How do you take the case off an iPhone 5?

The iPhone 5 is one of Apple’s older iPhone models, first released in 2012. It has a sleek, aluminum unibody design that is easy to hold and comfortable to use. Many iPhone 5 owners choose to use a protective case to prevent damage if their phone is dropped. Cases clip on to the iPhone and wrap around the back and sides. They come in many styles from slim and minimal to heavy-duty with built-in screen protection.

While cases protect your iPhone 5, they can also trap in dirt and debris. Periodically removing your case allows you to clean your iPhone and case. You may also need to remove the case to perform repairs or replace the battery on an iPhone 5. Taking off the case is simple, but there are a few techniques to do it safely without damaging the case or phone.

Why Take the Case Off?

There are a few main reasons you may need to remove your iPhone 5 case:

  • To clean debris or dust buildup – Cases can trap dirt, lint, and dust against your iPhone over time. Taking off the case lets you fully clean the encased areas.
  • To clean the case itself – Plastic or silicone cases can get dirty too. Remove the case and wash or wipe it down.
  • To repair your iPhone – Whether replacing the battery, screen, or other components, you’ll need full access to the iPhone’s body.
  • To replace the case – If switching cases or going caseless, you’ll need to remove the old case.
  • To access ports and buttons – An ill-fitting case may block ports and make buttons hard to press.

It’s a good idea to take your iPhone 5 case off every few months for a thorough cleaning. Be sure to use a soft, dry cloth to gently wipe down the iPhone’s body when removing the case. Avoid getting moisture into any ports or openings.

How to Remove an iPhone 5 Case

Taking most standard iPhone 5 cases off is very simple. Follow these steps:

  1. Make sure your iPhone 5 is turned off. You don’t want it accidentally activating while removing the case.
  2. Place your iPhone 5 on a flat, soft surface like a towel or blanket.
  3. Start at one corner of the case and gently pull it away from the phone body. Apply even pressure as you pull. Go slowly and stop if you feel lots of resistance.
  4. Once one side or corner is free, slowly work your way around the rest of the case, pulling up and away as you go.
  5. If needed, hold your iPhone 5 steady with one hand while you pull at the case with your other hand.
  6. For two-piece cases, take the back piece off first. The front/sides will then lift off easily.
  7. Make sure all case pieces separate fully from your iPhone 5 before setting them down.

A few tips for safe removal:

  • Don’t yank or forcefully tear at your case. Pull slowly with steady pressure.
  • Check for any case clips or locks. Release these before pulling.
  • Look for case cutouts over buttons and switches. Lift the case away from these areas first.
  • Check for stubborn spots where the case is sticking. Try gently rolling or wiggling the case to break the seal before pulling.
  • Use a plastic pry tool if needed for stubborn areas. Take care not to scratch your phone.

With plastic, silicone, leather, and other soft cases, you can generally pull them off easily using just your hands. Harder cases like tough armor may require more force. Go slowly and stop if anything seems stuck.

Troubleshooting Hard to Remove Cases

Sometimes an iPhone 5 case can be stubborn and difficult to remove. Here are some tips for dealing with a hard to remove case:

  • Check for case screws, clips, or locks. Make sure all fasteners are disengaged before pulling at the case.
  • Try a different removal technique – rather than pulling straight up, try rolling the case side-to-side while pulling.
  • Use a plastic pry tool to gently lift at the seam between the case and iPhone body.
  • Apply a hot cloth to the case for 30-60 seconds to soften any sealing adhesive.
  • Stick the case and iPhone under running warm water for 30-60 seconds if needed to loosen the fit.
  • Twist and rotate the iPhone while pulling for very stubborn areas.
  • If all else fails, visit a phone repair shop and have them safely remove the case.

Avoid using metal tools or excessive force when trying to remove a stuck case. This can damage the case itself or harm your iPhone. Heat and moisture are your friends when dealing with a stubborn case. With some patience, you can generally get an iPhone 5 case off without issue.

Putting the Case Back On

Once your iPhone 5 is free of its case, give both the case and phone a thorough cleaning. Use a microfiber cloth to gently wipe down the iPhone, paying special attention to port openings and seams gunk can collect in.

For plastic and silicone cases, give them a wash with mild soap and water, using a toothbrush or cloth to scrub away any grime buildup. Rinse and allow to fully dry before putting back onto your phone. Leather cases can be wiped down with a damp cloth.

Before replacing your case, check that all iPhone ports, buttons, and switches are free of debris and functioning properly. Re-align your case and perform button and port checks again once it’s back on to ensure proper access.

