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How to replace​ the back glass of an iPhone, without a laser.

Ever since Apple has brought out wireless charging for the iPhone, they have needed to use glass on the back of the device. As beautiful as it makes the device look, it has also given us one more side of the phone that has the potential to be cracked.



Cracked back of an iPhone can cost up to $779 at Apple!

With recycling on everyone's mind in 2019, you would think apple would make this back glass replaceable. Instead the have decided to make the back glass of the iPhone 8 and newer nearly impossible to remove just the glass preventing the repair of it.


As a repair shop we wanted to find the best solution for all our customers who were breaking the back of their new iPhone and getting quoted over $700 from the Apple store for a fix. This repair from Apple is not exactly a “repair”, but more of a replacement of the entire device, making it so expensive.


We thought the back of the iPhone wouldn't be replaceable, after initial video’s came out online like this one from Jerry Rig Everything -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMKDoQ3qk7k We continued searching and found 3 viable options for replacing the back glass on an iPhone. We wanted to share with you all the options we found for replacing the back glass of the iPhone 8 or newer.



Here are the options we found:



Option 1: Replacing the entire housing.


This option would fix the problem of a broken glass, but would be very expensive. On average a repair shop would have to charge $300 for this repair. 


Below is an image of what the back housing looks like. The back glass can be ordered with or without the Apple logo.



Option 2: Laser Machine


You may have seen the videos online of a laser machine that can burn the glue from behind the glass. We found this cost to be around $2000. 

You will also need a way to ventilate the smoke from the machine when using, which could cost another $200. The machine was a little bit big and would not have fit in our Vancouver store where it could be ventilated so this was not an option for us.



Back glass laser removal tool


Option 3: Heat and pry tool


We knew knew that with extreme heat would eventually allow us to remove the glass, but we needed a way to keep the housing in one place (and it was too hot to touch).


We decided to try metal phone holder from our supplier mixed with a clamp to make sure the holder would not move. This way we could distribute the heat evenly over the back glass of the iPhone and remove the glass. The cost of the metal holder was $75 and the clamp $20. This was the best option for us.


Please note that you need to remove all the components of the iPhone from the frame and chassis before using extreme heat to remove the back glass.



Metal iPhone holder clamped to table.



Below are the steps we took to remove the back glass of an iPhone XS Max back glass. This will also work with any other iPhone to remove the back glass without having to using a laser.



Step 1: Fully Disassemble The Device.


It is extremely important to full disassemble the iPhone. If any plastic components are left in the phone, the extreme heat can melt them and they would have to be replaced. If you have never dissembled an iPhone we suggest you get a professional for the disassembly and reassembly.


If you would like to attempt this yourself we suggest using the repair guide from iFixit. The link to the disassembly for this particular iPhone (iPhone XS Max) is at: https://www.ifixit.com/Device/iPhone_XS_Max#Section_Replacement



iPhone XS Max fully disassembled

Step 2: Secure iPhone To Metal Holder + Clamp.


We found this metal tool holder to be a bit difficult to get the housing secured but it does do the job. It may take some playing around with it to get it to hold for you and also be carful not to scratch the frame when securing it to the metal holder.


Make sure to clamp this tool to your table to avoid it moving around. If you clamp it near the bottom of the housing, it also will prevent the phone from sliding back on you.




iPhone back housing clamped to a table

Step 3: Heat and Find an entrance to underneath the back glass.


We found this step to be the trickiest part of all. If the glass is not cracked very much it can be very hard to find a place to start removing the glass from. You may have to crack the glass further to get things started.


We were able to find an "entrance" to this one where it is damaged in the top left of the iPhone XS Max. We had pry tools in our store already, which we used to pick at the area, while applying heat from a standard heat gun.



Heating the top left corner
Able to remove some glass


Step 4: Remove the rest of the glass completely


We found removing the rest of the glass a piece of cake. Constant heat from the heat gun and a thin blade pry tool and we had the rest of this glass off in less than 2 minutes.


*Make sure to remove the glass around the camera lens. You want to keep this camera lens welded to the housing.


*Try your best not to damage the copper wiring when removing the glass, this is the NFC. If it is damaged it can be easily replaced.


*There are 2 microphones near the bottom of the device so be carful not to overheat or damage (again can be easily replaced if needed.


Removing the last of the glass

Step 5: Clean and adhere new piece of glass.


Once you have removed the rest of the glass make sure to clean the housing of any remaining glass. We used rubbing alcohol spray and a razor blade to remove little bits of glass.

Alcohol and a razor blade help to clean housing

It is EXTREMELY important that when buying your black glass you buy the "big hole" type. It you do not buy the "big hole" glass it will not fit around the camera lens.


Once you cleaned the housing completely you can lay down your adhesive. We used the pre-cut adhesive that came with our "big hole" back glass. You can see in the picture below we had a little crinkle in the adhesive, so it did not sit exactly perfect, although it didn't seem to matter.

If you do not have pre-cut adhesive, we recommend you use E8000 glue to glue the back glass to the housing. If using E8000 clamp the glass down to the housing for at least 15 minutes.


Pre-cut adhesive on iPhone XS Max housing.
New back glass secured to housing!

Step 6: Reassemble the iPhone


Completely reassemble the iPhone and turn it on to make sure everything is working as it was before.

iPhone XS Max fully assembled

*Please assume the iPhone is no longer as water resistant as it originally was. The degree of water resistance this phone will be after, will depend on how well you secure the back glass to the housing.


If you would like Cell Clinic to replace this back glass for you we do accept ship in's all across Canada with fast return. Reach out to us at hello@cellclinic.ca if your back glass on your iPhone is cracked and you want it professionally repaired.


Currently our price for the entire service, with glass included is $149. We are constantly working to lower our prices, so please check in with us to find out the current price.


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