Opening an iPhone 3G – Be Extra Careful

This post is not a tutorial on how to open an iPhone 3G. There are numerous good guides on the web and YouTube. If you are looking for a guide, I suggest the excellent iFixIt guides here. However, all the guides and videos I have come across use the first generation iPhone and not the 3G. This is strictly my opinion and is based on a sample size of 1. I am using my iPhone 3G as a reference. When I opened my iPhone I was surprised to find an extra connection, which, had I not been careful, could have easily ripped and damaged the device.

Installing and using the crappy AT&T Navigator busted the speaker on my iPhone. My iPhone is on permanent mute, vibrate only mode. Can’t hear a thing from the speakers. No phone rings, no marimba tune. I managed to find a repair store in Atlanta which wants to charge $100. It’s still cheaper than the other options and no, I did not get the AppleCare. I know, hindsight. However, the store has not returned my call since November. I found the replacement dock connecter+speaker assembly on for $19. Next step was to replace the broken part. Haven’t found time to do it yet, because, if I completely damage the phone I need time to run to the AT&T store and get the cheapest phone so I don’t miss any calls.

Here are the tools you will need to open the iPhone. Some guides suggest using a flat screwdriver to pry open the top, after removing the bottom screen.

iPhone Opening ToolsI do not recommend doing that, because the potential of you damaging the phone is very high. The cheap plastic suction cup can be found at any Home Depot or Lowes. Get the one shown in the picture. The hook comes in handy pulling the lid open and the suction is good enough. A thin gasket lines the glass cover of the iPhone and using a knife or any other tool to pry open the lid will damage the gasket. 

Also recommend keeping a magnet handy as the screws are tiny and you don’t to lose any. The magnet will come on handy if you drop any screw. Another tip, take pictures of each step so you can use it was a guide to help you put the device back together. Yet another tip, backup your iPhone before attempting to open it. Better safe than be sorry.

The picture on the right, borrowed from iFixIt.Com should the iPhone open. One thing to note is there is no connector connecting the top to the bottom like the one I found in my iPhone.




The picture on the left is the dock assembly. The connector shown is attached to the top of the iPhone where the arrow points to in the picture on the right. The very first time you try to open your iPhone 3G using the suction cup, you will find that a little extra pull is required. Don’t just yank the top. You will need a couple of tries before you can successfully dislodge the top, but knowing that there is connector will help you be extra careful.

Good luck.


About Ramesh Sringeri

Yet another chaos monkey. View all posts by Ramesh Sringeri

6 responses to “Opening an iPhone 3G – Be Extra Careful

  • Jun

    My iPhone recently stopped working properly and I don’t have the money to take it in to be fixed. So my friend who has fixed his before is going to do so for me. This will help, thanks!

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    • Linda

      I have that extra connector on mine, too, when I am trying to install a new digitizer & glass. I don’t know if I should pry it off or not, not knowing if I can reconnect it…..Did you get your phone back in working order after disassembly?

      • Ramesh Sringeri

        @Linda, I haven’t been able to replace my docking connector because I lost the replacement part I ordered. I need to order one more and try fixing my iPhone. Will post update when I replace the docking connector.

      • Ramesh Sringeri

        @Linda, I did manage to reorder another part and replace the docking connector in my iPhone 3G. In some phones the connector referred to above just sticks to the top and is safe to pry open. You can put it back. Just be sure to use a plastic spudger.

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