To replace your iPhone 5 case:

  1. Make sure your case is completely dry if it was washed.
  2. Place your phone face down on a soft surface.
  3. Line up your case over the back of your iPhone 5 and lower it straight down into place.
  4. Gently press down around the edges of the case to seat it onto the body of your phone.
  5. Use your fingers to check that buttons and ports align properly and snap buttons engage.
  6. Carefully flip over and inspect your work. Make any alignment adjustments needed.
  7. Check button and port access one last time before daily use.

Take your time securing the case back onto your iPhone 5. It can take some wiggling to get it set just right. With routine case removal for cleanings, the process will go quicker each time.

When to Replace an iPhone 5 Case

While iPhone 5 cases can be reused after removal, it’s a good idea to replace them entirely every 12-24 months. Cases take a lot of wear and tear protecting your phone. Signs your case needs replacing include:

  • Visible cracks, splits, or chunks missing from the material
  • Cloudy, blurred, or yellowing clear plastic
  • Port openings no longer lining up correctly
  • Buttons and switches becoming harder to use
  • Loose, wobbly feel on your iPhone
  • No longer grips your phone snugly
  • Inner surface is gummy or sticky

A fresh new case gives you the best protection for your iPhone 5 investment. Cases are inexpensive accessories, especially for an older model like the iPhone 5. Opt for a design different than your last case to change up the look and feel of your phone.

Alternative Removal Techniques

While most iPhone 5 cases can simply be pulled off by hand, you may need to get creative for very difficult to remove cases. Here are some alternate case removal ideas:

Dental Floss

Loop strong floss or string under one edge of the case, then saw it back and forth to slowly lift the case up and off. Be patient and apply even pressure to avoid damaging the case or scratching your phone.

Compressed Air

Use a can of compressed air (like for cleaning keyboards) to forcefully blow under the iPhone case’s edge. This can help break the seal. Wear eye protection as debris may fly out.


Place a stubborn case and iPhone in a freezer zip top bag, squeeze out excess air, and seal. Allow to sit in the freezer for 2-3 hours until very cold before attempting removal. The cold can help shrink the case slightly.

Rubbing Alcohol

Apply a few drops of 70% isopropyl alcohol under the case seal using a small syringe or eyedropper. Let it penetrate for 2-3 minutes before pulling at the case. This can loosen the adhesive grip.

Suction Cup

Use a sturdy suction cup to create forceful suction under the case, then pull up slowly to lift and work the case free. Be sure to grip and pull the suction cup, not your iPhone.

With creative thinking and the right tools, even the most stubborn iPhone 5 case can be removed successfully. Just take your time and be cautious not to scratch or dent your phone in the process.

When to Seek Professional Help

If you’ve tried every removal technique and tool available without success, it may be time to seek professional help. A smartphone repair technician has specialized tools and experience safely removing cases of all types without harming your iPhone 5.

Seeking professional assistance is a good idea if:

  • The case has cracks, chips, or damage making it unsafe to pry off.
  • You see any signs of the case peeling up or separating your iPhone’s screen.
  • Any part of the case or phone becomes damaged during removal attempts.
  • You simply do not feel comfortable attempting removal yourself.

No need to risk a broken iPhone 5 screen or further case damage. Phone repair pros have access to suction cups, picks, heat guns, and other commercial tools to remove stubborn cases. They can also safely reglue any loose screen edges lifted by the case removal process.

Search for a highly rated repair shop to schedule an appointment for case removal. This will give your iPhone 5 and difficult case the specialized handling they need.

Preventing a Stuck Case in the Future

To avoid having to battle a stubborn, stuck iPhone 5 case again:

  • Clean case and phone regularly to prevent gunk buildup.
  • Avoid cheap cases that warp, swell, and degrade over time.
  • Check for case cracks or damage and replace as needed.
  • Use silicone or soft TPU cases which resist sticking.
  • Avoid adhesive backed cases or protective films.
  • Apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly around the inside edges of the case.
  • Take your case off periodically to clean it and your iPhone.

With proper case hygiene and maintenance, you can prevent adhesive sealing and enjoy easy, tool-free removal when needed.


Removing your iPhone 5 case properly takes patience but protects both your phone and case from damage. Try gentle pulling with fingers first before moving to pry tools or other methods. Sticky, stubborn cases may require creative solutions like floss, compressed air, or alcohol to separate them. With simple regular cleaning and new case replacement when worn, your iPhone 5 case should give you minimal removal trouble when the need arises. Don’t force anything and damage components – a repair shop can safely handle a truly stuck case.

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