How to Replace the iPhone Enclosure

by

Matt McK took the time to write up this detailed step-by-step guide on how to replace the back casing of the iPhone with a black one. His tutorial follows...

Ever since the iPhone was originally announced I've always wished it was black.

When i picked one up the first weekend they were released I even thought about powdercoating my back to make it black. Luckily, CNN.cn came out with replacement silver and black metal housings to save me the trouble. Well, not entirely, as I'm sure many people have seen already in the earlier thread how the results look, but no where offers a "how-to "do it!

There are a handful of sites that show how to take the iPhone apart, but no one actually shows how to remove all the delicate pieces from the rear housing. I've swapped housings on a number of different phones, but have never run into one as complicated and delicate as the iPhone.

So everyone doesn't ruin their new toy, I'll try to walk you through the process here. I'm going to jump right into the housing assuming that you've already taken it off. If you don't know how to do that, google search and read one of the half dozen sites that show you how (Youtube video). This is the end result:

Parts you will need:

- new housing
- super tiny philips screwdriver. (The one I found at Ace hardware didn't even have a number on it. All I know is that '0' was not small enough.)
- small flat head screwdriver
- adhesive remover
- super glue/adhesive
- pen/paper
- patience!

Once you get the back off you'll be looking at this:

Note the location of screws and where things are glued to. I would suggest labeling all the tiny screws so you know exactly where they go because they are NOT all the same size. I took a lot of pictures throughout the process so i could reference exactly where everything went when i was ready to put it all back together.

Once you remove all the screws and electronic components you'll be left with the metal skeleton of the original housing. Quite honestly, this is the hardest part about the swap.

The skeleton is glued on by some crazy hard cement type glue. I couldn't seem to find anything to take it off so i finally went to Home Depot and picked up the strongest adhesive remover i could fine. This one removes concrete and flooring so i thought it'd do the trick!

Next, pour the solvent on the skeleton ensuring you get it in all the cracks. Let it sit for about 20 -30 minutes. After it's done its job and using the smallest flat blade screwdirver you have slowly pry away the skeleton. Be careful as these parts are extremely brittle. I cracked quite a few parts of it before i got this solvent and realized the 'proper' way to do it.

When you're finished you're left with this:

Actually, i think there are a few pieces missing from that pic, but you get the idea.

The housing will then be stripped bare with nothing left on it:

As you can see, before I went the "super strong solvent" route, I tried prying the crap out of the parts which bent a number of points of my original housing. No turning back now!

Once everything is taken apart, cleaned, and dried, it's time to put it back together. I referenced the photos i took earlier to ensure everything was put back in the proper place. i used superglue, but you could really use anything you wanted to hold everything in place. If you've gotten this far, you should realize how to put it back together.

Then it's simply a matter of putting the housing back on the phone and... Voila! An all black iPhone. For the SIM card cover i sprayed SEM trim black paint so it matched the housing.

Just a few of the many... out with the old, in with the new.

In Hexproject's thread he mentions it took him 3 hours and people balked at him thinking it should only take 30 minutes. Those people have no idea what they're talking about. I spanned this out over two days before/after work and finals. I'm sure it took me close to 3 hours as well. Plus, I had to run back and forth a few times to get the right parts.

The end result is just what i was looking for! I did, however, mess up one part and that was the silent/ring switch. I must not have noted which position it was on when i took it all apart and now it's stuck on vibrate! Frustrating, but i guess i'll have to deal with it. i really don't feel like taking the phone apart again. Anyone know if there's anyway to turn on the ringer another way than that damn switch?!

Other than that, i hope the post was helpful. Comments are always welcome.

Top Stories

Apple Takes Legal Action Against Small Company With Pear Logo

Saturday August 8, 2020 11:09 am PDT by
Apple is taking legal action against the developers of the app "Prepear" due to its logo, according to iPhone in Canada. Prepear is an app that helps users discover recipes, plan meals, make lists, and arrange grocery deliveries. The app is a spinoff of "Super Healthy Kids," and the founders claim that they are facing litigation from Apple. Apple reportedly takes issue with Prepear's logo, ...

