Do you feel like you have more customers than you’d like returning to your store with post-repair issues? Do you always feel like you get bad parts, no matter how many times you change suppliers? There’s a way of reducing both problems by watching out for these common, yet overlooked, steps when performing a screen replacement. You know what they say, “the devil is in the details,” so see if you’re paying close attention to the following:
Not Performing Pre-Checks
As we’ve mentioned in our previous article about liability terms, this is a key procedure, not only to protect your store from a warranty perspective but also to understand exactly what the issues on the device are before starting the repair. By checking all items such as touch functionality and the home button, you can save yourself time when disassembling the device.
Leaving Parts Out
Shields, screws, foam pads on cable connectors, etc. No matter how small or “insignificant” you may think that part is, you should always put a device back together with all components the way the manufacturer intended.
Having all parts in the proper place allows the retaining plates to keep cables seated and the foam pads on the cables to keep constant pressure, assuring all connections work properly.
Mixing up Screws
Pay attention! Screws are an extremely small component and easy to get mixed up. However, some screws are longer than others and if a slightly longer screw is placed in the wrong hole, it can drill a hole in the logic board rendering the phone irreparable. This happens ALL the time.
Stripping Screws From Using Worn or Damaged Tools
Tri-wing (Y) screws are very temperamental and very precise. A worn tool has a high risk of stripping the head of the screw since it can’t grip the screw head correctly.
Damaging Front Facing Camera Cables
Removal of the front-facing camera cables dramatically increases the risk of damage due to the adhesive(s) that holds them into place around the microphone and ear speaker contacts. To reduce this risk, apply heat to the area of while performing the repair.
Not Organizing Repair Sequence
When performing a repair, keep your workspace and parts organized. This goes a long way when putting the device back together in making sure you don’t leave any parts behind.
Placement of the Flex Cable on iPhone 6 and 6S Repairs Using Aftermarket Screens
A common issue with Aftermarket displays is the placement of the flex cable back under the thermal plate. Aftermarket screen flex cables are often thicker than the original, and when placed back under the thermal plate the increased thickness can cause a pressure spot near the top of the display. Instead, run the flex cable over the thermal plate to avoid this issue.
Not Rebooting an iPhone 7 and 7 Plus in Front of The Customer
For customers with an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus, the simple step of rebooting the phone in front of the customer before beginning work is vital. These phones are prone to “Loop Disease”, an electronic failure of the logic board when caused by a loosening of a chip – in this case, the Audio IC. Symptoms include screen freezing, a grayed-out voice memo icon, and a grayed-out speaker icon during phone calls. To identify any possible Audio IC issue before you start the repair, reboot the device in front of the customer and look for these symptoms. If Loop Disease is present, return the device back to the customer immediately and advise them to go to an Apple store, since Apple covers it under warranty.
iPhone 7 and 8 series LCD pressure spots at lower right corner
Another common issue found in the iPhone 7 and 8 series is LCD pressure spots in the lower right corner. This is not a manufacturer defect, but rather it’s the Touch IC pressing against the back of the LCD. The Touch IC sits into a slight depression on top of the loudspeaker, and when the Touch IC cover is not sitting in place it presses against the back of the LCD causing touch issues.
iPhone 7 and 8 series Touch issues
Often when a screen presents touch issues, it can be traced back to a simple issue of the flex cable getting pinched between the frame and the bezel. The aftermarket cables tend to be inconsistent in length and/or thickness. When closing any devices after repair, but especially the iPhone 7 and 8, it’s best to look and nudge the cables inward at the lower right side so that they can drop into and under the frame where they belong.
Debris Falling into Connectors
Debris falling into the connector can cause dead spots that might incorrectly be attributed to a bad display, especially if they fall in the foam surrounding the connectors. This is why it’s so important to keep an immaculate work area.
Not Pre-Testing Parts Before Closing the Device
This goes without saying: before closing a device, test for all common items to assure the phone is working properly. This includes:
- Touch at 100% of the surface area
- Look for pressure spots on the LCD before closing (if present after it means something is not in its proper place and is pushing against the display)
- Power Buttons
- Mute Switch
- Volume Buttons
- Proximity Sensor
- Ambient Light sensor (Did you move the ALS filter from the original screen to the new one?)
- Home Button, Biometrics and Face ID.
When it comes to preventing mistakes that can ruin the screen (or worse, the device itself), the key is attention to detail. Stay focused during the entire process, make a checklist of all the things you should watch out for before during and after a repair is completed, and document everything as you go through the repair process. Not only this will prevent unwanted returns, but will also raise your store’s quality standards to an entirely other level, making you truly stand out from the competition!
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