Introduction

Follow this guide to replace a broken front panel assembly on an iPad Air 2 Wi-Fi. The front panel or display assembly consists of the glass digitizer on top and the fused LCD underneath. In the iPad Air 2, these two parts are not separable and must be replaced as one piece.

Note that the fingerprint scanner in the home button is paired to the iPad's logic board. In order to maintain Touch ID functionality, you must transfer your original home button to the new display assembly.

This process can fix issues like a cracked glass digitizer, a non-responsive touchscreen, or a broken LCD screen.

  1. We recommend that you clean your microwave before proceeding, as any nasty gunk on the bottom may end up stuck to the iOpener.
    • We recommend that you clean your microwave before proceeding, as any nasty gunk on the bottom may end up stuck to the iOpener.

    • Place the iOpener in the center of the microwave.

      • For carousel microwaves: Make sure the plate spins freely. If your iOpener gets stuck, it may overheat and burn.

  2. Heat the iOpener for thirty seconds.
    • Heat the iOpener for thirty seconds.

    • Throughout the repair procedure, as the iOpener cools, reheat it in the microwave for an additional thirty seconds at a time.

    • Be careful not to overheat the iOpener during the repair. Overheating may cause the iOpener to burst.

    • Never touch the iOpener if it appears swollen.

    • If the iOpener is still too hot in the middle to touch, continue using it while waiting for it to cool down some more before reheating. A properly heated iOpener should stay warm for up to 10 minutes.

    • Remove the iOpener from the microwave, holding it by one of the two flat ends to avoid the hot center.

    • The iOpener will be very hot, so be careful when handling it. Use an oven mitt if necessary.

    • If your display glass is cracked, keep further breakage contained and prevent bodily harm during your repair by taping the glass.

    • Lay overlapping strips of clear packing tape over the iPad's display until the whole face is covered.

      • This will keep glass shards contained and provide structural integrity when prying and lifting the display.

    • Do your best to follow the rest of the guide as described. However, once the glass is broken, it will likely continue to crack as you work, and you may need to use a metal prying tool to scoop the glass out.

    • Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes, and be careful not to damage the LCD screen.

    • The following steps involve using an iOpener to soften the adhesive holding the front panel assembly in place. When using the iOpener, be sure to heat it in the microwave for no more than 30 seconds.

    • Handling it by the tabs on either end, place a heated iOpener over the top edge of the iPad.

    • Let the iOpener sit on the iPad for two minutes to soften the adhesive securing the front panel to the rest of the iPad.

    • While the iPad looks uniform from the outside, there are delicate components under certain portions of the front glass. To avoid damage, only heat and pry in the areas described in each step.

    • As you follow the directions, take special care to avoid prying in the following areas:

      • Home Button

      • Front Facing Camera

      • Main Camera

    • Place a suction cup over the iPad's front-facing camera and press down to create a seal.

      • To get the most leverage, place the suction cup as close to the edge as possible without going past the edge of the display.

    • Firmly pull up on the suction cup to to create a small gap between the front panel and the rear case.

      • Do not pull too hard or you may shatter the glass.

    • Once you've opened a sufficient gap, insert an opening pick into the gap to prevent the adhesive from resealing.

    • Slide the pick along the edge of the display, towards the headphone jack.

      • If there is still a considerable amount of resistance when sliding the opening pick, repeat the iOpener heating procedure and apply additional heat.

    • Be careful not to let the opening pick slide between the fused LCD and front panel, as doing so can permanently damage the display.

      • A good rule of thumb is to never insert the opening pick more than a quarter inch (6 mm) into the iPad.

    • Insert a second opening pick by the front-facing camera.

    • Slide the second pick along the top edge of the iPad, towards the Sleep/Wake Button.

    • Insert a third pick by the front-facing camera.

    • Bring the right opening pick down and around the top right corner of the iPad.

    • Bring the left opening pick around the top left corner of the tablet.

    • Reheat the iOpener and lay it over the right edge of the display to loosen the adhesive underneath.

    • Slide the right opening pick roughly halfway down the display.

    • Reheat the iOpener and apply heat to the left side of the iPad.

    • Slide the left-hand opening pick about halfway down the edge of the display.

    • Slide the opposite opening pick down to the bottom right corner of the iPad.

    • If necessary, reheat the adhesive on the right edge to loosen the display assembly.

    • Slide the left-hand opening pick down the edge of the display until you reach the corner.

    • Use the iOpener to apply heat to the bottom edge of the iPad.

    • Bring the right-hand opening pick around the bottom corner of the iPad.

    • Repeat for the left-hand pick.

    • Reheat and reapply the iOpener as needed. Always wait at least ten minutes before reheating the iOpener.

