Replacing my iPad Screen

This tale is frightful. And it’s a bit spiteful. But the ending is not so bad. Here goes…

I accidentally tipped my briefcase and all fall out on the ground, including my iPad 3. The fall on the corner hit one of the few places it’s not protected by the case (which I have since replaced with one I preferred on my first iPad from I could have sent it off to a company that specializes in this for $179. I probably should have. But, I decided to try to do it myself. I, after all, have decades of experience tearing apart laptops. Plus, I had Youtube to help me with the dissection and replacement.

Ok, so I received the replacement screen from a source on e-bay that said it was the original OEM glass version. It was less than $70. But should glass flex? This one did! And, as it turned out, the tool kit was useless as not even the screw driver fit the 4 screws I had to remove. Plus I had to add $25 for a heat gun.

I followed the video I found. As my daughter says, “Youtube has everything on it!” It’s where she learns how to do her boondoggle. But, that’s another story.

I used the heatgun to heat up the edges to loosen the glass. It didn’t help much. I ended up cracking the glass all around the edges and then scraping the fine pieces of glass still glued (looks like tar) to the case. Whew! What a mess! The pry bar in the kit was useless. Then I remembered I have a watch battery replacement kit (I own a lot of watches). It had the tools I needed including the pry bar.

I probably should have done something about the dent where the aluminum was torn. I didn’t. That’s ok. Cosmetic.

It’s amazing how many areas inside are empty. The iPad is mostly battery and screen inside. The new “glass” screen went back on with double sided tape. Seems cheap, but industry standard on replacements like this. But, before I did this, I made sure the iPad still worked. It didn’t. It wouldn’t turn on. I monkeyed around with the connectors. It turns out that a better youtube video showed how they snap open. After a few attempts, it all worked. I fastened the new screen over the LCD.

There isn’t any dust in between as I did dust it, but there seems to be a thin film of oil in the center. Difficult to see straight on, so I’ll live with it. But, after 2.5 hours and the results considered and the quality of materials received, I’d recommend sending it to a company that specializes in this. They would have also buffed out the dent in the aluminum. And they probably would have used real glass.



  1. Nelson Beaman

    I offered to help, but NOOOOoooooo. We had the exact same experience with our first replacement at work. You need to heat up the glass very slowly while slowly wedging shims in every four inches (painstakingly slow), but the glass will not shatter. The iPad I have was the third one I did – no problems with it after a year. The good news is it gets easier.

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  3. What do you mean by skin? If you damage the outer aluminum shell, you can’t do much other than try to sand down the rough edges without getting tiny pieces of metal inside or doing any more damage. If you’re referring to the glass screen, in this blog, that’s what I replaced. Just the glass. Not the actual LCD screen. However, even just the glass is a bit tricky because it’s “glued” on and it contains the digitizer – which sense your finger movement and pressure.

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