No doubt, we all (especially if you’re reading this site) love our tech. That may be in what we work with in our day jobs, in the gadgets we fiddle with after work, and especially in the phones we carry with us all day. Batteries are the Achilles Heel of many, especially now that we’re far removed from the days of easily-removed-and-swapped batteries. THat’s where the fine folks at iFixit come into the picture – they’ll show you how to fix just about anything on your phone, and have kits to help you do it. A little while back, I used their kit to replace the battery in my iPhone 6S, and want to tell you about that experience.
Now, I know, a tech writer carrying a phone that’s how many generations old? Frankly, the phone works, it’s snappy, and it gets the job done I need it to do, so I’m not chasing upgrades (but of course, we’ll see if we can’t work in some reviews of newer stuff for you, dear reader). The battery life on my slice of apple was definitely something not to be desired, as I was charging it overnight and then at least once per day. So, it was time to replace the battery, for sure. Ordering up the kit was easy enough, and iFixit is very clear on what restrictions they have around shipping the lithium ion battery, so you’re not caught by surprise when it goes a slower route.
Once it arrived from iFixit, I opened up the compact box and was pleasantly surprised by how well organized the packaging was. All of the bits and bobs were in their respective places, and ready to be worked with. All that remained, then, was to actually do the work. I will admit to having more than a little trepidation. While I’ve done (simpler) work on my vehicles and more than a few home repairs, electronics repair – especially on a device so central to daily life – was something I had not attempted before.
That’s where the guides from iFixit come into play. Small sidebar – all of the photos here come from their repair guide(iPhone 6s Battery Replacement – iFixit Repair Guide), as I wasn’t even thinking about a review when I was doing the work. These guides take you through step by step, highlighting where the various parts are you’re needing to work on so it’s very clear. They also make clear that you’ll want to organize the components so you can tell what is what. In this case, I went super low-tech with reusable cupcake tin liners on a piece of paper where I wrote the size of the screw. Easy to keep track of, and no screws rolling off the table.
Getting the phone opened up was probably most stressful part, as you’re of course worried about cracking that screen. Patient application of heat (via my wife’s hairdryer) and the suction cup from the kit got things opened up, and then we were staring at the belly of the beast. Once that’s opened up (and you’ve got the screen secured, in my case with rubber bans to a beverage can) it’s a mechanical operation of removing screws, lifting parts and cables out of the way, until it’s time to get the adhesive strips out from under the battery. There are tabs, but I was, shall we say, not 100% successful in pulling them out in a single piece. Nevertheless, I persevered, the old battery came out, and then it was time to reverse the process and get everything back in (new battery with new adhesive strips, of course).
One thing I want to note is that iFixit does include a new adhesive “strip” for the screen assembly, but their notes do say that most probably won’t need it. I took the advice, and once I had things back together, found that things held together snugly. Then came the moment of truth – to plug it in and let the phone come back to life. Success! I also wanted to double check the screen and button functions, and call quality (since all those cables had been disconnected) and all was as it should be. A regular calibration cycle (charge to full and leave on charger to at least 2 more hours, then drain to empty, and charge back up) and we were in business. I’ve been using it ever since, and the phone has worked as it should.
So, that means for us budget-minded gadget folks, kits like this iPhone 6s battery one from iFixit breathe new life into our older gadgets. Frankly, I could reasonably expect to get another year or two of life out of the phone (so long as iOS stays snappy on it), and if not, well, I know how to replace the battery. And I’ve got all the tools now, and even replaced the “security” screws at the lightning connector with Phillips-head ones (also in the kit) so it’ll be simpler yet the next time I need to open the phone up. I know I’m a fan from my experience, and I think many of you would also enjoy the combination of affordable prices and step-by-step procedures they have on tap. For the $29 that my kit was (that’s for the battery and tools), and about an hour of my time, it was time well-spent. Now, let’s see what else iFixit can help me fix up… ifixit.com