Comparison of iPhone 5S vs iPhone 5 Lightning Connector Parts

In an attempt to replace my iPhone 5S charging port today, I got through nearly all the steps on the iFixit guide only to realize that I purchased the wrong charging port (i.e. lightning connector) on Amazon. On the bright side, I’ve learned a little bit about the differences between the parts, whatever that’s worth.

Here are the differences between the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5 lightning connectors in an image:

iPhone 5S and iPhone 5 Lightning Connector Charging Ports
The iPhone 5S charging port is Part #821-1596-A. The iPhone 5 charging port is Part #821-1417-A.

The replacement procedure is a bit tedious, requiring the removal of around 20 tiny screws which range in size, but I’ve decided to undergo the repair myself to save money.

Apple insisted on $269 to replace my iPhone when I brought this issue up to them at the International Plaza Apple Store in Tampa, FL. They would not budge, even though an inspection of the inside of the phone showed no water damage.

Considering that the lightning connector part costs only ~$7.50 on Amazon, a $269 fee to address this at the Apple Store is quite outrageous.

Here are the parts I purchased on Amazon. If you need this part, be careful to buy the right model — iPhone 5 and 5S lightning connectors are different parts, as you can see above, and one will not work on the other.

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After the mixup, I purchased the correct part from Amazon and will report back on the charging port repair in an upcoming post.

How iFixit is Building an iPhone Repair Counterculture [Video]

iFixit is more than just an iPhone repair company. A Mother Jones feature story in the latest issue highlights iFixit’s culture of sustainability, and how fundamentally, they are changing the way people think about waste and the iPhone.

iFixit’s repair manifesto, available as a poster, holds several truths to be self-evident–some practical (“Repair saves you money”), some principled (“Repair saves the planet”), and some profound (“If you can’t fix it, you don’t own it”). – “These Guys Can Make Your iPhone Last Forever” (Mother Jones)

It’s troubling to think about the electronic waste involved in our rampantly growing smartphone culture. Every part wasted means more junk waste in landfills, more toxic chemicals in the environment, and more harm to humans and the world.

I applaud a company that can make a profit while teaching people about fixing iPhones rather than ditching them. iFixit has an extensive crowd-sourced tabernacle of tutorials to teach you how to diagnose and repair your troubled device.

Prediction: Apple Makes Over $100 Million a Year Replacing Cracked iPhones

iPhone Cracked

iPhone Glass Shattered

Today TechCrunch posted an article with a video entitled “Watch An iPhone 4S and Samsung Galaxy S II Take Three Nasty Drops Onto Concrete.”

There have been plenty of iPhone drop tests posted online, but what intrigued me about this particular post was the author’s claim that the results were “surprising.” If the results are surprising, I thought, then certainly the iPhone 4S glass would not shatter.

So I watched the video, and guess what: the iPhone 4S completely shattered after several drops, whereas the Samsung Galaxy remained virtually unscathed. This is not surprising.

If you do any research on the iPhone glass, you will find that cracked iPhone glass is extremely common. My two original posts on the subject are among the top 5 most trafficked posts on this website. Combined, these two posts have received over 40,000 unique visitors in the last month alone. That is approximately half a million iPhone users a year who discover my posts on cracked iPhone glass. And there are plenty of users who crack their glass and do not land on my posts.

Here’s the shocking part: If my half-million visitors who crack their iPhone glass each pay Apple’s $200 iPhone replacement fee, that is $100,000,000 (i.e. 100 million dollars!) per year that Apple generates simply replacing iPhones with cracked glass (500-thousand multiplied by 200). Designing crack-prone iPhones is certainly a profitable business! Especially because repairing an iPhone’s cracked glass probably costs Apple far less than 200 dollars.

Now, the question is, if Samsung’s Galaxy phone can endure drops without cracking, why can’t Apple’s iPhone? For a technology company that is so brilliant at product design, I have a hard time believing that Apple cannot design the iPhone to be more crack-proof.

But evidently there is BIG money in designing breakable products. In fact, the issue is so common that I have had lawyers contact me saying they believe the cracked iPhone glass problem is worthy of a class-action lawsuit.

What do you think? Is Apple jipping its customers by purposely designing iPhones that break easily?

