1. Ensure your device is powered off before proceeding. Failure to do so may result in electrical shock or damage to the device.
    • Ensure your device is powered off before proceeding. Failure to do so may result in electrical shock or damage to the device.

    • Place the 3DS upside down. Remove the game card, headphones, charging cable, stylus, or anything else that may be connected to the device.

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  2. Using a JIS #0 screwdriver, loosen the two black screws on the back.
    • Using a JIS #0 screwdriver, loosen the two black screws on the back.

      • The screws are held in place by captive washers and should not be completely removed.

    My experience indicates that a JIS #1 is more appropriate here.

    John Menden - Reply

    • Once the screws are loosened, pry open the back cover.

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    • The battery is located on the left hand side of the 3DS - to remove, use the small gap located at the top-middle and pull up with a pointed tool.

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    • Using a JIS #000 screwdriver, remove the six 6mm screws around the edges of the secondary cover.

    I used a #00 instead it works better for a model form 2016

    matthewmccreary10 - Reply

    • Using tweezers, carefully pop out the rubber bumpers located at the top side of the 3DS. Removing them will reveal another two 6mm screws. Remove these screws using a JIS #000 as well.

    Can the rubber bumpers be replaced once you reassemble the 3DS? I'd really hate to have to take them out and never be able to put them back in, if I'm honest...

    Taylor Prince - Reply

    Yep, we were able to put them back in quite easily after repeated teardowns! If they ever refused to stay in for some reason, you could always put a little bit of something sticky on them. (I use scrapbooking tape on my laptop's bumpers.)

    Zoe Cagle -

    What happens if I strip one of these screws? How hard would into be to remove them?

    Thomas Ciavattone - Reply

    very hard. i stripped 4 screws on my new 3ds xl and i haven’t been able to get them out. i even bought the precision screw extrator set and nothing the set sucked.

    marco martinez - Reply

    • To separate the cover, carefully lift it up and away from the hinges (in order to clear the headphone port), then pivot it towards the hinges to expose the circuit boards.

      • Don't fully remove the cover yet, or you may damage the delicate ribbon cable that still connects it to the motherboard.

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    • Use a pair of tweezers to lift away the two plugs that latch the L/R/ZL/ZR button ribbons to the motherboard. You can now remove the back cover completely and set it aside.

    I discovered that there is enough clearance to slide the Game Cartridge Slot assembly out without removing the motherboard. Just remove the two connectors going to the Cartridge Slot assembly and take out the 3 screws holding it down. There were two screws that look like they are holding the assembly down, but they are only holes through the assembly and don’t actually hold it down. At least on the Pokemon version, New 3DS XL that I had.

    Reed Deemer - Reply

    • Using tweezers, gently pull the gray clamp underneath the circle pad ribbon connector upwards from the right side. Then slide the ribbon out of the ZIF connector.

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    • Using a JIS #000 screwdriver, remove the two 8 mm screws securing the circle pad.

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    • Lift the circle pad casing upward to remove it. There will be some friction, but it should not require excessive force.

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    • Locate the gold terminal plug with a red cable at the top left of the motherboard. Using your fingers, carefully pull the plug straight upward to remove.

    • Use a pair of tweezers to disconnect the single ribbon connector.

    • Don't do what we did -- be very careful not to pull on the red cable.

    MDR j'avais vu cette erreur il y a un petit moment... et vous pouvez ajouter, ne pas casser le connecteur comme sur la photo !

    Sylvain Delreux - Reply

    Use a spudger to remove the red cable plug.

    Luis Leon - Reply

    • Using tweezers, gently pull the five marked ribbons out of the ZIF connectors along the sides of the motherboard.

      • Note that these ZIF connectors are held in place by friction and do not have locks -- lifting the flaps on these connectors will break them!

    • Three of the ribbon connectors have plastic clamping flaps that cover the ribbon to prevent slippage. Use the tweezers to flip them up before ribbon removal.

    • When reassembling the device, be sure to flip the ZIF clamps back down.

    • While the SD card reader is shown as removed in this photo, it is optional for the removal of the motherboard.


    Can you pls inform me the purpose of the topmost red marked ZIF transparent flex cable, I wish to repair my N3DS XL but I am missing this flex cable (for which part is this cable relevant).


    Khusro - Reply

    I don't have the model on me for reference, but if I remember correctly, it's for the bottom screen.

    Zoe Cagle -

    I think it should be noted that the upper most ZIF is incorrectly labelled here as one to remove with tweezers and not to try to open the clamp. I did this recently and have now broken my brand new 3ds. This cable is for the digitizer at the front of the bottom screen. So my touch screen no longer works. I now need to carry out a further repair. Just a heads up.

    Simon Lyell - Reply

    Accurate. I have to purchase a new digitizer because of this. I tore the conductors in the cable removing it from the ZIF connector. And I’m really very angry that no correction has been made in the almost 9 months since you posted.

    Sabs Like Labs -

    Sabs Like Labs, can you please share a picture of your connector ? last time I dismounted one I had no problems with this connector but maby there are different versions ?