Kuo: Global iPhone Shipments Could Decline Up to 30% If Apple Forced to Remove WeChat From App Store [Updated x2]

Sunday August 9, 2020 10:17 pm PDT by
In a worst-case scenario, Apple's annual global iPhone shipments could decline by 25–30% if it is forced to remove WeChat from its App Stores around the world, according to a new research note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo viewed by MacRumors. The removal could occur due to a recent executive order aiming to ban U.S. transactions with WeChat and its parent company Tencent. Kuo lays out...

Google Maps Debuts New Apple Watch App and CarPlay Features

Monday August 10, 2020 9:16 am PDT by
Google today announced the launch of several features for Google Maps on Apple products, including new CarPlay functionality and a new Google Maps app that works on Apple Watch. The new Google Maps app for Apple Watch works similarly to the iOS app, allowing Apple Watch owners to get directions for a car, bike, public transit, or on foot. The app supports estimated arrival times and...

2020 iMac Teardown Reveals Internal Changes and Similarities

Saturday August 8, 2020 12:44 pm PDT by
A teardown video, shared by OWC, reveals the internal changes in the new 2020 27-inch iMac. The 2020 27-inch iMac was announced earlier this week with 10th-generation Intel Core processors, AMD Radeon Pro 5000 series graphics, up to 128GB of RAM, up to 8TB of storage, a 1080p front-facing FaceTime camera, a True Tone display with a nano-texture glass option, higher fidelity speakers, and...

Apple Seeds iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 Public Beta 4 to Testers

Thursday August 6, 2020 10:05 am PDT by
Apple today seeded new public betas of upcoming iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 updates to its public beta testing group. Today's software releases, which Apple labels as fourth betas to keep them in line with developer betas, are actually the third betas that Apple has provided and they come two weeks after the prior beta releases. Public beta testers who have signed up for Apple's beta testing...

Apple Believes This German Cycling Path Logo Infringes on Its Own Logo

Wednesday May 1, 2019 9:51 am PDT by
Apple recently objected to the logo of a new German cycling path in an appeal filed with the German Patent and Trademark Office, according to German outlets General-Anzeiger Bonn and Westdeutscher Rundfunk. Apple reportedly takes issue with the logo's green leaf and supposed "bitten" right side, attributes the company believes are too similar to its own logo. The logo, registered with the ...

Supposed iPhone 12 Display Unit Leaks

Thursday August 6, 2020 8:13 am PDT by
An image supposedly of an iPhone 12 display unit has been shared online by leaker "Twitter user Mr. White". Compared to images of an iPhone 11 Pro display piece, this new unit has a reoriented display connector, reaching up from the bottom of the display, rather than from the left-hand side on iPhone 11 Pro. This may be due to the logic board moving to the other side of the device. A...

Foxconn Reportedly Begins Seasonal Hiring Spree for iPhone 12 Production

Monday August 10, 2020 7:03 am PDT by
Apple's largest manufacturing partner Foxconn has begun its seasonal hiring spree to assist with iPhone 12 production, offering employees who recruit qualified applicants up to a 9,000 yuan bonus, according to Chinese media reports. As usual, Foxconn needs as many hands on deck as possible at its factory in Zhengzhou, China to assist with mass production of the upcoming iPhones. Apple is...

8 Third-Party Home Screen Widgets That You Can Try Out Now on iOS 14

Wednesday August 5, 2020 12:56 pm PDT by
One of the biggest new features of iOS 14 is Home Screen widgets, which provide information from apps at a glance. The widgets can be pinned to the Home Screen in various spots and sizes, allowing for many different layouts. When the iOS 14 beta was first released in June, widgets were limited to Apple's own apps like Calendar and Weather, but several third-party developers have begun to test ...

New 27-Inch iMac's Storage Affixed to Logic Board, 4TB and 8TB Configurations Have Expansion Connector

Friday August 7, 2020 7:46 am PDT by
Following a report from German blog iFun.de that claimed the new 27-inch iMac's flash storage is soldered to the logic board, MacRumors has obtained additional information in an internal document for Apple technicians. In the document, Apple says that the flash storage is indeed affixed to the logic board and cannot be removed. However, for the 4TB and 8TB configurations, Apple says that a...