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April 19, 2015
I had my iPhone 4s in my pocket and fell into the pool while I was cleaning it. After that, as other users have described, the camera flash stayed dimly lit and the battery life was extremely short, but the phone worked fine. I tolerated this for a little while and then got an iPhone 6. My 10 year-old son was always a fan of my 4s and now it was his to keep but the battery life was awful.
I found fixit.com with a simple Google search. I surfed through it and decided to replace the rear camera and battery. For a little over 60 bucks I got the replacement parts and tools along with the liberation kit. I followed the instructions on the site and now my son has a functioning 4s!
Be very careful and deliberate while doing the repair. Make special places beforehand for all the little screws that have to come off. I'm almost 50 and I wish I had some magnifying spectacles or something to magnify the whole situation. Everything you are dealing with is extremely tiny.
April 6, 2015
My iPhone 4S's rear camera was having problems auto-focusing. On 75% of shots it would not come into sharp focus, I had to repeatedly tap the phone against my palm, re-compose the shot, etc. A real pain since I need to take pictures for work purposes often.
Using iFixit's repair guide I was able to disassemble, replace the rear camera module, and reassemble in under 20 minutes. (I had previous experience replacing the battery in the phone so I was familiar with the basic procedures.)
This repair, at ~$38 incl. tax and ship, was worth the time and trouble. Highly recommended.
Pay special attention to the new camera module's lens when installing. Before you put the rear cover back on, use a quick, light burst of dry compressed air to blow any lint or dust off.
Also, while the rear cover is off, use camera-lens cleaning liquid and a lint-free cloth to clean the *inside* of the rear camera lens cover glass. To be clear: do NOT use any liquids on the camera lens itself -- only on the **protective glass** on the inside surface of the iPhone's rear cover. Let it dry completely, upside down so no more lint or dust falls in it, before putting the cover back on the phone.
January 12, 2015
My iPhone 4s was in a bag along with a water bottle that leaked. The phone was soaked and after drying, the camera flash would not turn off and the vibrate switch would no longer function.
The camera was a breeze. The vibrate switch a little more challenging: you have to take most of the phone apart to get to it. But the guides were great, and while at first I thought the magnetic project mat a little overkill, it's really quite handy.
The phone started right up when I reassembled it. The camera worked and the flash no longer stayed on. The vibrate switch still didn't work, however. I saw a lot of water damage / corrosion on the motherboard right around where the vibrate / volume cable plugs in, so the problem is likely on the motherboard.
Pay close attention to the part about prying the microphone away from the case. I had the directions printed so I didn't see the close-up image and ended up forgetting about it and tearing the cable. Luckily the whole point was to replace the cable so it didn't matter.
August 11, 2014
My wife dropped her iPhone and that's when the rear camera stopped working. The shutter did not open and the camera froze up if you tried to switch from the front-facing camera to the rear. Also, the flashlight option in iOS7 was greyed out and not available.
I briefly considered buying an allegedly "genuine OEM" rear camera from Amazon for $5, but I'm glad I decided on getting the camera from iFixit. It was worth the extra cost buying from a reputable company.
The repair was easy and relatively quick. I've done repair work on other electronics, but this was my first iPhone repair. It took me about an hour, including setup.
The biggest challenge was removing the battery, not because it's a complicated task, but because it's held in by a fairly thick layer of adhesive. I tried prying it up using the same plastic opening tool shown in the guide, but the plastic was threatening to break, and I knew I would still need it to complete the repair.
I took the advice of another repairer who recommended using a credit card to pry up the battery from the right-hand side. The card is tough enough to handle the pressure but it bends just enough to get it underneath the battery. I used a corner of my credit card to work into the lower right-hand side of the battery and then I worked it up the side to release the battery.
Other than the battery's persistence to remain glued in place, the rest of the repair is very straightforward. I popped out the old camera, popped in the new one, put it all back together, and it worked like a charm.
Pay attention, and take your time.
Read the directions from beginning to end before starting. Set all of your tools out ahead of time -- and make sure you buy the right tools. Decide on a strategy for organizing your screws (IFixit offers a magnetic project map that I'm sure is very handy). I taped a blank sheet of paper to the table and labeled each screw as I removed it from the phone.
If you're used to doing mechanical work on your car -- remember that this isn't your car. Don't force anything. Brute strength is not a trait that is needed in small electronic repair.