How to Fix Your iPhone Home Button… With a Vacuum Cleaner

iPhone Home Button Vacuum Cleaner

Last year, I complained about my iPhone 3GS home button losing sensitivity and becoming increasingly difficult to press. A year later, my iPhone 4 home button has the same issue, and worse.

A faulty home button could be the result of several things. It could have water damage, it could have dust clogged beneath it, or it could be intentionally planned by Apple to become obsolete.

If your home button is hard to press, your best bet is to take it to the Apple Store and see if they can replace your phone at the Genius Bar under warranty.

But if, like me, you live far away from the nearest Apple Store, or if your warranty is void for whatever reason, then I advise you to try this unconventional, but somewhat-effective fix for a faulty iPhone home button: suck the dust out of your iPhone charging port with a vacuum cleaner.

I read about vacuuming your iPhone in an Apple Support forum and was skeptical, but I tried it and, although it did not solve the problem completely, it worked to an extent. Pressing my home button no longer stresses my finger as much as it used to after trying the vacuum fix.

Just connect the hose attachment to your vacuum cleaner, turn on the vacuum and put the hose up to the charging port at the bottom of your iPhone.

You may want to use a pair of tweezers or a needle to take out dust particles as they are pulled into the charging port.

Do this a few times, and if you are lucky like me, then your home button will be at least slightly easier to press.

iPhone Glass Repair: My Visit to the Apple Store

I went to the Apple Store in Miami today to get a replacement iPhone after my iPhone glass cracked when I dropped it on my wood floor.

Apple Store

Read about my iPhone glass repair experience below:

Since I read on the iPhone warranty that “service may not be available if your iPhone has been damaged due to accident or abuse,” I was expecting that the iPhone glass repair would cost me and that I would not get a free replacement.

iPhone Glass Repair Cost

I was right. Despite my pleas, both the tech support rep and a manager insisted that the warranty would not cover any physical damage and that I would have to cover the cost of the iPhone glass repair myself.

So I reluctantly handed over $250 big ones — an act I’m hoping to soon forget — to get myself a replacement iPhone.

iPhone Broken Glass

Apple’s repair fee for the iPhone is much too high, in my opinion. I feel that charging $250 for something that probably costs far less to fix is taking advantage of customers.

Apple knows that once I’ve paid the hefty price for an iPhone, I’m not likely to leave it damaged and buy a competitor’s phone, especially when there are few phones out there that can offer the same user experience. They could probably charge an iPhone glass repair fee of $400, the price of a new iPhone, and people would still pay up.

So I went home and tried to forget about the arm and the leg I’d just given to Apple in exchange for a new iPhone. Then, as I was importing my backed up contacts from iTunes and upgrading to firmware version 1.1.3, I noticed a significant discoloration on the chrome that I had missed before.

Had the iPhone replacement cost me $50, I would have disregarded the smudge, but for $250 I refused to settle for a new iPhone that was anything less than perfect. So, irritated, I drove back to the Apple Store and explained this to a manager.

Although he was nice, he tried to explain to me that certain defects are “within spec,” and that I might be out of luck.

He said, “for example, if a pixel on the screen is out, that would be within spec and we wouldn’t be required to replace it.” In other words, “if we give you a damaged product, it’s not our fault.”

I refused to accept such a nonsense policy, so the manager agreed to put me on standby so that I could talk to a tech support rep at the Genius bar. Once I was called up, the tech support employee replaced my phone without hesitation.

Now I’ve finally got a clean, functioning iPhone. Next week, I’m ordering myself a case so that this doesn’t happen again. Have you ever had to deal with a cracked iPhone screen? Did you have any luck with an iPhone glass repair service other than Apple’s?

In my panic, I probably spent more than I had to on fixing my broken iPhone. After doing research and hearing about other people’s experience cracking their iPhone glass, I decided to put together this guide, “iPhone Fixes,” that summarizes the options available to fix your broken iPhone. You can download it below:

iPhone Fixes: An iPhone Repair Guide

iPhone Fixes: A Summary of Options to Fix Your Broken iPhone
… and How to Ensure That it Never Happens Again!

