I drove down the street with excitement after finally getting my truck started from a 3 day electrical failure. Not thinking about the iPhone sitting on my bumper, I took off for a test drive down the street. Doing donut tests and sharp cornering just to make sure it was all “tight.” I then get back and go make a call. Low and behold, my phone is nowhere to be found. I keep looking for it around the house, then put 2 and 2 together and head down the street. After a bit searching, confusion, scratching my head and pondering what to do next, I grabbed a roll of clear packing tape and gave the glass a new layer so it didn’t fall allover the place. I had my phone back – in shambles mind you. Everything that could be smashed was smashed. I was surprised everything still worked too, the phone — although with both front and back glasses smashed — still responded to my touch.
I then set out to get this fixed, but locally the prices were inflated and no repair shop would sell me the parts to do it myself, and if they did, it would be the same cost as the repair. With a bitter capitalist taste in my mouth I set out to find an alternative, and you know, I love ripping stuff apart too so i’m all for a DIY project.
Enter my good friend Jesse at Repair Launch and the master engraver Adam at Jack Backs.
Jesse at Repair Launch sent me his iPhone 4 broken glass repair kit, while Jack Backs did a bit of customization and shipped over a beautifully laser cut metatron cube on a cherry wood back. Why metatron you ask? Why not. It looked detailed enough to put their skills to the test, and ever since I saw it on some poster I was drawn to its shape and geometry. It also looks pretty sweet on wood.
The replacement for the front glass digitizer was difficult, this is not something for the faint hearted, big fingered, clumsy person. You will be taking things apart you think you shouldn’t. If you’ve never taken apart a smartphone before, this might not be a best first choice. But of course, if you are up for the challenge give it a go.
The hardest was sliding the broken glass off from the front of the iPhone 4. Picking bits of glass from the adhesive tape on the chasis isn’t much fun either. The worst of it all was a couple screws on the inside edges that dont quite seem to thread in again. There’s many many screws for that matter. I’m not going to go into the iPhone 4 screen replacement simply because its already well documented, and my experience was a freaking gong show. I had extra screws at the end, and well, all I can say is yes, it still works.
Nearly anyone can replace the back glass, unlike the complicated glass digitizer repair; I would recommend you send this in if you’re having second thoughts. The back glass replacement is simple though. Just unscrew 2 screws with the provided screw driver (usually pentalobe) and with the shift of the back plate it slides off. Instead of installing the replacement glass I opted for a beautiful wood Jack Back. This makes your iPhone 4 stand out from the crowd. It also brings a bit of analog feeling to it, like an 80s wooden moog synth, or an atari or, something like that. After you buy your Jack Back, you send in your artwork by overlaying it on the template they provide you. They ship out the complete package and you’ll be excited to hear that the quality is exceptional. Although it felt a little flimsy when not installed, once it was installed it felt very durable and comfortable.
Installing the front glass and digitizer is not for the faint hearted. You can save yourself a few bucks by doing this, but be 100% sure its something you’re willing to tackle. If not, send it to the pros. Replacing the glass back is dead simple, whichever way you go, glass or wood. I recommend going for wood since it just looks so damn sexy and feels nice in your hand. Although a little pricey for some, the upgrade will definitely give you a custom unique smartphone in the land of blur.