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Introduction

Follow this guide to remove or replace the rear camera in an iPad Air 3 for both Wi-Fi and cellular models.

Some photos in this guide were taken from a previous model. There are small differences between models, but the overall procedure is very similar.

  1. iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement, Prepare an iOpener: step 1, image 1 of 1
    • Strong adhesive holds the screen in place. In order to separate it, you'll first need to heat and soften the adhesive using an iOpener, hair dryer, or heat gun.

    • You may need to reapply heat repeatedly throughout this process to prevent the adhesive from cooling and hardening.

    • Prepare an iOpener and place it on the bottom edge of the iPad's screen for about two minutes.

  2. iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement, Create an opening gap: step 2, image 1 of 1
    • If your iPad's screen is badly cracked, wear skin and eye protection. Cover the screen with a smooth layer of clear packing tape to contain glass shards and help the suction cup adhere. Alternatively, use a strong piece of tape (such as duct tape) and fold it into a handle.

    • Place a suction cup next to the iPad's home button 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 create a small gap between the front panel and the rear case.

    • Don't pull too hard, or you may shatter the glass. If necessary, apply more heat to further soften the adhesive.

    • Once you've opened a sufficient gap, insert an opening pick into the gap.

  3. iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement, Slice through the bottom adhesive: step 3, image 1 of 2 iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement, Slice through the bottom adhesive: step 3, image 2 of 2
    • Slice through the adhesive under the screen by sliding the pick along the edge of the display, towards the bottom left corner.

    • Leave the pick in place temporarily to prevent the adhesive from re-sealing.

  4. iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement, Slice through the left adhesive: step 4, image 1 of 3 iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement, Slice through the left adhesive: step 4, image 2 of 3 iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement, Slice through the left adhesive: step 4, image 3 of 3
    • Apply heat to the left edge of the iPad for about two minutes, or until it's slightly too hot to touch comfortably.

    • If necessary, re-heat your iOpener for a few seconds or until it's a bit too hot to touch. Be careful not to overheat the iOpener, or it may burst.

    • Insert a second opening pick at the bottom left corner of the iPad.

    • Slide the second opening pick along the left side of the display to separate the adhesive underneath.

    • Leave the opening pick inserted near the top left corner of the iPad to prevent the adhesive from re-sealing.

  5. iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement: step 5, image 1 of 1
    • Apply heat to the top edge of the iPad for about two minutes, or until it's slightly too hot to touch comfortably.

  6. iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement: step 6, image 1 of 3 iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement: step 6, image 2 of 3 iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement: step 6, image 3 of 3
    • Insert a third opening pick at the top left corner of the iPad.

    • Use the opening pick to cut the adhesive under the top edge of the iPad by sliding it to the top right corner.

    • The front-facing camera is located right in the center of the iPad's top edge and can be damaged if the pick is inserted too far. Only insert the tip of the opening pick when cutting near the camera.

  7. iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement: step 7, image 1 of 3 iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement: step 7, image 2 of 3 iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement: step 7, image 3 of 3
    • Apply heat to the final, right edge of the iPad for about two minutes, or until it's slightly too hot to touch comfortably.

    • Insert a fourth opening pick at the top right corner of the iPad.

    • Slide the opening pick down to the bottom right corner to cut the adhesive.

    • Slide the opening pick around the bottom right corner—pausing to apply more heat if needed—and cut the remaining adhesive on the bottom edge, but stop before you reach the home button.

  8. iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement: step 8, image 1 of 2 iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement: step 8, image 2 of 2
    • Insert a fifth opening pick at the top of the iPad near (but not directly on) the front-facing camera.

    • Gently twist the pick to separate the display assembly from the iPad.

    • Don't try to remove the display all the way yet! It is still connected to the iPad's motherboard.

    • If needed, apply more heat and/or cut any remaining adhesive that prevents the display from separating.

  9. iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement: step 9, image 1 of 3 iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement: step 9, image 2 of 3 iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement: step 9, image 3 of 3
    • Lift the display assembly from its top edge and carefully slide it up (towards the front-facing camera and headphone jack), until the screw that secures the battery power connector is revealed at the bottom.

    • Don't lift the display more than 70° or you may damage the attached ribbon cables.

    • Remove the 1.9 mm Phillips screw that secures the battery power connector.

    • Throughout this repair, keep track of each screw and make sure it goes back exactly where it came from to avoid damaging your device.

  10. iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement, Battery connector information: step 11, image 1 of 3 iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement, Battery connector information: step 11, image 2 of 3 iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement, Battery connector information: step 11, image 3 of 3
    • These photos show what the battery connector looks like underneath the logic board. Use these photos as a reference while you safely disconnect the battery.

    • Notice that the battery connector has cantilever springs on the logic board that press against the battery contact pads. Since both the logic board and battery are glued down, you'll need to slide something thin and flexible between the contact points to disconnect the battery.

  11. iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement, Disconnect the battery: step 12, image 1 of 1
    • Be careful when you isolate the battery using a battery blocker. The battery contacts are easily bent or broken, resulting in irreversible damage.