Messed-Up iPhone? Don’t Panic…

This free guide tells you what you can do to get your iPhone fixed quickly, cheaply, and professionally.

  • How to avoid Apple’s high replacement and repair fees
  • How to fix it yourself and save $$$
  • How to hire a third-party repair professional
  • The best cases and covers to prevent future damage

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iPhone Glass Cracked: Will it Cost Me?

iPhone with cracked glass

Did the glass crack on your iPhone? Read about my cracked iPhone screen below and find out what you can do about your cracked iPhone glass.

Last night my touchscreen was disabled after I accidentally dropped my iPhone and ended up with a cracked iPhone screen.

My iPhone glass cracked in about five places after I dropped it on my wood floor.

But the iPhone screen cracks are not on the top glass layer of the iPhone. I can actually slide my finger down the screen and it’s completely smooth.

What appears to have cracked is the touchscreen beneath the glass. So my iPhone works perfectly fine, except that I can’t interact with it.

As long as my SIM card is inside, I’ll continue to get phone calls that I can’t answer, my preprogrammed alarms will continue to go off without my being able to hit Snooze, and the phone will not turn off until the battery drains.

The obvious downside of a touchscreen phone is that, generally, if one feature breaks they all do. The lack of hardware buttons means you can’t answer calls, turn off alarms, send text messages or do ANYTHING without a working touchscreen. The cracked iPhone glass resulted in my iPhone becoming completely unusable.

Does iPhone Glass Crack Easily?

Update: New Evidence Suggests Apple May Make Over $100 Million a Year on Cracked iPhone Replacements

When I read the results of PC World’s iPhone stress tests, I admittedly got a little cocky and decided to go without a case for my iPhone.

I’ve dropped my iPhone a number of times, without a problem. However, this was the first time I dropped it directly on its glass surface… and it resulted in a broken iPhone screen. The iPhone cracked glass issue is not unique to me, however.

iPhone cracked glass

After doing some research, it seems the cracked iPhone screen problem is not uncommon. iPhone Atlas notes that “an awkward fall, too much pressure and other unnatural impact can cause cracks in the optical glass.”

Furthermore, you may be more likely to end up with your iPhone 4 screen cracked, since the iPhone 4 contains glass on both sides.

iPhone Cracked Glass Under Warranty?

Apple states on the iPhone Warranty (PDF) that “Service may not be available if your iPhone has been damaged due to accident or abuse.”

Nevertheless, iPhone Atlas said they “received reports from some readers who had success having their iPhones with cracked iPhone screens replaced free of charge by geniuses at the Apple Store … but don’t count on it.”

I’m going to try my luck this weekend at the Apple Store, but I’m not feeling too hopeful. If Apple declines to replace my iPhone for free, I’ll either have to pay them $249 to repair my iPhone, or have it repaired by someone else.

What really bugs me about the $249 repair fee is that it’s only applicable to 8GB iPhones. The 4GB ones cost $199 to repair, even though the hardware that I need replaced is identical on both versions!

So I gave Apple more of my money on January 29 to get an 8GB iPhone, and now they want to exploit that and charge me more for repair? I think that’s unfair.

iPhone Glass Repair: Other Options

So what can you do if you are in need of iPhone glass repair? You can pay Apple a couple hundred for a replacement iPhone, but there are other options as well.

Nowadays there are many third-party repair shops that offer iPhone screen repair at reasonable prices. Check Yelp for vendors in your city. I also recommend searching Groupon, as you may find a deal on there.

If you’re feeling bold, you can attempt to replace your screen and digitizer assembly on your own. There are many low-cost parts that you can find on Amazon for your iPhone model, and this can be a great, albeit risky, way to save money on repairing an iPhone screen.

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Motorola Phone

I’ll be sure and report back after visiting the Apple Store this weekend to let you all know whether Apple was willing to replace my cracked iPhone glass for free.

Until then, I’ll be relying on my trusty old Motorola phone from Wal-Mart. Not quite as useful as the iPhone, but it does make phone calls!

Update #1: I got my replacement iPhone from Apple. Read about my iPhone glass repair experience.

Update #2: Over time, evidence in the comments of this blog has begun to indicate that a cracked iPhone screen is a problem for many iPhone users.