Replacing a damaged iPad digitizer screen is a fairly straightforward DIY project that almost anyone can tackle. Digitizer screens are made from glass, and the screen can become cracked or broken after a fall of only a few feet. The most frustrating thing about a broken digitizer screen is that while the digitizer screen is damaged, the rest of the iPad is functioning normally. Unfortunately, an iPad without a functioning digitizer screen is pretty much useless.
Apple’s warranty says that pretty much any kind of damage that occurs to an iPad isn’t covered under the warranty. Buying a new iPad can be prohibitively expensive; sending it to a repair shop takes time and money. There’s another alternative for those looking to restore their iPad to full functionality without spending an arm and a leg: replace the screen yourself.
All You’ll Need is a Replacement Digitizer Screen, a Few Simple Tools and Some Adhesive Material
Finding a replacement digitizer screen isn’t a difficult task. An internet search using the keywords “replacement digitizer screen” will deliver the names of several companies that offer OEM replacement digitizer screens at reasonable prices.
The iPad screen replacement process is fairly straight forward that requires a few simple tools, some adhesive material and about forty five minutes to complete.
The few simple tools are a small Phillips screwdriver, a wedge tool (like a spudger) to pry open the two sections of the iPad and some kind of blade instrument, such as a razor blade or putty knife, to slice through the adhesive layer that glues the two sections of the iPad together. You’ll also need some adhesive material to reattach the two sections of the iPad.( If you don’t have these tools, the companies that sell replacement iPad digitizer screens usually sell kits containing the exact tools needed for removing and replacing the digitizer screen, including the adhesive material.)
Removing the Digitizer Damaged Screen
The first step in the replacement process: turn off the iPad and remove the battery.
The next step is the most difficult: separating the two sections of the iPad without damaging the iPad itself.
To keep the weight of the iPad down, the two sections are glued together a special adhesive material. The adhesive material that holds the two sections together is very hard to cut through. A hair dryer can be used to soften the material, but it isn’t necessary. Be patient and take your time – the adhesive often requires a lot of effort to remove.
Start at the bottom right corner of the iPad, inserting the blade into the seam where the back and front sections are glued together, working from right to left, carefully slice through the adhesive layer, making sure to cut away from you.
After you’ve completed slicing through the right edge of the adhesive layer, use the wedge tool to pry the right side of the front panel from the iPad. At this point you’ll need to disconnect the WiFi antenna, taking special care that you don’t damage the cable. Once you’ve disconnected the antenna you can continue slicing through the adhesive layer until the two sections are completely separated. Along the way you’ll want to be extra careful while cutting around the iPad’s home button assembly and front camera housing.
Once you’ve cut through the adhesive material, open the iPad up and carefully lift the digitizer 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. Before you unplug the video connector you’ll have to take out the LCD screen located underneath the digitizer screen.
Using a Phillips screwdriver, take out the screws that hold the LCD screen in place. After that use your pry tool to open the bracket securing the LCD’s two video connectors and then disconnect the cables. Now you can lift the LCD screen out of the iPad. Place it to the side while you install the digitizer screen.
Now you need to open the latches that hold the digitizer’s video connector cable in place. You’ll need to use your pry tool for this task. Disconnect the digitizer’s video cable and remove the old digitizer screen. Dispose of the damaged digitizer screen in a safe and environmentally friendly way.
Now You’re Ready To Install the New Digitizer Screen
Now you’re ready to install the replacement digitizer screen. The installation procedure is basically the same as removal procedure, only in reverse: connect the digitizer’s video cable and close the latches so the cable is properly secured. Next, reconnect the LCD’s cables, close the brackets that and put the LCD screen back in its place.
Now comes the second hardest part of the procedure: resealing the iPad. This is what the adhesive material is for.
It’s critically important is to make sure that the two sections are in properly aligned when resealing you iPad. Check that the power button can be accessed and the camera lens is not blocked. Before you begin resealing the iPad be sure that all the old adhesive material has been removed.
If you’re using adhesive strips to seal your iPad, you’ll need to cut them 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. Take your time with this step. This is definitely something you’ll want to do right the first 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 wait a few hours for the adhesive to set.
Save Time and Money by Replacing the Digitizer Screen Yourself
Replacing an iPad digitizer screen yourself can save both time and money. The removal and installation process only takes about forty five minutes to an hour to complete. All that’s required is a replacement digitizer screen, a few simple tools and a little patience.
Jeff Vance is an internet content specialist working for LaptopScreenSource.com.au an Australian company that specializes in providing OEM replacement laptop and iPad digitizer screens.