July 14, 2014
My phone got wet after a swim in a river & a waterproof case failure. The LED flash would stay on even when I shut down the phone. Also, the phone would pretend it was always plugged into a dock, so the volume buttons would not work & I could not get any sound from videos and music.
It was pretty exciting and empowering to take apart my iphone. I must say the magnetic project mat is genius! It made it easy to not lose any screws and keep track of where they came from. The instructions were all clear and well written. I replaced all three things at once, the battery, the rear camera, and the dock connector, and now my phone works great!
I made two mistakes:
1. I touched the little sticker with an alcohol soaked Q-tip while cleaning the parts before reassembly- and it turned pink (this was the water indicator sticker which permanently changes color with 1 drop of liquid).
2. when putting the phone back together for the dock connector replacement- please realize you have to put the tiny screw and spacer from step 12 & 13 back (left speaker enclosure screw) before you remove the backing of the stickers on the dock connector cable. I made the mistake of adhering the dock connector cable first, and covering up the left speaker enclosure screw, making it very difficult to put it back in.
January 28, 2014
I dropped my I4s 3 days after I got it and the camera wouldn't focus after that. I replaced the screen so I knew how to get into the 4s.
The repair went so fast and easily, I didn't bother to take photos.
I read where some people didn't bother to disconnect the battery. If there's ANY chance of zapping something, why not spend the minute or two to disconnect the battery?
December 2, 2013
Like a lot of other cameras on the iPhone 4s, mine died. After a few months of trying to solve it via software, I decided to just replace the camera.
Repair went well. There are a number of guides out there (YouTube, et al) but the iFixit instructions were just fine. Repair would have gone flawlessly, but I thought I was smarter than iFixit (I'm not) and took one of the screwdrivers and the plastic shims out of the kit to save a few bucks. BAD IDEA! Anyway, camera works perfectly now.
Order the whole kit. God, what a pain in the @%^ trying to do the fix without the right tools (I thought I had screwdrivers that would work and could use my fingers 'sted shims....argh.)
Just order the kit & save going to Radio Shack to find out they don't have the right tools...and that your screwdrivers are too big for this... (nothing special to see & browser didn't load pix...)
June 24, 2013
Shutter won't open when using camera, thus useless. Also any related app: instagram, Flashlight, MagLight won't work
Very well. Even though, I never had to work with tiny little screws like that before...
The new camera works fine. Except after a few days, the shutter didn't open again, even after restarting iOS several times. And the next day it worked again.
So I think maybe the problem is elsewhere and it will eventually break down again...
Patience and focus
June 18, 2013
iPhone 4S rear camera failed due to a little bit of water. Although my Lifeproof case has kept her dry for almost 2 years, it didn't stay dry on a water slide.
Repair took about 20 minutes. The repair guide was simple to follow and easy to understand.
Read the directions and look at the pictures. One without the other may lead you into some trouble.
April 15, 2013
Picked up a used iphone 4s.. white.. 64GB.. good price. Camera wasn't working and the battery didnt hold a charge for very long. Couldn't resist the urge to see if I could fix it. If I couldn't fix it, I could give it back to the original owner, no charge. If I suceeded, I could replace my wifes old 3G.
The repair went great. First, I followed the ifixit instructions and took the phone apart to see if anything obvious was wrong, and to see what I was getting myself into, since this was my first iphone repair. Cleaned the camera contacts, put it back together and the camera (and the phone) worked! Camera cut in and out a few times after that, and the battery was weak, so I decided to take a shot.
Ordered the camera and battery, and a few tools I didn't have. When I had questions, ifixit was great to chat with by phone. Great support.
I'm glad I got the magnetic project mat. I was able to mark what parts went with which step as well as the position of all the screws and parts. Plenty of room to support my verbose note taking style. Never used any of the spare screws I ordered, but enjoyed the peace of mind of knowing that I had spares in case I blew the screws all over the place like I almost did first time I cleaned the contacts!!
If you can change a tire or a hard drive, you can fix an iphone. If you're a tinkerer, you'll probably enjoy it. It really wasn't that tough. Nerve wracking for a first timer, but not difficult.
Another tip: don't overtighten screws. They're really tiny and it would not take much to strip a screw or attachment point.
The magnetic project mat was great. And I liked the idea of having a set of spare screws. Cheap peace of mind.
I find myself hoping I can find another phone to fix now that I've got the confidence I can do it.