The original problem with my phone was that the battery was ailing. This was getting annoying, especially since it held almost no charge in cold weather, which of course, is now. After the #batterygate scandal I realized I had two reasons to swap out my battery, so I turned to iFixit for the necessary part and guidance.
I was having a little trouble opening the phone with the suction cup and opener tool, so I turned to my husband for a little more muscle. THIS WAS A MISTAKE. His general attitude towards life is to push a little harder if something seems stuck. Well, in the art that is electronics repair, this meant he ripped the my phone in 2 pieces. Yes, in attempting to open the phone he ripped all 4 ribbon cables that attach the front assembly to the back board. I got back in the driver seat after that, thank you, but husband is not the only one to be blamed. I of course know his strength is his weakness. And of course, the design itself makes it difficult to open. Thank you, Apple.
Since hubby took care of "removing" the front of the phone from the back, the removal of the battery was pretty easy. YOU CAN TOTALLY DO IT! And it sure beats waiting 2 weeks for an appointment at the Genius Bar, 45 miles away. (This is where my friend was routed for a battery replacement, even though there is a much closer Apple store, but I digress...)
Now I was at a crossroads. Hand over my phone to a professional to revive my now totally lifeless phone, or, dig in. Well, I figured I could in no way break the phone more if I tried fixing it myself, and I would sure learn a lot more. So I logged back on to iFixit.com and ordered a front assembly. (This was also half the price of what my local repair shop was charging, since I'd be doing the labor myself). While I was at it, I ordered the antenna flex cable, since I'd been living without GPS or Bluetooth for 7 months, and read that that part could be the issue.
I waited about 5 days for the parts, without any phone, but I consider this a blessing since I was blissfully unaware of the missile attack in HI until it was not in fact a missile attack after all. I also got to enjoy the views of the frozen river on my train ride in to work, which I had not paid attention to before. (Note to future self: put your phone away when commuting.)
The parts arrived and I got right to it. I opened the phone myself this time and pursued the antenna flex replacement first. There were many steps to this, but nothing too complicated, I just went slow and steady with the printed out tutorial, and taped all the screws to their associated steps so I could be sure to reassemble.
The front assembly replacement came last. This repair was actually so much faster than I expected, especially compared to the antenna. And because I had read the home button swap can be tricky, I did it very carefully and it was no big deal. My fingerprint ID still works.
The elation I experience upon plugging in my re-assembled new-old phone and having it turn on was indescribable. I FIXED IT!!! (great name, ifixit.com!)
And I am happy to say everything works -- touch screen, touch ID, GPS, Blue tooth, and battery is 100%.
Be REALLLLLY careful opening your phone. Don't rip it in half. Easy does it.
Getting the itsy bitsy connectors of the antenna flex cable back together can take a while. Go slow, don't give up.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is the perfect gift for anyone in your life like my husband. He's only a few chapters in, but already taking to more delicate projects.