    Guillaume Blas -

    Zoe, I don’t suppose you would know what part to search for to replace one of these lock-less friction connectors? Before this article posted I partially broke one of mine thinking it had a lock and would like to replace it. The old one still works but I have to fiddle with it to get a good connection now. The one I broke is nearest to the cartridge socket.

    Arie Beugelsdijk - Reply

    &&^& all those tutoriel now is just break my new 3ds &&^& you internet

    xavier delfini - Reply

    I broke my connectors the little gray pieces broke not the touch screen and the joy stick are broken.

    mcoughlin625 - Reply

    Wish I’d read the comments first, messed up this connection pretty bad too.

    bajah - Reply

    Glad I read the comments first! The topmost red connector DOES have a clamp you need to flip up to release.

    BBW - Reply

    • Using a JIS #000 screwdriver, remove six 4mm screws along the edges of the motherboard.

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    • Carefully pivot the motherboard 90 degrees toward the hinges to reveal two more ZIF connectors on the underside of the motherboard.

    • Both have latches that must be flipped up. The left, longer latch is black; the right, shorter one is white. Flip up the flaps, slide the ribbons out and remove the motherboard.

      • Note which way the ribbons slide into their connectors carefully, as they are different.

    9-15 aren't necessary at all. Its a super easy fix step 16 is sufficient.

    Javier Rodriguez - Reply

    I think you might be confused; this is a guide for replacing the motherboard, not the entire bottom half of the unit.

    Zoe Cagle -

    The top says this is a guide for the directional pad though

    Jimmy -

    Oh! Apologies; I didn't realize iFixit duplicated comments for duplicate steps. The message alert directed me to the motherboard replacement guide. Whoops.

    Anyway, as I recall, the card reader was more safely and easily removed once the motherboard was out of the way. But I agree that it was likely doable without. Thank you for the input!

    Zoe Cagle -

    What does changing the motherboard do, is it if u like bricked your system or what?

    Josh TRW - Reply

    Agree here. I’m doing the job to replace the lower screen, and connecting these two cables at the corner was the hardest part of reassembly. I would have done the job without disconnecting these.

    BBW - Reply

    • Using a screwdriver JIS #000, remove the three screws

    • Next, remove the cartridge drive by lifting it up.

    Missing an instruction for releasing the connector left of the top screw. The black latch to flip up is on the back (lower) side of the plug, then the connector pulls out of the front (top).

    BBW - Reply

    • The part marked in red is the support for the NFC antenna. You must remove this before proceeding with the LCD/digitizer assembly.

    • Release the plastic support clips of the NFC antenna using a thin tool on the top and bottom. Then, detatch it.

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    • Slide a flat tool between the LCD/digitizer's black support and the console casing then lift it gently. Next, slide an opening pick underneath to maintain it.

    • The layer indicated by the red arrow is not really a nuisance but it's nevertheless necessary to pay attention so that you do not damage it during this step.

    • Next, you can either lift the whole thing from underneath by pushing it up or continue to make your way around, declipping the whole and extracting it.

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    • Slide a thin tool between the LCD and the black casing of the whole thing then lift it gently. The LCD comes out without forcing it.

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    • Warm the edges of the touchscreen to peel it off more easily then push it gently from underneath with your fingers to extract it.

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To reassemble your device, follow these instructions in reverse order.

2 other people completed this guide.

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Guillaume Blas

Member since: 12/20/2016

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1 Guide authored


Francophones Member of Francophones


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I followed this guide to the letter last night on my hyrule gold new 3ds XL (from hence forth I will refer to this unit as my “old n3dsXL”) before attempting the same repair on my new unit. It worked fine on my old n3dsXL. So I went ahead with doing the same repair on my new unit.

Well it went fine till I tried to turn it on. The blue light comes on then after a few seconds there’s a “pop” sound and the unit turns back off. Can anyone tell me what just happened here?

Also tried putting the original touch screen back in the new unit and it still does the same pop sound and shuts off

Rachel Bell - Reply

You might need to reseat the cables i had this issue on my old ds lite and my old n3ds all i had to do was that and it fixed it for me also if that doesn’t work get a cotton swab and dip it in rubbing alcohol and clean the end of the ribbon cables then re insert them.

Joseph Federico -

Same thing happened to me my first time—brief blue light but would not power on. Tore it down and re-connected all the cables more carefully the second time. That fixed it.


I just disassembled my new 3ds xl to clean my lower screen and touch sensor following this guide, it went smoothly but now everything works except the touch sensor, why??

Francesco Baldacchini - Reply

I have done this successfully three times now—thank you for the excellent guide. Newcomers should know there is one ERROR and one OMISSION in the procedure. (1) ERROR - In Step 13, the topmost ZIF connector marked in red *does* have a clamp, unlike the other four. If you attempt to pull the connector loose without opening the clamp you will break it—see the frustrated comments to Step 13 for examples. (2) OMISSION - At Step 16, before removing the cartridge drive you must unplug the connector at the top of the component. This is shown as unplugged in the photo, but the step is missing from the written instructions. The clamp on this plug loosens on the *opposite* side from where the cable is inserted, unlike the other clamps in the guide.

BBW - Reply

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