A phone’s life In my hands

– verb
To strip a smartphone of all its useful features. To make it as useful as –

I performed my first open case surgery on the iPhone to replace its failing battery last weekend.

Pop quiz:

Do you spend $15 to do it yourself or give $80+ to Apple, plus suffer through a week without your phone while it ships back and forth to God knows where?

What do you do?


I’m not trying to sound arrogant. In fact, think I have a pretty solid track record of modesty.

But in this case I do have skills.

See that? That’s me being optimistic. Damn, you never have a camera when you need it. Skills or not though, I do have the right tools.

I had my grounding strap to avoid frying the whole thing with a small static charge, a suction cup to pull off the glass touch screen, a magnifying glass to help see/disconnect really small ribbon cables, and my trusty small tools kit to get at a few small screws to pull the motherboard. I got that stuff out of the way and suddenly the battery was right there, waiting to be plucked from the bottom of the case like a sleeping baby in a basket.

It only took two hours – and the removal of almost every component in the phone.

It was touch and go for a while. There was a “Do Not Remove” sticker I had to peel back to get at one of the screws holding down the motherboard. It didn’t want to peel back. Considering the unambiguous language, I figured it was best not to shred it. It took a good ten minutes by itself, but I’m happy to report the sticker survived.

If you thought my favorite part of this exercise was putting the last piece back in place, you’re way off the mark. The closer I got to finishing, the more nervous I got. You see, that’s when you find out if you screwed something up – if you broke it.

I was anticipating three possible outcomes when I turned it on.

One: I’d have an iPhone with a new battery.

Two: I’d have an iPod touch with a new battery.

Three: I’d have a light, pleasing to the eye, plastic and glass desk ornament – with a new battery.

Despite what you might think, with the iPhone 4 just around the corner (and being eligible for upgrade pricing), I was not rooting for two or three. No matter the cost, replacement money won’t be seen in the Kauffman coffers for a while.

Which really begs the question: why the hell did I go off and pull apart my iPhone by myself, instead of putting up the extra money for a trained technician to do it? With money tight, I must be a crazy person, right?

I’ve never taken one apart.

Which really begs the question: do you really know me at all?

Oh, yeah. The phone works. Was there ever really any doubt?

Go ahead, answer that. I dare yah.

Or not. No pressure.