What tools to fix your phone properly?

What tools to fix your phone properly?


You are thinking about how to fix a broken phone, but you do not know where to start. Look no further, here is a list of essential tools for easy repairs of smartphones and other electronic devices.

Repairing a smartphone is much less demanding than one might expect. Economic and ecological repair prolongs life at low costs and it is not necessary to buy a new model, with all the resulting carbon footprint.

Our smartphones are far from sealed with black boxes forever, but they can often be easily controlled to replace parts. Anyone who has ever climbed or poked their nose into a computer can prove it: computer components are large Legos that are fragile, but easy to operate and assemble.

So if your cell phone shows signs of weakness and you feel like a do-it-yourselfer, why not fix it yourself? The task is not so difficult if you have the right tools, time and patience. Here is a (non-exhaustive) list of useful tools to get you started with cell phone repair.

hot air gun (or hair dryer)

Heat gun

A hot air gun is essential today to repair your phone – © Les Numeriques

For aesthetic reasons, most of our smartphones today are assembled with glue. Whether it’s a screen stuck to a frame or a glass back that is held firmly by glue, you’ll need to melt the glue first before you can begin repairing.

There is nothing more effective than a hot air gun. This machine is able to release a stream of hot air at a temperature of approximately 500 ° C and easily melts the glue behind the glass of your smartphone. Once the glue softens, it is much easier to lift the cover off the phone and start repairing. A little advice, the glue that holds parts of your smartphone, do not hesitate to heat up regularly, otherwise it tends to cool down and harden.

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If you don’t have a hot air gun or don’t want to buy one, you can try it with a hair dryer. The exhaust air is less hot, but you can handle it with a little perseverance.


Suction cup for removing glass

The suction cup makes it easier to lift the glass of the smartphone – © Les Numériques

Softening the glue that holds the smartphone glass is fine, but once you do, how do you lift the glass out of the case? Simply with a suction cup!

Most specialty electronics stores offer this item. Well-glued to the back or screen of your smartphone, it allows you to easily lift the phone’s glass and access internal components. Successfully creating a hole will require some strength and skill, but with suction cups with handles, this task is relatively easy. Tip, if you feel that the glass does not lift, do not hesitate to use a hot air gun.

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If the glass you are trying to lift is broken (repaired after falling), the suction cup may not hang on the cell phone. In this case, you can try taping the screen to smooth the surface. But don’t pull too hard or too fast; fragile cables may connect the system board to the screen or to the back of the phone (for example, if there is a fingerprint reader on the back).

media and plastic cards

Plastic cards and a pick are practical for lifting the smartphone cover – © Les Numériques

You will need to insert a pick or plastic card in the middle of this sandwich to easily remove the screen or protective glass from the phone.

If you have a guitar pick on hand, you can use it for this step. Any plastic card will also serve. This is just so that the glue does not cool down and the two parts to be separated do not stick together. Be careful, however, as these tools may become hot or deformed during operation. If you value your accessories, use suitable pens and cards instead. These tools cost only a few euros.

Once the card or selection is inserted between the two layers of the phone, slide it all the way along the frame to remove the glass from the chassis. If necessary, use several cards or selections so that you can leave them in strategic places on the chassis so that no part sticks together. Be careful not to insert the corners of the cards or picks too deep into the phone cover, as you may damage the components.

Set of precision screwdrivers

Set of precision screwdrivers

Precision screwdriver sets often come with a full set of bits – © Les Numériques

This is perhaps the focal point for disassembling any electronic device: a precision screwdriver. The inside and outside of our smartphones are stuffed with small screws. And of course, they are rarely the same screws that are found in every phase of disassembly. Therefore, a set of screwdrivers is necessary.

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These kits, which often consist of a magnetic head screwdriver, screwdriver bits and a plethora of screwdriver bits, offer you virtually all the accessories to unscrew every part of your phone. Sometimes you have to grope to find the right head, but these kits allow you to do the job without worrying about damaging your phone.

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Screwdriver sets generally offer around forty bits. This type of packaging usually sells for about thirty euros. You can also buy hard head screwdrivers if you know exactly what bits you need. These often cost less than the whole set.
Be careful, disassemble the screws when disassembling, everyone must return exactly to their place. Replacing the screw with a longer one could crush some components during reassembly.

Most maniacs will be able to buy magnetic repair pad which facilitates the sorting and marking of different screws. Otherwise, you can always put each type of screw in a specific small bowl.

Precision spatulas and pliers

Precision pliers and spatulas

Pliers and spatulas needed for disassembly – © Les Numériques

The last step before replacing a damaged part with a new one will most likely be to disconnect each small cable (including the flat cables that connect the screen and the battery) and each part of the cover of your mobile phone. To do this, no secret, you need a spatula and pliers.

Plastic spatulas (with square, pointed or hook tips) allow you to use the lever to disconnect certain connectors. The choice of rigid plastic allows you to avoid power lines and operate printed circuits without the risk of slipping and damage to components.

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For pliers, straight or curved, they allow certain fixed screws or certain parts to be removed from their housing. They often offer the most comprehensive tool sets crossed pliers which allow the component to be held without pressure (useful for the most fragile components); and types of “scalpels” for electronic devices which, thanks to their semi-rigid metal head, enable the cutting or prying of certain adhesives or certain durable parts.

IFixit removal tools

A scalpel, cross pliers and metal spatulas can make repair easier – © Les Numériques

Consumables: adhesives, solvents, etc.

repair consumables

Double-sided tape, drum tapes and adhesive remover – © Les Numériques

After replacing the defective part, you must reassemble the mobile phone according to the rules of technology. After replacing all parts and screws in the correct places, it is necessary to replace the screen or glass that protects the components. To do this, you need a nail polish remover and tape.

The first allows you to remove the old glue that has stuck to the chassis. You can use ultra-thin rollers (ideally 3 or 4 mm) to glue the glue back to the edge of the phone. You will be able to gently glue the glass of your mobile phone and complete the repair.

If you replace the battery of your mobile phone, there is a good chance that it will stick to the chassis with adhesive tapes. Some can be removed by pulling on them, others will need to penetrate the solvent point under the battery and then the lever. You can purchase a new battery to reattach it special adhesive strips (pictured above in pink).

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