The digitizer is the touch screen of your iPad. It’s a fragile component that’s easily damaged. Cracked or damaged digitizers are a common problem – ten percent of all iPad users damage their digitizers within the first year of purchase! Many times the digitizer becomes cracked or broken the LCD screen beneath is still working fine. If that’s the case, you don’t need a new iPad – you just need to repair the digitizer.
If you’re experiencing this problem you have three options: return your iPad to Apple, send it out to an authorized touch screen repair shop, or you can repair the digitizer yourself.
If you decide to go with the third option, there are several companies that offer OEM digitizer screens you can install yourself. The iPad digitizer repair process is fairly easy and requires only a minimum of tools.
Often times the companies that sell iPad digitizers will also offer a kit that includes tools especially designed for removing the digitizer. Or, you can use your own tools. Basically all you’ll need is a small Phillips screwdriver, a wedge tool like a spudger to pry the two sections of the iPad apart, a sharp blade, putty knife to cut through the adhesive layer that holds the iPad together and some adhesive strips to reattach the two sections after you’ve installed the new digitizer.
Now that you’ve received your new iPad digitizer and assembled the necessary tools, you’re ready to proceed. The first thing to do is turn off your iPad and remove the battery.
Next comes the most difficult part: separating the digitizer from the rest of the iPad. The front and back panels of your iPad are held together by a special adhesive material. Be patient and take your time – the adhesive is designed to stick and will take some effort to remove. (A heat gun or hot air dryer can be applied to soften this adhesive, but it isn’t required.)
Starting at the bottom right corner of the iPad, insert your blade or pry tool into the seam where the back and front sections meet and then, working from right to left, carefully slice through the adhesive layer. Always remember to cut away from you.
Once you’ve separated the right edge of the front panel from the iPad, carefully disconnect the WiFi antenna. After the WiFi antenna has been disconnected you can resume cutting through the adhesive layer until the two sections are separated, taking extra care to ensure you don’t damage the unit’s volume and power controls.
After you’ve finished cutting through the adhesive layer, carefully swing the digitizer off to the side so you can remove the LCD screen. Make sure you don’t damage the flex ribbon cable that connects the digitizer to the iPad. This is the video connector and is crucial to the operation of a touch screen. It will have to be disconnected before you can attach the new digitizer, but you’ll have to first remove the LCD screen to do so.
Using your Phillips screwdriver, remove the screws that keep the LCD screen in place. Using your pry tool, delicately lift bracket securing the video connector and disconnect the cable. Now you’re ready to remove the LCD screen.
Lift the LCD screen out and place it to the side. Now, using the same pry tool, carefully open the latches that hold the video connector cable in place. With the latches open, you can disconnect the video cable and completely remove the old digitizer. Dispose of it in a safe and environmentally friendly way.
Now you’re ready to install the new iPad digitizer. Basically all you have to do is follow the previous steps in reverse except instead of removing the adhesive material, you’ll be reapplying it.
Before you reseal the front and rear sections of your iPad, make sure you’ve removed all the old adhesive material. Cut the new adhesive strips to the appropriate size and place the strips along the entire adhesive perimeter of the iPad, using a screwdriver to make sure the strips are in the proper position. Inspect the inside of the iPad to make sure there isn’t any dust or other contaminants present. The last thing you want to do is to have to open your iPad again because you have to clean it.
Even more important is to make sure that the two sections are in proper alignment. Sometimes there is difficulty getting the home button assembly and camera correctly aligned with the front panel. Again, take your time.
Now that everything is where it should be, you can finally reseal your iPad. Set the screen face down on a flat surface and place a weight (not too heavy, of course) on the back section of the iPad and let the adhesive set for 24 hours.
After that your iPad should be as good as new! If you encounter any difficulties, contact the company you purchased the digitizer from. Often times they can help you troubleshoot any problems that you might encounter.
Installing a new iPad digitizer is an easy project that almost anyone can tackle successfully. All it takes is a little patience and some simple tools.