Mar 30, 2014

Changing the iPad2 Screen

There are a bunch of tutorials on how to do it, I know. But after doing it twice now (the first being the learning experience and the second one to correct what went wrong the first time) I believe I have something to contribute to the subject. Things that I didn't find in the tutorials I read when doing it for the first time. But since it is quite agravating to read a list of tips and a separate tutorial, here's the full process, with the tips included.

  • Order a digitizer screen full with the toolkit even though it has a bunch of stuff that I at least didn't need at all, for it is quite convenient to have the exact right size screwdriver and those plastic sticks are rather handy too. Besides, in Amazon, it was cheaper too than only the screen (which also would not ship at all to my nook of the world...).
  • Order a roll of 3M adhesive tape, for the strips that come with the toolkit were a pain in the butt to be placing on the iPad. Much easier to cut small stirps and place them all around.
  • Get some pure alcohol for cleaning the old glue off. I didn't actually have that, so I used nail polish remover, girl that I am, and it did work ok too.
  • Once you have all the appliances, choose the time to be messing with this wisely. To do it properly and without hurry, try to make sure you have no immediate time limit and peace and quiet around. I spent a good two hours with the second shot, just taking my time and being through. Also, be prepared to not use your iPad for a few hours after screen changing, to let the glue stick properly.

With the preliminary tips said, on to the actual process:

1) First off, you need to get the old screen off. The iPad turned off, use a hair dryer to heat the edges of the iPad, and pry the glass off (between the glass and the plastic rim) little by little, working around the edges with the help of one of the plastic tools (guitar pick or one of the stikcs).

2) When the glass is loose, open the iPad like a book. The screen is attached to the mother board with a cable, and next you need to get to that. So, with the screen out of the way, loose the screws in all four corners of the inner screen, and then lift that screen up, like turning a page in a book since it is attached to the motherboard too.

3) The motherboard exposed, see the digitizer screen cable in the bottom left corner. There's two small black latches that lock the cable in place, pull them gently with the flat small screwdriver or similar tool to release them. Once the cable is freed, your broken screen is free to be removed.

4) Now, clean the old glue from the iPad rim carefully. Any lumps of glue will make your new screen uneven and easily break again - the part I cheated on the first time round, impatien ADD that I am. Don't do that. Use that pure alcohol (or nail polish remover ;) ) and some q-tips to rub the glue off. The plastic stick tools are helpful also.

5) Prepare the new screen.

Unscrew and detach (use the blow drier again, if needed) the home button from the old screen and using a couple small pieces of the 3M tape, attach it to the corresponding spot on the new screen.

Detach the camera lense piece from the old screen (glue, again) and attach it to the new one.

6) Cut pieces of the 3M tape and place them on the iPad rim, not the screen. I have 1cm (0,4") wide tape and mostly I cut out a 5cm (appox. 2") piece and then cut it in three slim slices. That worked quite well overall, and then I jus t patched the rest of the spots with right size pieces. Tweezers are a good help, as you don't want to get finger grease on the tape.

Be careful not to get the tape on the white/black plastic rim, for that again results in an uneven screen taping and easier breaking.

7) Attach the new screen by sliding the cable between the iPad body and the inner screen, and pushing the pin end to its place and locking the latches.

8) Turn the inner screen back to its place and secure with the screws.

9) Before exposing the upper glue side of the tape, turn the digitizer screen to its place and turn the iPad on to test that everything works. Do at least these tests:

  1. the general working of the screen (unlocking the lock screen already does this)
  2. the keypad - open up a notepad app or web site etc. and do some typing to check that the keypad works ok
  3. open a web site to test that the wifi antenna is still working - if not, you need to order a new one and replace it
  4. home button - test that the home button does what it's supposed to in more than one scenario
  5. camera - try out the camera too

If there are any glitches, try to figure out the cause and correct it. E.g. first time out, I had the tape too close to the home button, preventing it from working fully.

10) When you are sure everything works fine with the new screen, turn off the iPad again and use a microfibre cloth to wipe the inner screen and the insides of the digitizer screen. Trust me, the occasional finger print is really annoying when you can't get to it. Even now, as carefully as I tried to wipe these clean, there is a little something left in my screen, that I did not notice when cleaning the screen.

11) Peel off the protective papers from the tape strips - tweezers may be helpful here too if fingernail don't seem to do the trick. Place the screen carefully in its place inside the plastic rim, and press the edges gently to attach properly. Try to make sure the screen snaps inside the rim.

12) Test out the screen again. With the off chance that something is amiss, this is your best opportunity at starting again, when the tape is not yet fully stuck. If you need to remove the screen again to do some fixes, do start again with the cleaning out the old glue. Even if it would happen to stay in place some way, chances are that it gets wrinkled and most probably does not hold well anymore. You also cannot simply add new tape on top of the old one.

13) Place the iPad on a soft flat surface (on top of a non-scratching cloth) screen side down, and place some heavy books on top. Let sit there for a few hours to give the tape glue time to attach properly before starting to use the iPad again.

Good as new? Ought to be :)


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