Tearing apart an iPad

Earlier this month Joy and I decided to try and replace the screen on a 3rd Generation iPad. We sourced an iOpener iFixit Kit from iFixit which included tools, and a screen / digitize assembly. The iPad patient had a completely shattered front screen with two dented corners. Following instructions found online we attempted to lift the screen with the tools provided.

An iPad’s screen is adhered with very strong glue. iFixit provides a closed tube/sack of fluid that is microwaved and then palced on the iPad to melt the glue. It didnt work at all. The glue remained strong and sticky. Instead of trying to remove the entire front screen, we decided to chip away at the glass trim with a razor blade. This proved marginally sucessful (and painful). After about an hour and a half of chipping, we decided to invest in a heat gun.

$22.00 and a day later, we applied 1000 degrees of pure thermal radiation to the glue, which promptly melted. The iFixit guitar picks were somewhat useful for lifting the glass as we melted the glue. We slid the guitar picks in under the glass and moved them down the side to prevent the glue from re-sticking.

Some parts of the side required more razor blade scraping, but the heatgun dramatically accelerated the process.

Once we removed the trim around the screen, we were able to lift the whole panel off, despite the shattered surface. We speculate that the digitizer managed to hold the pieces together.

From there, we removed the LCD panel and set it aside in a safe place. Under the LCD are the three ribbon connectors for the digitizer, LCD and logic board. We disconnected the LCD and digitizer and proceeded to clean the metal trim to allow for the next glass panel. Once clean of glass shards and glue (we used rubbing alcohol to remove the glue), we plugged in the new digitizer/screen and the LCD. Screwed down the LCD and set the digitizer/screen over top.

Unfortunately, the dents in the corners prevented the glass from sitting properly and was lifting off the chassis. We attempted to push out the metal frame dents but were only slightly successful.

We let the new adhesive sit with pressure and attempted to turn on the device and it came back to life!

After testing, the digitizer was functioning perfectly with no glitches or dead spots. However, because of the dented corners, the glass is still lifting off of the chassis.

If you want to perform this same procedure here are some tips:

1. Use a heat gun.

2. Use a straight edge razor

3. Take your time and be careful of glass shards

4. Work on covered surface (for easy cleanup)

5. Try and use a file to remove, or push out dented corners

6. Be very careful not to scratch the LCD- they are far more expensive than your digitizer.

7. Pick up a broken iPad off of ebay to try this on first. Make sure that you get a similar model to the one you own!


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