Wednesday, May 4, 2022

iPhone Repair Is Risky Business

Have you ever opened the back of your iPhone, out of curiosity or to replace a worn out battery?


I hadn’t either till necessity and the desire to save $50 motivated me.


Let me set the stage: I have an old iPhone 4S used solely when sequestered in the master, I mean, primary throne room. The phone cannot send or receive calls. It is not connected to the Internet. I use it for one purpose only, to play solitaire, the three card draw format (for variety I play the single card draw version on my iPhone SE).


For the last half year or more the 4S has not held a charge despite just minutes of use each day. My patience worn thin I inquired how much a replacement would set me back—$60, for battery and installation, the repair shop steward replied.


I enjoy playing solitaire but not $60 worth of enjoyment. So I did what hordes of people do every day. I googled how to replace a 4S battery.


Videos with ads for batteries and repair kits filled my laptop screen. I settled on a $13 remedy with two day free delivery.


Sunday afternoon I settled down at the kitchen counter to fix or, knowing full well my limited technical skills, destroy my 4S.


I arrayed the tool kit in front of me. I watched the video several times, wondering why my tool kit contained utensils not used in the video. Kinda like the extra nut, bolts and doohickeys Ikea throws into its furniture kits to play with your “I-can-do-it-myself” mindset. 


With determination and an equal if not greater amount of trepidation I unscrewed the phone’s back panel, lifted it off and, using a second magnetic screwdriver, unscrewed two teeny-tiny screws to release the grounding plate and, with a miniature plastic crowbar, lifted the depleted battery.


After putting the new battery into place it was time to reconnect the grounding plate. Looked easy on the video. Not easy in real life.


There’s a reason iPhones are assembled by lithe young people with small, dextrous fingers in foreign lands. What the repair shop techie said was a simple 10-15 minute total operation turned into a near 30 minute frustration trying to align the minuscule grounding plate back into position so the teeny-tiny screws could be securely fitted into their holes. 


I finally nailed it, though not without some fear that the grounding plate might not have been properly placed. Would I be burning down the house when I charged the battery?


Well, it’s been three days since the repair. Charging the battery didn’t start a fire. The phone is working like new. And so far, minus the cost of the repair kit, I’m $47 in the black.  

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