How to replace an iPad digitizer screen, what to do when disaster strikes.by donaljames on Apr 30, 2012 • 7:42 am 6 Comments
You’ll never know when digitizer screen disaster will strike. It takes only a fall of a few feet to ruin an iPad’s digitizer touch screen. Cracked or damaged digitizer screens are a common problem — according to warranty company SquareTrade, ten percent of all iPad users damage their digitizer screens within the first year of purchase! In most cases, while the digitizer screen is damaged, the LCD screen just beneath it is still working fine. So do you need a new iPad? Of course not — all you to do is replace the digitizer screen.
If you find yourself with a broken or damaged digitizer screen, there are three things you can do about it: return your iPad to Apple, send it out to an authorized touch screen repair shop, or you can replace the digitizer screen yourself.
Replacing the Digitizer Screen: Not As Crazy As It Sounds.
Replacing the digitizer yourself isn’t as crazy as it might sound. There are many companies that offer OEM replacement digitizer screens at reasonable prices. And the iPad screen replacement process is fairly straight forward that requires about forty five minutes and a few simple tools to complete.
Those tools are a small Phillips screwdriver, a wedge tool (like a spudger) to pry the two sections of the iPad apart, some kind of blade, such as a razor blade or putty knife, to slice through the adhesive layer that holds the two sections of the iPad together. In addition, you will need some adhesive strips to reattach the two sections after you’ve installed the new digitizer screen.( If you don’t have these tools, usually the companies that sell replacement iPad digitizer screens also sell kits containing the exact tools needed for removing and replacing the digitizer screen. )
Once you’ve received your replacement screen and assembled your tools, you’re ready to proceed. The first thing you need to do is turn off your iPad and remove the battery.
The Hardest Part is Getting the Darned Thing Open
Now comes the hard part — removing the adhesive layer that holds the front and back sections of your iPad together.
The front and back sections of the iPad are sealed together by a special adhesive material that is very hard to cut through. However, this adhesive layer must be removed in order to open your iPad. Be patient and take your time — the adhesive often requires some effort to remove.
Starting at the bottom right corner of the iPad, insert your blade into the seam where the back and front sections meet and then, working from right to left, carefully slice through the adhesive layer, making sure to cut away from you.
Once you’ve completely cut through the right edge of the adhesive layer, use your wedge tool to pry the right side of the front panel from the iPad. Before you continue cutting through the adhesive layer, you’ll first need to disconnect the WiFi antenna; once the WiFi antenna has been disconnected you can continue slicing through the adhesive layer until the two sections are separated. In addition to the WiFi antenna you’ll want to take special care while cutting around the unit’s volume and power controls, home button assembly and front camera housing.
Don’t worry — it gets easier!
You Have to Remove the LCD Screen First.
After you’ve completed cutting through the adhesive layer, carefully lift the digitizer screen out so you can remove the unit’s LCD screen, making sure you don’t damage the flex ribbon cable that connects the digitizer to the iPad. This is the video connector and is crucial to the operation of a touch screen. It will have to be disconnected before you can attach the new screen, but you’ll first have to the LCD screen before doing so.
Using your Phillips screwdriver, remove the screws that keep the LCD screen in place. Using your pry tool, carefully lift the bracket securing the LCD’s two video connectors and disconnect the cables.
With the cables disconnected, you shouldn’t have any trouble removing the LCD screen. Lift the LCD screen out and place it to the side.
Next, using the same pry tool, carefully open the latches that hold the digitizer’s video connector cable in place. With the latches open, you can disconnect the video cable and completely remove the old digitizer screen. Dispose of your old digitizer screen in a safe and environmentally friendly way.
Now you’re ready to install the replacement digitizer screen. It’s basically the same as removing the screen, only in reverse: connect the digitizer’s video cable, making sure you close the latches so the cable is properly secured. Reconnect the LCD’s cables and the put the LCD screen back in its place.
Putting the Pieces Back Together.
For the next step you’ll have to reseal the two sections of the iPad back together. This is what the adhesive strips are for.
It’s very important is to make sure that the two sections are in properly aligned when resealing you iPad. Make sure you’ve removed all the old adhesive material. Cut the new adhesive strips to the necessary size and place the strips along the entire adhesive perimeter of the iPad, making sure that they’re placed in the proper position. You may encounter difficulty getting the home button assembly and camera correctly aligned with the front panel. Again, take your time — the last thing you want to do is have to reopen your iPad!
Now that the two halves of your iPad are back together, set the screen face down on a flat surface and place a weight (not too heavy, of course) on the back section, and allow the adhesive to set over night.
Good As New!
In the morning your iPad should be good as new! What a way to start your day!