How to Replace the LCD Screen on an iPhone 3G for under $50

I dropped my iPhone 3G in a puddle this winter. I was able to take it apart, dry it out, and it still worked. But the LCD wasn’t looking so good.

I posted that story here. The LCD screen had problems. Moisture stayed between the LCD and the glass, but that eventually dried. Worse yet, the display had permanent lines criss-crossing it, and the lower left corner was obscured, but it was tolerable. While I was taking it apart, I did some prying where I shouldn’t have and damaged it. It was OK for a while, but the damaged corner began to spread across the bottom and it was getting harder to use.

Water trapped inside, criss-crossing lines and the dead spot in the corner
Water trapped inside, criss-crossing lines and the dead spot in the corner

So I decided to do another repair. The first time I followed this site with photo instructions, but it didn’t cover the LCD. I should have done better research. Now I found this video by two guys removing a broken glass. During that repair they discovered a neat trick to get the LCD off. That was my mistake the first time around, I pried when I shouldn’t have. In my research, this is the only video that had details about the LCD. But it only showed how to remove it. It didn’t show how to replace it with a new one. That part I figured out on my own.

It pays to shop around. Repair places charge $150 or more to replace an LCD. If you are lucky enough to live near a shop you can get same day service. Otherwise you have to mail it off. That’s too long to be without my phone, and too much money. The LCD alone they would sell me for $90. Still too much. I got mine for $35. I got the tools and the LCD on Amazon from Wireless Finest out of Texas. DO NOT skimp on the tools. 6 bucks against a $600 phone is a no brainer.

A brilliant tip I found was using a suction cup to remove the glass. It is included in the toolkit. Some advised prying it off, which I did the first time. It’s hard to do, and too easy to damage the rubber seal or the glass. Now it’s time for my repair. Since I found such good tips on video, I created this video of my own.

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