The phone was in pretty poor condition with badly cracked LCD and touch digitiser. We bought replacement screen and got ready with replacement.
The phone disassembly start was just like other iphones since iphone5 – it had two pentalobe screws at the bottom of the phone. Now the other iphones are quite easy to open after removing these screws, exceptions apply only for iPhone 6S and iPhone 7. The inner frame is surrounded by thin layer of quite strong adhesive which holds the screen in place, Apple did not seem to rely on screen frame clips only like on previous models. We’ve been able to separate the screen and the phone, to find another surprise- new placement of the LCD flex cable. While the last 5 generations of iPhones had LCD connector on the top right side of the phone, iPhone 7 has connector that goes from bottom of the LCD, and plugs into the connector at the middle of the phone. As we are quite used to old construction, we would normally lift the bottom of the screen up, to reveal the covering plates, under which there are LCD flex cable connectors. But inside iPhone 7 things are different. Lifting bottom of the screen up too far may damage the flex cables. Instead, after separating LCD and phone body, the screen part flips to the right side of the phone. The slack of flex cables is just enough to put screen right next to the phone’s body, and unscrew the covering plate screws. There were another surprise. The screws that secures the covering plates and most of components inside the phone are not Philips screws as it was in previous iPhone models. Instead – They have used tri-way screws which we only saw in Macbook Pro’s, securing the battery. We weren’t expecting this, but luckily we had the screwdriver that fits.
Removing the plates and disconnecting the screen from the main body is fairly easy to do. Hard part was migrating components like front facing camera/proximity sensor/light sensor flex cable with earpiece/loudspeaker, and home button which is not a button anymore. The home button with covering plate is secured by four tri-way screws and it holds the home “button” and flex connectors in place. However, the home “button” pops out through the front of the phone. While disassembling the screen unit we found that “button” does not have any mechanical parts. Basically, it’s just a touch sensor with finger print scanner. The flex of this sensor/button is being held in place by soft adhesive so to remove it, you won’t need much of effort.
Now going for earpiece part. This is where we saw a big trouble. Previous model of this connector joining several sensors and earpiece connector – was on a single piece of flex cable. In iPhone 7 Plus there are two cable soldered in the middle.
One flat flex cable is meant only for front facing camera. The other part is meant for proximity, ambient light sensors, front microphone and earpiece connector. These two flat cables are soldered together and if you pull it slightly, it will separate them, requiring to buy new part (that actually happened to us).
Migrating all parts to a new screen is fairly straight forward job, the hardest part is to disassemble the phone. So good luck with your repair.
Thanks for reading!