It happened to me. Over the course of a few weeks, the angle at which I had to connect the lightning cable to my iPhone 5S became more and more specific, until one day it just charged. No amount of jiggling, positioning, tilting, changing cables, cursing or praying can fix this. The Internet recommended vacuuming the port, but did nothing; it was dead.
Unfortunately for me, my iPhone is over 18 months old. It was out of warranty. If I wanted to fix it, I was going to pay a lot of money out of my own pocket. Instead, I decided to dig in and make it myself.
When to do it yourself
Deciding to get your iPhone fixed is not an easy decision. If you screw everything up, you end up with a useless and expensive bunch of components. If your iPhone is under warranty or you have Apple Care, this route will almost always be the best.
If your iPhone isn’t covered by any program, it’s still not an easy choice. You can pay Apple, a licensed repair center, or even an unlicensed repair center, but it can be expensive depending on the problem. Doing it yourself will usually be cheaper as long as you don’t make things worse. This is especially true for older phones, which are more likely to be out of warranty.
How much you save will also depend on what exactly the problem is. One of the most expensive parts, an iPhone 6 screen repair kit costs only slightly less than the cost of an official repair, while an iPhone 5S or 5 screen repair kit is half the price of a professional repair. On the other hand, the lightning jack and headphone jack are significantly cheaper even for the newest iPhones.
Before opening your iPhone, it’s important to exhaust all the simple fixes. Obviously, if the screen is broken, the problem is obvious, but if a port or button stops working, there are always a few fixes that don’t require you to use screwdrivers.
What needs to fix iPhone
Apple devices are very carefully crafted. You shouldn’t be able to open them up and play with the innards; a rusty Phillips screwdriver in your toolbox won’t be able to handle your iPhone’s screws, and opening the screen with a knife is just a bad idea. To fix your iPhone properly, you will need special tools.
To get started, you’ll need a set of basic electronic screwdrivers and prying tools. They are cheap and work for most consumer electronics, not just the iPhone. I used this 23-piece set from Amazon.co.uk, but you can get similar sets from iFixit if you’re in the US, or from iParts4U if you’re in the UK.
You can use basic tools to open an iPhone, but the iSclack Open Tool is the best way to do it without damaging anything. You can get one from iFixit or iParts4U.
You will also need a clean, static-free work area. An anti-static mat is sufficient on your kitchen table.