3 Lessons From Repairing My Own Iphone 4

I don’t really consider myself a minimalist but I don’t really buy what I don’t really need. End of the year 2010, I bought an iPhone 4 when my Nokia 5800, which I have been using since 2008, decided to stop functioning.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nokia_5800_XpressMusic
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nokia_5800_XpressMusic

I used my iPhone 4 for almost everything, almost like a swiss army knife. Anything I need from a calculator to finding address and doing work, I can get it done on my iPhone. The screen cracked on two occasions and I got it replaced quite easily.

In Dec 2015, my iPhone 4 fell from my table at work and the screen went blank. It stopped working totally and I had to source for an alternative phone. My wife gave me her iPhone 4 to use. On a side note,  I learned that her iPhone 4 was much lighter than mine, for some reason. In addition to that, the settings format was also different.

Third quarter of 2016, while using my wife’s iPhone to make a video, the screen stopped functioning. I had to switch it off, let it cool for a while and turn it on back. Even then, I have only about 3 minutes before the screen stops working. A tiring, not to mention frustrating process.

I decided to go to a phone repair shop to get my own iPhone 4 fixed. An hour later, the repair guy told me that it cannot be repaired as the problem was with the motherboard. He then tried to sell me the newer iPhones from his shop.

I went back home and decided to start this mini project; to attempt and repair my iPhone 4. Do I have any idea how to do it? Not at all. I wanted to open it up myself and maybe use the components  my wife’s iPhone 4 and see if it works.

The thing about iPhones is that the screws they use are almost microscopic. As I do not have the right tools, I had to improvise.

iphone4 screws as long as the thickness of a 10 cent coin.
iPhone 4 screws as almost as long as the thickness of a 10 cent coin.

I used nails of different sizes to loosen the small screws of those TWO iPhone 4.

In front of me was my laptop with a YouTube video on how to open the iPhone. I watched the video, rewind it again and again for every single step so that I got it right.

I decided to switch the charging ports and see how it goes. A totally random thought.

After switching the ports and putting everything back together, guess what? it works! Not 1 but both iPhones work!

Ah.. With God’s Grace, anything and everything is possible.

So here I am, using my own iPhone 4, the same one that I have been using since 2010.

Apart from having two repaired iPhone 4, I have also learnt something even more valuable;

  1. Power of Focus.


I did a science experiment in school where the teacher gave us a matchstick and a magnifying glass. She took us to an open area under the scorching sun and told us to light up the match stick by focusing sunlight on it.

That thought me the power of focus. The sun, as hot and at scorching as it was, heating up everything but it was not enough to ignite the match. When its rays are focused, the matchstick gets ignited in no time at all.

I set aside a full 3 hours to complete that iPhone-repair project but completed it in 2 hours. I took a short break in between but did not leave the task unattended for more than 5 minutes.

If I chose to stop and continue the next day, I think I might lose a few tools or even a few screws. I might need some time to recall what I have done and try to continue where I left off. Overall I may need more time to complete the same project.

Successful people did not get what they want by working on their goals on and off. They did it by focusing time and effort and consistently working on their goals.

  1. Listen to Advice but Don’t Forget To Do Your Own Thinking.


The repairman told me that the phone is beyond repair, I asked him a few questions. From his answers, I can determine a few things such as;

a. if he is experienced or knowledgeable enough about this matter?

b. Has he done enough testing to determine its probable root cause?

I concluded that the repairman was more of a screen changing specialist rather than an iPhone mechanic. My impression was that anything beyond screen changing, he would not able to do anything. I left his shop with the confident that the screen is not damaged, for sure.

I used the information he gave, verified it, accepted what I needed and made a decision.

I just want to emphasize the importance of listening to advice and doing your own thinking. Some people don’t listen to advice while some others don’t do their own thinking.

Why is this important? Because at the end of the day, you are responsible and accountable for the decisions you make. Doing one thing without the other will lead to the blame game that no one really wins but everybody loses.

And whoever starts the blame game will be the biggest loser of all. Blaming does nothing but lays the eggs of negativity.

  1. Don’t Let The Lack Of Resource Stop You.


One of the mistakes I made in the past was allowing the lack of resources stop me or slow me down from starting something like a new business or project. If I could go back in time, I will beat the crap out of my old self for making such excuses but then again, everything happens for a reason.

If you are familiar with iPhones, you will know that it will require very different tools from those already on the market. Even the smallest screwdriver from the hardware store is too big to remove the first 2 screws of an iPhone 4!

Ok, so i do not have the tools, the knowledge and the experience.

But what I had was the determination to see this through and I had nothing to lose.

What I lack of in knowledge and experience, I searched for videos from YouTube that has the answers.

What I lack of in tools, I improvise by using nails of various sizes. My fingers hurt but it works.

Resources are important but resourcefulness are much more important. Singapore is a country that is without natural resources. But the resourcefulness of the pioneer generations, with God’s Grace, made this island what it is today.


To sum it up, I believe the successful completion of any task or projects across any business or industry will require the above 3 attitudes or behavior. And they are important ingredients in having a  positive work place/team and part of being proactive contributor.

As for me, 3 very important life lessons and 2 working iPhones at the end of this project are a great blessing indeed.






  1. // Reply

    you could just buy an iphone 6 that is just 700-900bucks. not that expensive why scrimp and save so much when you are earning so well as a trainer educator.

    you could also buy other cheaper options from android platforms, that is as good as the iphone 7 plus or even better. at around 500 to 600..

    1. // Reply

      Hello Ivy,
      Thank you your comment.

      Yes, I could have just purchased a new one but I chose not to do that yet. I planned to to that only after the attempt to fix failed.
      I don’t think I was scrimping, like you mentioned. I just traded 2-3 hours of my time and the payoff is two working iPhone 4 and a list of lessons.
      Moreover, this ‘process’ adds some variety to my daily routine and I really enjoyed myself. 🙂

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