Taking the case off an iPhone 5 is a relatively simple process that most users can accomplish in just a few minutes with some basic tools. While Apple designed the iPhone 5 to allow easy access to certain components like the SIM card, removing the entire back case requires some careful prying to avoid damage. With the right technique and tools, you can safely remove the rear case and access the phone’s internals.
When You May Need to Remove the iPhone 5 Case
There are a few common reasons you may need to remove the rear case on an iPhone 5:
- To replace the battery – Batteries degrade over time and eventually need to be swapped out for optimal performance.
- To replace other internal components – Things like the logic board, Lightning connector, or headphone jack can also sometimes need replacing due to malfunction or damage.
- To apply a custom paint or skin – Some users like to customize the look of their iPhone by applying decorative vinyl skins, which require removing the original case.
- To clean inside or repair damage – Getting inside the phone may be necessary to clear out dust or debris or fix issues like damaged charging ports.
Whatever the reason, it’s good to know the proper technique for case removal to avoid mishaps.
Tools You Will Need
Taking apart any smartphone requires care, so having the right tools is important. Here are the items you’ll want to have on hand before attempting to remove the case on an iPhone 5:
- Plastic pry tool – This type of thin, non-marring tool is perfect for gently popping open the iPhone without scratching it.
- Phillips #00 screwdriver – You’ll need this to remove the small screws holding the case in place.
- Suction cup – A suction cup can help lift the screen and case apart once the adhesive is loose.
- Cloth – Have a soft lint-free cloth on hand to wipe away dust and fingerprints as you work.
- Safety glasses – For protection from flying bits of glass or debris in case of accidental breakage.
Specialized iPhone repair kits that include all these items are available online and in many electronics stores. You may also be able to find the necessary tools around the house with some searching. Avoid sharp metal tools that could puncture the iPhone’s battery.
How to Remove the Rear Case
Once you’ve gathered the proper tools, follow these steps to safely detach the rear case:
- Turn off the iPhone and disconnect any cables.
- Use the Phillips screwdriver to remove the two small screws at the bottom of the phone near the Lightning port. Set them aside in a container so they don’t get lost.
- Warm the edges of the phone lightly with a hairdryer. This helps soften the adhesive holding the screen and case together.
- Wedge the plastic pry tool carefully into the slight seam between the screen and rear case at the bottom of the phone. Apply light force until you create a gap.
- Slowly work the pry tool around the entire perimeter of the phone, reheating with the hairdryer as needed, until you’ve loosened the adhesive seal all the way around.
- Once the adhesive is mostly freed, attach the suction cup to the screen and gently pull until the screen starts to separate from the rear case.
- Lift away the screen and set it face-up on a soft surface.
- Disconnect the three cable connectors attaching the screen to the logic board. Make note of their positions for reassembly.
- Lift out the logic board and set it aside.
- You can now access the internal components like the battery and headphone jack for replacement or repair as needed.
Take care when lifting out components not to strain or tear the delicate connecting cables. Be patient and go slowly during removal rather than forcing pieces apart aggressively.
Reattaching the Case
Once your repair or mod is complete, you’ll need to reassemble the iPhone. Follow these steps in reverse order:
- Replace the logic board and reconnect the three screen cables as originally positioned.
- Mate the screen and case together, ensuring all clips and tabs align.
- Firmly press the perimeter of the screen into the case to reactivate the adhesive seal.
- Replace the two bottom screws and tighten gently.
- Reconnect any other cables like the battery charging cord.
- Power on the iPhone and test all functions to ensure proper operation.
Take your time during reassembly to avoid damaging any cables or connectors. You may need to repeat heating the edges and pressing the screen into place to fully bond the adhesive again for water resistance.
Removing the rear case on an iPhone 5 just takes some mild prying with plastic tools, heating to soften adhesive, and keeping track of screws and connectors. Exercise patience and care when taking apart your iPhone to avoid component damage. Ensure no cables get pinched and all connections are secure during reassembly for proper functioning. With the right approach and tools, you can safely access the internals of an iPhone 5 when needed.