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Month: April 2011

Successful iPhone 3GS battery replacement

Successful iPhone 3GS battery replacement

Well, just shy of 2 years, the battery in my iPhone 3GS had gotten pretty sad.  While it would charge up to 100%, it would run down really fast.  I wasn’t able to get more than half a day of good use out of it before it needed recharging.  Even sitting on my desk at work doing nothing it would lose 20% in an 8 hour stretch and seem to be getting worse every day.

Call up an Apple store, and ask them.  Battery replacement on a iPhone 3GS?  $199.  Really?  $199 sir.  Hangup.  I look around on the internet.  Lots of folks selling iPhone batteries, and most for $5-$15.  I start looking around for the most reputable guys, and find  They have lots of great step-by-step diagrams, descriptions, videos, and pictures.   Even better, they have a comments section that has literally hundreds of folks who put tips/gotchas/etc. This is looking good.

They sell a 3GS battery kit with all the tools you need for $15 – which includes a tiny screwdriver and a small plastic pry tool that they claim is the same one made for Apple.  You can also buy other helpful tools like a suction cup for removing the 3GS screen.  I decide to take the risk and have it all shipped – $25 total.

Kit comes in the mail and looks pretty well packaged and has all the tools I need.  I open it up and go to the website for instructions.

I follow the instructions pretty closely.  This isn’t like swapping the battery in your remote.  Mine has 16 different steps with no less than the removal of 10 different tiny screws and 7 different tiny ribbon cables.  You need to remove the screen, logic board, camera, and …well… basically everything because the battery is on the very bottom *glued* to the back plastic panel.  I remove it all, install the new battery, and reverse the 16 steps.

I flip it on, *blip!* it makes the normal startup sound – the screen backlights – but NO image/icons/etc.  🙁 I plug it into my computer and it syncs and sees the phone just fine.  I can even see my pictures and music on it – but no image.  I take it apart 2 more times and try re-seating the 3 display cables.  Same result.  Ugh.  I go to check’s forums, but the site is now down for maintenance – right in the middle!  I remember from a previous look on the forum where one guy had to restore the factory defaults to fix a problem with his phone not charging properly.  I figured what the heck and tell iTunes to restore to factory defaults.   Turns out there was an update due, so it took 30 minutes to download the patch and another 15-20 to restore the defaults.  Shesh.  But right after the restore of factory defaults – I get my display back!  WOOT!  I restore everything, then make a phone call – works like a champ!

I make a phone call, test the buttons, test the camera/screen/music/etc, and everything seems to work great.  Why a software reset is needed to have your display come back after a simple battery replacement is beyond me – but there it is.

So, I don’t recommend the procedure to everyone.  It took about 30 minutes of steady concentration and a equally steady hands – but it seems to be working like a total champ.  It just finished charging to 100%, so we’ll see how well this battery lasts, but it already seems much better.