    • To disconnect the battery, slide one prong of a battery blocker or the tip of an opening pick under the battery power connector to ensure the power circuit is interrupted.

    • Don't push the battery blocker underneath the connector with excessive force. If you're having trouble fitting the battery blocker underneath the logic board, you can try using a playing card to disconnect the battery instead.

    • The battery blocker or playing card ideally should slide under the logic board without encountering any blockages.

    • Leave the battery blocker in place as you work.

  12. iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement: step 13, image 1 of 3 iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement: step 13, image 2 of 3 iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement: step 13, image 3 of 3
    • Slowly lift the display from its top edge, being careful not to strain the attached ribbon cables.

    • Remove the two 1.3 mm Phillips screws securing the display connector cover bracket.

    • You may need to angle the driver slightly in order to avoid straining the ribbon cables.

    • Remove the display connector cover bracket.

  13. iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement: step 14, image 1 of 3 iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement: step 14, image 2 of 3 iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement: step 14, image 3 of 3
    • Use a spudger to disconnect the two visible display flex connectors by gently prying them straight up from their sockets.

    • To re-attach press connectors like this one, carefully align and press down on one side until it clicks into place, then repeat on the other side. Do not press down on the middle. If the connector is misaligned, the pins can bend, causing permanent damage.

  14. iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement: step 15, image 1 of 3 iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement: step 15, image 2 of 3 iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement: step 15, image 3 of 3
    • Underneath, you'll find two additional display cable connectors.

    • Use your spudger to gently pry them up and disconnect them.

  15. iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement: step 16, image 1 of 1
    • Remove the display assembly.

    • During reassembly, before installing a display, remove any remaining adhesive from the iPad, and clean the glued areas with high concentration isopropyl alcohol (90% or greater) and a lint-free cloth. This helps prep the iPad for fresh adhesive and ensures that it will bond properly.

    • If you plan to reinstall your existing display, remove any remaining adhesive from the back and clean the adhered areas with isopropyl alcohol.

    • Test your iPad's functions and install pre-cut adhesive strips to the back of the display using our display adhesive application guide before sealing it up.

  16. iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement, Remove the upper component bracket screws: step 17, image 1 of 1
    • Use a Phillips screwdriver to remove the five screws securing the upper component bracket:

    • Three 1.4 mm-long screws

    • Two 2.4 mm-long screws

  17. iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement, Free the upper component bracket: step 18, image 1 of 3 iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement, Free the upper component bracket: step 18, image 2 of 3 iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement, Free the upper component bracket: step 18, image 3 of 3
    • Use a spudger to push the upper component bracket towards the upper edge and off of the clips located near the rear camera.

  18. iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement, Remove the upper component bracket: step 19, image 1 of 2 iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement, Remove the upper component bracket: step 19, image 2 of 2
    • Remove the upper component bracket.

    • During reassembly, make sure that the upper component bracket slides under the clips near the rear camera.

  19. iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement, Disconnect the power button assembly: step 20, image 1 of 2 iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement, Disconnect the power button assembly: step 20, image 2 of 2
    • Use the pointed end of a spudger to disconnect the front camera cable by lifting straight up on the press connector.

  20. iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement, Remove the power button bracket screws: step 21, image 1 of 1
    • Use a Phillips screwdriver to remove the two 4.3 mm-long screws securing the power button bracket to the rear case.

  21. iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement, Remove the power button assembly: step 22, image 1 of 3 iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement, Remove the power button assembly: step 22, image 2 of 3 iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement, Remove the power button assembly: step 22, image 3 of 3
    • Use a pair of tweezers to peel the power button assembly away from the rear case.

    • The power button is loose and may fall out of the rear case.

  22. iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement, Disconnect the rear camera: step 23, image 1 of 2 iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement, Disconnect the rear camera: step 23, image 2 of 2
    • Use the pointed end of a spudger to disconnect the rear camera cable by lifting straight up on the press connector.

  23. iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement, Loosen the adhesive: step 24, image 1 of 1
    • Apply a heated iOpener to the rear camera for a minute.

  24. iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement, Pry up the rear camera: step 25, image 1 of 2 iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement, Pry up the rear camera: step 25, image 2 of 2
    • Insert an opening tool between the rear case and the rear camera.

    • Pry the rear camera away from the rear case.

  25. iPad Air 3 Rear Camera Replacement, Remove the rear camera: step 26, image 1 of 1
    • Remove the rear camera.

    • Before you install a replacement camera, make sure that the camera glass is clean and fingerprint free.

    • Compare your new replacement part to the original part—you may need to transfer remaining components or remove adhesive backings from the new part before you install it.

    • During reassembly, follow this guide if you are using a pre-cut adhesive card to secure the rear camera.

Conclusion

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

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

Repair didn’t go as planned? Try some basic troubleshooting, or ask our iPad Air 3 Answers community for help.


Robert Boyd

Member since: 02/01/2021

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