Wednesday, September 26, 2012

iPhone 3GS D.I.Y. Battery Replacement

My Dad has an iPhone 3GS lying around as a spare phone. So when iOS 6 came out and is still supported on the 3GS, I decided to upgrade the phone. Once I was done, I noticed the display was protruding from the case. I thought someone had dropped the phone and the screen had popped out, then I realized the whole phone was "swollen". I figured the battery had swollen up and was pushing the screen out.

iPhone 3GSiPhone 3GS

I thought the phone is pretty useless and perhaps dangerous to use like this, so what do I have to loose by attempting a battery replacement myself.

I did a search online for somewhere I could buy a battery, and came across Not only do they sell the battery, but a kit to do the work as well. Seeing as the battery is $20, I figured R249 was not bad for the whole kit, which was R319 with shipping.

iPhone 3GS

With regards to the order, I must relay the confirmation email I got.

Dear Derek

When you placed your order with uFix (, a hushed silence fell upon a dustless cleanroom hidden deep within the bowels of Table Mountain. Inside, bright industrial lights gave way to soft aroma-scented candles where an ancient team of meticulous engineers bowed their heads in murmuring chant. With zen-like focus, they clasped together their velvet, anti-static gloves in hallowed prayer and on 09/22/2012 accepted your order to the value of R 319.00 ZAR.

The Engineers carefully laid out your purchased items on a satin sheet for inspection and, one by one, placed each item in an airtight container lined with silver of the finest quality:

1x iPhone 3GS Battery Repair Kit for R 249.00 each

Subtotal : R 249.00 ZAR
VAT : R 30.58 ZAR
Shipping : R 70.00 ZAR
Total : R 319.00 ZAR

A pack of tame wildebeest then proceeded to escort your package to a deep, quiet pool where a group of mermaids waited to ferry your sealed package via the Mariana Trench. From the deepest, tranquil depths of our known oceans, Poseidon proceeded to bless your order so that a team of feral horses may deliver it overland to: (my address)

I found that rather amusing.

So onto the moment of truth. The website has some very good guides on how to repair devices. The do have an iPhone 3GS Battery Replacement guide with video. So simply watching the video as an overview and then following the guide step by step was the process.

However, with this swollen battery issue of mine, I had a bit of a moment of terror. Once I got the display assembly off, I could see the battery was pushing the logic board up. Once I started to remove the screws holding the logic board in, I found them rather tight and hard to unscrew. As soon as I had the second screw out along the side, the logic board shot up with a loud crack. I was really concerned it would break. Then pressing down I removed the remaining screws to expose the battery.

iPhone 3GS

It was well and truly a balloon. I had protective glasses on, but really did not want this thing to explode on me. It is stuck to the back case with adhesive tape, so you need to pry it off, a process that I found myself doing without looking.

Once that was over, fitting the new battery and putting everything back in reverse order was pretty easy. Those ribbon cables were a bit tricky though.

Then the moment of truth, I turned the trusty iPhone back on and it worked without a problem. So she has a brand new battery, and the latest iOS 6. Not bad for a phone that's 3 years old.

iPhone 3GS

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