Every technician has been through this more than once or twice. Reassembling a screen can go wrong in many ways and you see yourself sitting there questioning everything! “Why won’t this screen fit back into place?” “How did I crack the display just putting it into the frame?” “Why is the LCD all of sudden black just from installing it?” “Why did the iPad digitizer break so easy? My supplier just sells me cheap parts!”
One of the most overlooked items on the list of defects is frame damage. Frame damage is far more common than a defective part because there are so many ways a frame can be damaged. Tiny dents, small dings, and even the tiniest of twists in the frame can result in a cracked display upon install, sudden blackout, etc. Below is a detailed outline of frame damage, what to look for, and how it can damage parts. Our goal is to help you look out for these types of damage to help you avoid the headaches of unexpected part damage.
Here are some of the (sometimes almost invisible) problems related to a bent or a twisted frame:
- A slight bend or twist is force being applied to the display. Physics come into play here. That torsion has to go somewhere and it’s the weakest part that will end up accepting it, and that’s usually the LCD.
- The logic board is screwed into the frame directly, so that same bend or twist is also bending or twisting the logic board. Over time something has to give, and lead-free solder is inherently weak and brittle, so it will fracture. This causes oxidation of the solder spheres under the tiny IC’s and eventually breaks the connection. Remember the Touch IC issue on the iPhone 6 and 6 plus? The frames are so fragile that the logic board is constantly twisting with every force applied by that device placed into your customer’s back pocket.
- This happens even with plastic models such as the iPhone 5C since they still have a metal internal skeleton that bends.
Stronger frames on 6S and Newer Models:
- Apple created stronger frames to reduce the issues mentioned above. However, the edges are still weak and are easily damaged when dropped. Pay attention to the following:
- A tiny little corner dent will interfere with the new display being attached because the perimeter of the phone has such a tight tolerance between metal and plastic bezel.
- A little ding applies force on the glass and touch panels making the phone overreact to touch or even react on its own when not being touched. This is commonly called ghost touching or phantom touching.
What Should You Do With a Frame Damaged Phone?
Given the materials the frames are made of, repairing the bend or ding may not do much. Aluminum requires a lot of heat to truly unbend it. You can bang out the dent or use a frame repair type tool to help you, but depending on where the dent is you may be just wasting your time.
In this case, declining the repair of an iPhone 6/6+ with a bent or twisted frame might not be a bad idea to avoid any future headaches. Over time the logic board will start having issues and we all know customers thoughts “You last touched it, so YOU damaged it”.
If a customer insists on the repair or you just decide you’ll do it, make sure to have them sign a release of liability for future issues declaring that your shop will not honor any warranty or guarantee after the repair is done.
Overall, when it comes to frame damage, keep in mind that forcing the replacement display will cause issues. Even the slightest dent has consequences, and sometimes turning down a customer is better than facing the anger of a returning one.
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