Skip to main content

Fix Your Stuff

Right to Repair

Store

Introduction

Use this guide to replace a broken, cracked, or defective display on your Apple Watch SE.

You’ll need replacement adhesive to reattach components when reassembling the device.

  1. Before starting repairs, take your watch off the charger and power it down. If your touchscreen is broken and you can't power off the watch, use this alternate method to power it down.
    • Because the gap between the screen and watch body is so thin, a sharp blade is needed to separate the two. Read the following warnings carefully before proceeding.

    • Protect your fingers by keeping them completely clear of the knife. If in doubt, protect your free hand with a heavy glove, such as a leather shop glove or gardening glove.

    • Be careful not to apply too much pressure, as this might cause the knife to slip and cut you, or damage the watch.

    • Wear eye protection. The knife or glass may break, sending pieces flying.

    • Attach or remove the watch band as needed to provide more control as you make repairs.

  2. Prepare an iOpener (or use a hair dryer or heat gun) and heat the face of the watch to loosen the display adhesive.
    • Prepare an iOpener (or use a hair dryer or heat gun) and heat the face of the watch to loosen the display adhesive.

    • Leave the iOpener on the watch for at least two minutes to fully heat the screen and soften the adhesive holding it to the case.

    • You may need to reheat the iOpener and repeat this procedure several times until the display adhesive softens.

  3. Place the edge of a curved blade into the thin gap between the display and the outer case.  Start at the short side of the display, closest to the digital crown. Press firmly straight down into the gap. Once inserted, tilt the blade to pry the display open slightly.
    • Place the edge of a curved blade into the thin gap between the display and the outer case. Start at the short side of the display, closest to the digital crown.

    • Press firmly straight down into the gap.

    • Once inserted, tilt the blade to pry the display open slightly.

  4. Insert an opening pick in the gap you've created. Slide the opening pick along the short edge of the watch to cut the adhesive. Slide the opening pick along the short edge of the watch to cut the adhesive.
    • Insert an opening pick in the gap you've created.

    • Slide the opening pick along the short edge of the watch to cut the adhesive.

  5. When slicing near the crown, don't insert the opening pick deeper than 1/16th of an inch (~2 mm). Slide the opening pick around the corner and along the long edge where the crown is located to cut the display adhesive.
    • When slicing near the crown, don't insert the opening pick deeper than 1/16th of an inch (~2 mm).

    • Slide the opening pick around the corner and along the long edge where the crown is located to cut the display adhesive.

  6. Slide the opening pick around the corner to cut the remaining adhesive on the short edge farthest away from the crown. Slide the opening pick around the corner to cut the remaining adhesive on the short edge farthest away from the crown.
    • Slide the opening pick around the corner to cut the remaining adhesive on the short edge farthest away from the crown.

  7. Place the watch on a flat surface and use an opening pick to slice through any remaining adhesive. When slicing near the crown, don't insert the opening pick deeper than 1/16th of an inch (~2 mm).
    • Place the watch on a flat surface and use an opening pick to slice through any remaining adhesive.

    • When slicing near the crown, don't insert the opening pick deeper than 1/16th of an inch (~2 mm).

    • Slide an opening pick under the opposite display edge of the watch crown.

  8. Reinsert the opening pick on the short edge of the watch, next to the watch crown. Twist the opening pick to loosen the display off the watch case.
    • Reinsert the opening pick on the short edge of the watch, next to the watch crown.

    • Twist the opening pick to loosen the display off the watch case.

    • Don't try to remove the display. It is still connected to the watch assembly.

  9. Be careful not to strain the display cables when you fold the display to the side. Lift the display and carefully pull it in direction of the short edge farthest away from the crown. Swing the display open to an upward position.
    • Be careful not to strain the display cables when you fold the display to the side.

    • Lift the display and carefully pull it in direction of the short edge farthest away from the crown.

    • Swing the display open to an upward position.

