The Genius Bar folks at the Apple store said it can't be fixed and tried to sell me a new one. My daughter searched online though and found a company called Zeetron selling a new digitizer and installation kit for $19.99. That's right. $19.99! I'm only a so-so handyman around the house but I figured, for 20 bucks, what do I have to lose?!
The kit arrived a couple of days later and included not only the digitizer but a couple of small magnetic screwdrivers and all the other tools for the job. And did I mention it was only $19.99?
Zeetron also has a couple of YouTube videos providing step-by-step instructions on how to make the repair. The first one takes you through the disassembly and repair steps while the second shows how to put everything back together.
I spent 2 hours working on it yesterday, mostly because I was overly careful and treated it like a an unstable nuclear device. Now that I've done one though I'll bet I could do another in about 20 minutes. Seriously. It's also given me the confidence (and the tools!) to replace the LCD or the battery if either of them ever give me trouble.
Here are a few tips of my own I recommend you consider for this project:
- Duct tape is your friend. Before you start, I suggest placing a piece of duct tape across as much of the digitizer as you can. You'll find the suction cup doesn't work too well when you place it on a cracked digitizer. I wasted 20 minutes trying to pull it apart. As soon as I put duct tape on it though it separated just fine.
- Don't just watch the how-to videos, walk away and try to remember each of the steps. Keep your computer in front of you so you can watch the videos one step at a time, pause, perform that step, rinse and repeat.
- Take your time cleaning all the old glue from the frame but be careful not to apply too much pressure on the ends where the home button and other circuitry are.
- Keep the screws in a sandwich baggie. Don't leave them on a table or counter. They're extremely small and they will disappear!
- Don't freak out when you have to reconnect the three electronic lines. It seems like a game of Twister in a very confined space but it can be done.
- Do a quick power and tap test before you put those two final screws back in the case. If one of the cables came loose it's quicker to just flip it back open and reconnect them without having to wrestle with those tiny screws.
One final plug for this Zeetron kit: It also includes a reflective, protective adhesive cover for the display. It's much nicer than the ones I've paid $5 each for at a local electronics store.
The phone is back together, looks like new and works just fine. Don't let Apple talk you into buying a new phone -- get a kit like Zeetron's and do it yourself!