I cracked my iPhone 4 glass pretty badly a couple weeks ago at the playground and while I tried to live with it, the cracks were getting worse and glass chunks were starting to come off. Not good.
I decided to go the DIY route and fix it myself. There is a lot of misinformation out there so hopefully I can bring a little bit of clarity to the subject.
If you are going to replace the glass you have to replace the digitizer and the screen at the same time as they are all one piece bonded together. This makes it a little scary since we all know that a big part of what makes the iphone 4 a nice phone is the nice screen.
This is the kit I went with: Apple Iphone 4 4g (AT&T) Black Screen Glass Replacement Digitizer with Frame + LCD Assembly + 6 Piece Tool Kit
Apparently in the iPhone 4, you need to purchase the CDMA (Verizon) or GSM (AT&T) version separately, but the 4S they are the same.
There are no instructions that come with these things, so you need to go watch YouTube videos. I went with the Zeetroninc version. There are two parts to the video, about 20 minutes total.
Actually making the repair took me about 90 minutes of start/stopping work. There are a ton of tiny tiny screws all with varying degrees of tininess, so it is super important to be organized. I took little white notecards and drew the locations of the screws and placed them on the paper when I removed them so I would know how they all go back in. This step is pretty much essential or you’ll get confused incredibly easily.
One thing I wish I had done was ordered a replacement battery at the same time, since in order to replace the screen the battery needs to come out too. Just replacing the battery would not have been very difficult if you had the right star bit screwdriver (included in my kit) for the bottom screws, so if your battery isn’t doing as well as it used to and you are comfortable voiding your warrantee, I’d say go for it.
The last thing to note is that my kit didn’t include a screen for the earpiece and you have to use the one from the broken glass and move it over. I forgot this part, oops.
The best news of all is that now that it is fixed, my phone’s home button is working much better than it was and the overall snappiness of the phone has improved. I suspect that when you do a shutdown of the phone, it doesn’t really shut all the way down, but when you remove the battery it is forced to start up fresh. Just guessing.