  10. The black foil which covers the display connectors is very fragile and likely to rip. To keep the tape intact while peeling it off, it's necessary to use high isopropyl alcohol or an iOpener. Prepare an iOpener (or use a hair dryer or heat gun) and heat the face of the watch to loosen the adhesive tape.
    • The black foil which covers the display connectors is very fragile and likely to rip. To keep the tape intact while peeling it off, it's necessary to use high isopropyl alcohol or an iOpener.

    • Prepare an iOpener (or use a hair dryer or heat gun) and heat the face of the watch to loosen the adhesive tape.

    • You may need to reheat the iOpener and repeat this procedure several times until adhesive softens.

    • Alternatively, apply a little bit of high-concentration isopropyl alcohol (>90%) to a Q-tip and apply it to the black adhesive foil on top of the display connectors. Let it penetrate the adhesive for about two minutes.

  11. Use a pair of tweezers to carefully peel off the tape covering the right display cable connector. Use a pair of tweezers to carefully peel off the tape covering the right display cable connector.
    • Use a pair of tweezers to carefully peel off the tape covering the right display cable connector.

  12. Use a pair of tweezers to carefully peel off the tape covering the middle and left  display cable connector. Use a pair of tweezers to carefully peel off the tape covering the middle and left  display cable connector.
    • Use a pair of tweezers to carefully peel off the tape covering the middle and left display cable connector.

  13. Use the pointed end of a spudger to open the right ZIF connector on the rear side of the display by bringing its flap in an upright position. Use the pointed end of a spudger to open the right ZIF connector on the rear side of the display by bringing its flap in an upright position.
    • Use the pointed end of a spudger to open the right ZIF connector on the rear side of the display by bringing its flap in an upright position.

  14. Use the pointed end of a spudger to open the middle and left ZIF connectors by bringing their flaps to an upright position. Use the pointed end of a spudger to open the middle and left ZIF connectors by bringing their flaps to an upright position.
    • Use the pointed end of a spudger to open the middle and left ZIF connectors by bringing their flaps to an upright position.

  15. Use a pair of tweezers to peel the left edge off the display cable sticker off the rear side of the display. Do not try to remove the sticker all the way, you will reuse it when reassembling your watch. Only peel the area off which adheres the cable to the rear side of the display.
    • Use a pair of tweezers to peel the left edge off the display cable sticker off the rear side of the display.

    • Do not try to remove the sticker all the way, you will reuse it when reassembling your watch. Only peel the area off which adheres the cable to the rear side of the display.

  16. Use a pair of tweezers to peel the right edge off the display cable sticker off the rear side of the display. Use a pair of tweezers to peel the right edge off the display cable sticker off the rear side of the display.
    • Use a pair of tweezers to peel the right edge off the display cable sticker off the rear side of the display.

  17. Carefully pull the display flex cables out of their ZIF connectors. Only pull close to the ZIF connector and not on the watch body. Otherwise the display cable might rip. Only pull close to the ZIF connector and not on the watch body. Otherwise the display cable might rip.
    • Carefully pull the display flex cables out of their ZIF connectors.

    • Only pull close to the ZIF connector and not on the watch body. Otherwise the display cable might rip.

  18. Separate the watch assembly and the display.
    • Separate the watch assembly and the display.

Conclusion

To reassemble your Apple Watch SE follow these instructions in reverse order to reattach the screen and the battery.

Apply a little bit of high isopropyl alcohol (>90%) to a Q-tip or use a cleaning pad to gently remove the leftover adhesive on the edges of the watch case and the screen before installing new adhesive.

Take your e-waste to an R2 or e-Stewards certified recycler.

Repair didn’t go as planned? Check out our Answers community for troubleshooting help.

One other person completed this guide.

Dominik Schnabelrauch

Member since: 11/23/2016

88,925 Reputation

375 Guides authored

Team

iFixit Member of iFixit

Community

134 Members

15,627 Guides authored

0 Comments

Add Comment

View Statistics:

Past 24 Hours: 16

Past 7 Days: 146

Past 30 Days: 315

All Time: 316