction of the cost, which would have cost $99 at the Apple Store, was a relief, so I immediately started looking online for parts.

I purchased the 5-star pentalobe screw driver and gold-colored back for $10, using my mother’s Amazon Prime account, which provided free shipping.

Without any skill level or experience than an average CSH student, all had to do was remove two screws on the bottom of the phone and slide the broken back glass off, then replaced it with the new gold-colored glass.

Although the procedure was simple, that was the end of my luck. A few months later, my phone slipped off the theater armrest during a school assembly, cracking the front screen. I assumed the procedure to fix my screen would be a breeze, but I was mistaken.

Spending a whole class period on the website, I was guided through 35 steps to taking apart the phone. With the completion of each step, I logged where every small screw came from, taping each one to my notepad where I scribbled the steps, while keeping the delicate logic board that stores data and the thin metal sheet that holds the circuit board on the notepad.

I took my time — an hour and a half — only to realize the front glass I bought was in for a different model, so I attempted to put my old cracked front screen back temporarily until I ordered and received the right iPhone 4 screen.

I refused to go any further in putting my phone back together, worried that my logic board would snap in half. After three days of having my iPhone in pieces, a parent who is techy himself told me he could fix it. I passed my phone onto him, and he MacGyvered on the screen I had originally purchased.

This experience made me cautious about tinkering with my iPhone again, especially because the Apple product warranty is voided when there is any