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Repairing the glass from an iPhone’s broken display is not too difficult as there are many DIY kits and detailed instructions on YouTube that you can follow. But fixing the back glass is not so easy. There are kits, but you just can’t remove this glass layer without some technical know-how.
So, how hard is it to replace the glass? Business Insider spoke to a phone repair company owner who detailed how he repairs the back glass on a handful of different iPhone models.
Vaporizing the Glue with a Laser
The first step in repairing the back glass is to remove the ultra-strong adhesive that Apple uses on its iPhones, according to Abdullah Kabani, who owns Oklahoma phone-repair company Telè.
This glue holds the glass onto the back of the phone. Unlike other adhesives that can be removed using a heat gun, this ultra-strong glue is removed with a laser, says Kabani.
Each iPhone is different, so Kabani must use a different laser setting for each phone. Each setting is dialed down to remove all the glue, so the replacement glass fits without gaps between the phone’s frame and its glass backing. It also avoids the wireless charging coil to prevent any damage to the charger.
Removing the Glass Piece by Piece
Once the adhesive is gone, Kabani begins to remove the glass either by breaking it into big chunks or prying it off. The technique to remove the glass depends on whether the glass is merely cracked or shattered. It also varies between iPhone models, with the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 shipping with a thicker glass backing.
Kabani actually has to use a glass-breaking tool like the one emergency responders employ to break open a car window. The iPhone tool is sized appropriately so Kabani can break the hardened iPhone glass without damaging the internal components.
A Final Cleaning
With the glass gone, Kabani runs the laser a second time over the back of the phone to remove any residual glue. He also will use a metal brush to gently remove any glue that the laser couldn’t reach because it was too close to the camera module or charging coil.
Adding New Glass
The glass backs are available in a single piece that Kabani applies directly to the back of the phone. Unlike Apple, which uses a cold press glue in the factory, Kabani uses an industrial-strength B-7000 glue that he applies manually to the phone’s back. The adhesive is applied precisely to avoid any seepage. If there accidentally is any excess glue, it is removed using a chemical glue remover. Once the adhesive hardens, the phone is ready to go back to the customer.