Before we get started, I highly recommend NOT attempting this project in any way, shape, or form. Apple has made this repair impossible on purpose. I did find a few methods that work for removing the back glass on an iPhone 8 and an 8 Plus, but the risks involved are extraordinary and your phone might very well end up looking worse after the repair than it did before you started. Now that we have that out of the way, I am going to attempt this repair while leaving all the guts of the phone intact. So let’s get started. There are a few videos online of people using extreme heat to remove the broken glass on their iPhones.
The heat is so extreme, I figured it might be safer to move to the other end of the thermometer and see how cold we can get the adhesive before it gets brittle and loses its effectiveness so it will break off with the glass. Putting your phone in a conventional freezer for a few hours will not work since a standard freezer is about zero degrees Fahrenheit or negative 18 degrees Celsius And the epoxy holding the glass to the metal inside of the iPhone is still effective at that temperature.
If you are considering doing this yourself, first of all, you’re crazy, and second, make sure you watch this video all the way through. I explain a lot. My first attempt is with the refrigerant I got off of Amazon. It brings the temperature down to about negative 60 degrees Fahrenheit Tetrafluoroethane is the chemical used inside of this spray, and it can displace oxygen, meaning that if use it in an area that’s not well ventilated, you might suffocate and die. So try to avoid that part. The can was inexpensive and seems to be working for the most part. You can see the frost start to accumulate over top of the glass as the temperature drops. The lower the temperature, the less holding ability the adhesive has under the glass. Remember, right now we’re working at about negative 60 degrees Fahrenheit Safety glasses are pretty mandatory since glass is basically going everywhere, so that negative 60 is working, but it’s still taking longer than I would like.
After about 10 minutes I’ve only cleared 20% of the glass. Hit that subscribe button if you haven’t already and let’s take this repair to the next level with a safety liquid that’s much much colder. Liquid nitrogen is involved in our next attempt at removing the glass in the back of an iPhone, but don’t freak out because it’s actually not that hard to get a hold of. Luckily I’m pretty good friends with the King of Random over here, and he has a good supply.
But Grant, tell us where people can get liquid nitrogen on their own if they need some. If you guys want to get some liquid nitrogen, it’s actually super easy to get. It would be a lot closer than you think if you get on Google or Yellow Pages if anybody uses that anymore. Look for a welding and gas supply company. They’re probably going to have some. The only qualifier is you’re going to need some safe way to transport. So you’re going to need something like a Dewar, spelled D-E-W-A-R. A Dewar. It’s basically a glorified insulated thermos made for liquid nitrogen. So if you have one of those, no permits are required and it costs you about $5 per liter.
If you go in there with something like a thermos, you can pick up one of these for maybe $10 or $20. My first one was $5 at Walmart. Depending on the person you talk to, they may let you take some liquid nitrogen. There’s no guarantee this is going to work, but huge thanks to the King of Random for attempting this experiment with me. Let’s see what happens. Alright, so now the phone is able to sit inside of the liquid nitrogen and hopefully it gets to temperature. We want that back panel and the metal to be about the same. And I can hear the glass cracking.
Hopefully that’s the epoxy or the adhesive underneath the glass and the metal. Whoa. Alright, just getting it back to temperature again. Keep in mind that there is clear adhesive on the front of the phone holding the front glass to the LCD, which is also affected by liquid nitrogen. I’m making sure to only allow the back of the phone to dip into the liquid so the screen doesn’t get destroyed. As the liquid nitrogen evaporates into just regular nitrogen, it’s a dielectric gas, meaning it won’t affect the internals of the phone. The extreme cold, on the other hand, might. Liquid nitrogen is negative 321 degrees Fahrenheit So keeping the liquid off the internal circuits as much as possible is important. There are specific cryogenic machines that circulate liquid nitrogen under a metal plate made specifically for cell phone repair. So if you have a repair shop and are doing this on a regular basis, you might want to invest in one of those. It’s a little more controllable than the pure liquid. It took about 7 minutes to remove all the glass from the iPhone using this liquid nitrogen. Much quicker than the Tetrafluoroethane. The camera frame is welded to the metal frame of the iPhone and it might be possible to preserve this, but since my lens was already cracked from a previous drop test, I’ll just crush out the lens with my pliers.
Replacement lenses are pretty inexpensive on Amazon. I am removing the camera lens last because glass dust can get inside the optical image stabilization mechanism and cause the focus to stop working. Like I mentioned before, there is quite a bit that can go wrong during this operation. Luckily the phone still works and turns on. Thumbs up for that. The lithium battery does need to get back to room temperature before it will behave like normal. So we were successful in removing the back glass panel. What do you think about that? I think it looks crazy. You know, I almost feel like you should just take some epoxy and make see-through epoxy and just keep the phone that way cuz that’s a pretty intense look. I’m actually really surprised that it turned back on. I mean liquid nitrogen I wasn’t so worried about, I was just worried about the condition of this phone. Blown away that it’s working. So what do think…with the liquid nitrogen inside of the phone, are we more worried about the contacts like the solder points, or the battery being disrupted by the liquid nitrogen? What’s the weakest point inside with cold temperatures? I honestly think contraction is probably going to be the weakest point because liquid nitrogen itself isn’t going to damage anything.