    • Remove the right-hand opening pick at the bottom of the iPad.

    • Slide the left-hand opening pick along the bottom edge of the display, then remove it from the bottom right corner of the iPad.

    • Be very careful to not insert the pick more than a quarter inch (6 mm) into the display to avoid damaging the Home Button and display cables underneath.

    • Twist the remaining pick by the front-facing camera to separate the top edge of the display assembly from the rear case.

    • Continue lifting the display assembly from the front-facing camera side.

    • Pull the display slightly away from the bottom edge to completely separate it from the rear case.

    • Keep lifting until the display assembly is roughly perpendicular to the body of the iPad.

      • Do not attempt to remove the display yet—it is still attached to the rear case by three delicate ribbon cables.

    • Remove the single 1.8 mm Phillips screw securing the battery terminals to their contacts on the logic board.

    • To reduce the risk of a short, you can use a battery isolation pick to disconnect the battery.

      • Slide a battery isolation pick underneath the battery connector area of the logic board, and leave it in place while you work.

    • Remove the three 1.3mm Phillips screws from the display cable bracket.

    • Remove the bracket.

    • Disconnect the display data connector from its socket on the logic board.

    • Disconnect the two remaining digitizer cables underneath the display data cable.

    • Remove the front panel assembly from the rear case.

    • Lay the display assembly facedown.

    • Use a plastic opening tool to pry the bracket off the back of the Home Button.

    • Remove the Home Button bracket and peel up the tape connected to it.

    • During reassembly, after installing the home button, you'll need to glue this bracket into place to secure it

      • Scrape off as much of the old adhesive residue from the bracket as you can, then clean it with acetone or high-concentration (90% or greater) isopropyl alcohol.

      • Secure the bracket with hot-melt glue, superglue, or high-strength double-sided tape. Make sure the bracket is aligned correctly before allowing your adhesive to cure, or the home button will not click when pressed.

    • Peel up the tape covering the Home Button ZIF connector.

    • Use the flat end of a spudger to flip up the retaining flap on the Home Button cable socket.

    • Disconnect the Home Button ribbon cable.

    • Use the flat end of a spudger to peel up the Home Button ribbon cable and Touch ID control chip.

    • Peel up the remaining corner of the Home Button ribbon cable.

    • Reheat your iOpener and lay it over the bottom edge of the display to loosen the adhesive on the Home Button gasket.

      • Wait about two minutes for the adhesive to soften before moving on to the next step.

    • In the following steps, you will be separating the home button gasket from the iPad's front panel. This gasket is extremely delicate and can tear easily. If the gasket does not separate easily from the front panel, reapply heat using the iOpener before continuing.

    • Use the pointed end of a spudger to gently pry the Home Button assembly up from the display.

    • Continue working the tip of the spudger around the edge of the gasket until the gasket is fully separated from the front panel.

    • Remove the home button assembly.

      • If you are replacing your LCD assembly, some assemblies have a slightly different home button connector placement that will require you to fold over the home button cable in a "S" shape like shown in the picture.

    • Examine your replacement part, and your original display carefully to be sure they match.

    • Your replacement screen may be missing the sleep/wake sensor that is necessary for Smart Cover use. If you want to maintain functionality you will need to transfer the component.

    • Desolder the four solder pads from the lower left of the display to remove the sensor assembly cable.

    • The following step includes instructions for transferring this sensor to the new display assembly.

    • This video details the procedure to desolder the sensor flex cable and reattach it to the new display.

    • Display assembly remains.

Conclusion

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

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Evan Noronha

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13 Comments

What about the part soldered to the display to the left of the home button? It's showcased in step 43 but hidden with black tape then missing in step 44? What is the significants of this component or flex cable...

jmcdonough - Reply

Where is the transfer of the sleep/wake sensor? its a 4 point solder connection.

Anthony W - Reply

Be careful if you replace the home button bracket, many of the replacements do not have the small silver disc that sits in the recess on the inside of the bracket. If you do not transfer this from the old one, the home button will not work as there will be nothing for the home button to press against

waynechamberlain - Reply

can you describe how to transfer the sensor flex cable assembly (four small solder points left to home button on step 45)?

No use to buy your spare part without this step!

kaspar - Reply

This is one of the harder steps to accomplish I felt. You need to de-solder the four points by heating them up at the same time if possible. They actually have small holes in the center of them for the solder to go through to the bottom pads. Once it is removed you need to clean them off and remove as much old solder as possible without damaging the ribbon they are on. Once you have the new screen in place you need to put the part in its appropriate place and then solder the points. Using an ample amount of flux is helpful but you have to clean up afterwards with IP alcohol. If you have a small microscope or good camera you can zoom in and see if the connections are solid and then you are done.

Benjamin Huntsman -

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