Do-It-Yourself iPhone Refurb

by Ryan Yates on September 14, 2012

I had so much fun tinkering with my iPhone.

One thing that my wife and I have learned rather quickly while living in Eleuthera for the past two months is that things don’t stay new for long.

And with the high cost of shipping, freight, duty, and import taxes, (making everything 2-5 times the cost back in the US) the joke of “we just can’t have nice things” is quickly becoming a reality.

So, in the middle of nowhere with few resources and even fewer experts, the best person to rely on is yourself.

When the roof needs new shingles, we get a ladder. When the car starts to sputter, we pop the hood. When the water cistern pump goes out, we break out the tools.

And when my (donated) iPhone needs a new battery, a new earpiece speaker, and a new sim card holder, it’s time to pop open the magic Apple device myself, void the warranty, and become an expert in iPhone Refurbishing.

Money is Tight

When we decided to be missionaries, my wife and I new that our financial outlook would drastically change. Spending habits would be the first thing to look completely different.

When you’re raising your own financial support, when you’re budgeting for life’s basic necessities, and when electricity and internet are considered luxuries, you know that you’re not going to be standing in line for the new iPhone 5.

(Hey,did you hear the iPhone 6 is already in production in China?)

So when my iPhone 3gs starts to show major signs of wear, I decided to spend a few bucks on some spare parts instead of a few hundred.

Rising from the Ashes

I had to jailbreak and unblock my iPhone to get it to work on the network. I have to say, it was pretty fun experience.

Once the new sim card was inserted and the phone had a full charge, I powered it on. Yowzah, it worked! But with a few slight issues.

Only one of the bottom speakers worked, the sim card holder was loose to the point where the phone couldn’t always recognize that a card was inserted, the headset speaker needed to be cleaned or replaced, and the battery drained after about 35 minutes of use.

Needless to say, there was potential, but there was work needed to be done as well.

Voiding the Warranty

The issue I have always had with Apple is that they don’t like customers working on their products. Yet, I’m the type of person who likes fixing my own stuff . . . myself.

Sure enough, when you take out the two bottom screws and remove the glass screen of your iPhone, you see the big sticker telling you that any further disassembly results in voiding your warranty.

Luckily, I don’t care.

The Supplies

Surprisingly, the extra parts needed to complete my own personal iPhone Refurbishing project were relatively inexpensive.

$14 for the toolkit (which makes it much easier removing the glass and keeping up with all of the screws), $10 for a new headset speaker, $8 for new bottom speakers, and $4 for a new sin card holder.

There are literally dozens of websites offering all sorts of iPhone parts for dirt cheap. All in all, I was happy to spend $36 to have the chance at giving my phone new life.

The Completed Project

I’m happy to announce that I’m a proud papa of a newly refurbished iPhone 3gs. Everything works great! And when compared to spending $500 – $700 to purchase a new iPhone out of contract, it’s well worth the effort.

Sure, it may not be the newest piece of technology available, but it works, it kept me from going into debt, and it does everything that I need it to do to help me stay connected.

I’m thankful for being a missionary in Eleuthera for many reasons. But, as far as personal finance is concerned, I’m thankful that living here has helped me to redefine my wants and my needs.

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