It’s not going to affect chemically anything inside of the phone. All it’s going to do is contract. It’s going to freeze things to the point where they contact. So if there’s anything in here that’s breakable, like maybe solder points, if they get too cold, they could snap. But it wouldn’t be because of the chemical reaction at all. So I love playing with liquid nitrogen for that reason. It’s very non-toxic itself, so very noncorrosive. It doesn’t do any damage. It’s like using pure alcohol on this thing – once it’s gone, it’s gone. Well, if you have not seen it, Grant Thompson has been able to make liquid nitrogen in his basement. I will link that video here. Now let’s see what happens when we take it to the opposite end of the temperature spectrum and use heat to try to remove the back glass panel. This time I’ll be working on a cracked iPhone 8 Plus. Apple’s out of warranty repair for this piece of glass is currently an insane $399.
We’ve seen that Apple’s epoxy looses its effectiveness as the temperature drops past negative 100. Now let’s see what temperature the iPhone epoxy starts to liquefy at the other end of the temperature spectrum using heat. Once again, while iPhones might survive the extreme temperatures during the short repair, there is still plenty that can go wrong, so I don’t recommend doing any of this to your phone. It’s much safer just to put your phone in a case or slap a skin on it to hide the cracks, and just pretend you never dropped it.
And if you’re mad that iPhones aren’t repairable, vote with your wallet and get something else. One thing I did wrong with this phone is I pulled off the camera lens too early, exposing the fragile plastic sensors to heat and glass dust early on. If I ever do this again, the camera lens should come off last. I found this sweet spot to liquefy the adhesive around 350 degrees Fahrenheit – just hot enough to melt your fingers off and start your house on fire. When Steve Jobs and Apple were designing the first iPhone, they specifically sealed it shut because Steve Jobs didn’t want people fiddling around inside their phones, not even to change the battery. So this new, unrepairable glass design is right on par with what Steve would have wanted if he were still here. I learned a lot about Steve Jobs from his biography on Audible, which I’ll link down in the video description if you’re into that kind of thing. The guy might have been a bit crazy and not so nice to people who want to fix their expensive electronics, but his life story is very interesting.
Audible will let you download his book for free with a 30 day trial. Just go to Audible.com/jerryrig. Or text the word “jerryrig” to 500-500. Even if you cancel your trial, you get to keep the book, it’s a win-win. I normally listen while I’m at the gym or running outside during the summer months. If you remember, it took me about 7 minutes to clear the glass off the back of the iPhone 8 using liquid nitrogen, but as of now, it’s been about 25 minutes since I started using the heat gun. A common hair dryer, which I don’t own, would not be near hot enough for this project – you need a heat gun.
I do feel like the liquid nitrogen was a bit easier. It’s hard to keep the phone heated to that blistering 350 degrees it takes to liquefy the adhesive under that glass layer. As soon as the temperature drops below 300, the adhesive solidifies again. After getting all the glass off and letting the phone cool down to room temperature, I turned it on and everything is still working, lucky for us. You can see both phone here side by side. Now let’s get the replacement panels back on the phones. Fun fact: Apple does not sell replacement parts for their phones, to the general public anyway. So every glass piece you buy is an illegal copy. It’s not illegal to sell replacement parts for cellphones – just replacement parts with the Apple logo on them since that part’s trademark. I’ll still link some of them in the video description though. Apple does sue these counterfeit sellers into oblivion every now and then, so let me know if the link goes out of stock. Lucky for us, it’s kind of like whack-a-mole and another counterfeit seller usually takes their place pretty quickly.
I would rather buy replacement parts from Apple directly, but since they don’t allow that, here we are. I got rid of the white color on my panel and the Apple logo since clear phones are kind of what I do, and I can also add on the replacement camera lens at this point with some flexible clear B-7000 adhesive. Then I can re-adhere the whole thing down to the phone body with double sided tape. It’s obviously not water-resistant anymore, but that waterproofing was lost when the back was cracked either way. I think it looks sweet. You can’t see the electronics like inside of a Samsung or LG, but it’s unique. A lot of replacement backs will come with their own adhesive already installed. It just depends on which supplier you’re buying from. You can see how difficult it is to remove the camera lens with all the little welding points along these inner rings, but I was able to salvage this one off of the 8 Plus. Even if my camera unit did get melted into oblivion, the camera units are cheap, and I’ll replace that from the inside of the phone on a different day. It’s my fault for not leaving the camera lens in place longer for protection.
Not too shabby. A few scuffs along the aluminum side from the aggressive glass removal, but the back glass panel is now crack free. Would I ever do this again? Probably not. But at least now we know that the back glass panel on phones is replaceable with extreme heat or cold and plenty of blood, sweat, and tears. One of the questions you might have is does the wireless charging still work? And yes, it does work on both phones. Here in my truck we can see the yellow light come on when the wireless charger starts interacting with the phones. And the battery charging indicator pops up as well. If you remember from the beginning of this video, I have one more cracked iPhone 10, which might be fun to try with dry ice. It’s about half as cold as liquid nitrogen, but a little bit easier to obtain.
Thanks for making it this far in the video. I hope your phone has a long crack-free life. And don’t forget to check out Audible in the video description. Audible.com/jerryrig j-e-r-r-y-r-i-g all lowercase. You can always text the word j-e-r-r-y-r-i-g to 500-500 and get the same deal. Get a free book and it gives you something to do in your spare time. Thanks a ton for watching and I’ll see you around. .
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