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How do I replace the battery in the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S?
Like all previous iPhone models, the battery in the iPhone 4 models -- the iPhone 4 (GSM) and iPhone 4 (CDMA) -- as well as the iPhone 4S models -- the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4S (China Unicom) -- are not intended to be replaced by an end-user.
When the battery reaches the end of its useful life, Apple intends for one to return the entire mobile to the company to have the battery replaced for a cost of US$79 plus US$6.95 shipping (and applicable sales tax). Apple reports that this service takes three to five business days.
However, more affordable -- and often substantially quicker -- third-party services also are available.
For those with modest technical skills, patience, and a steady hand, battery self-replacement is possible, although professional installation is strongly recommended.
The iPhone 4 (GSM) -- originally intended for use on AT&T in the US -- and the subsequently released iPhone 4 (CDMA) -- originally intended for use on Verizon or Sprint in the US -- are model numbers A1332 and A1349, respectively. The standard iPhone 4S is model number A1387 whereas the iPhone 4S (China Unicom) is A1431.
The iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S models also can be differentiated by the Serial Number with EveryiPhone.com's Ultimate iLookup and the EveryMac app -- available for iOS 5 or later and Android. The serial number is not externally listed, but it is available when plugged into a computer on the "Summary" tab in iTunes, within the iOS (Settings > General > About), and in the Micro SIM card tray.
In addition to its serial number, EveryiPhone.com's Ultimate iLookup feature and the EveryMac app can identify iPhone models by EMC Number and Order Number (referred to as "Model" from within the iOS), as well.
Although the process to replace the battery in the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S is quite similar (but not identical), the batteries themselves are different.
Consequently, if you have decided to replace the battery yourself, be sure to purchase a battery for your specific iPhone. In addition, make certain that you purchase your battery from a company with a reputation for selling quality parts. A low quality battery may not hold a charge for as long as a quality one, but it also may leak or even cause a fire.
The battery in the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S models is attached with adhesive like earlier iPhone models. However, unlike the original iPhone the battery is not soldered and unlike the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS it does not involve delicately disconnecting the display (or removing the logic board, thankfully).
It is a bit of a nightmare to replace the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S displays, but replacing the battery in the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S is much simpler than earlier models.
Based on hands-on experience and the video below, the procedure effectively is:
Watch the video below for a demonstration and refer to the potential problems, too.
This video from iCracked shows the battery replacement process for both of the iPhone 4 models as well as the iPhone 4S in the hands of a skilled technician:
Based on hands-on experience, reports from readers, and Internet comments, these are the difficulties that are most likely to be encountered:
From reviewing the step-by-step instructions, watching the video, and reading the potential problems, you should be able to determine whether or not you feel comfortable replacing the battery yourself or if you would instead prefer to hire a professional. Hiring a professional not only prevents potential problems, but saves a great deal of time as well.
Be sure to purchase your repair service or parts from a trusted company with extensive experience repairing iPhone devices.
Site sponsor Mission Repair offers free iPhone hardware diagnosis and a professional 24 hour iPhone battery replacement service by mail in the US as well as inexpensive "do it yourself" iPhone battery replacement kits shipped worldwide.