Repair Tip of the Week – iPhone Touch ID & Home Button Flex Repair

In recent years, new improvements in phone technology have been the source of new hurdles for repair technicians.  One of the most recent would be in relation to Apple’s Touch ID.  The Touch ID is a biometric fingerprint recognition technology.  In order for a technology of this sort to communicate to a device, it must connect directly to logic board.  In 2013, the iPhone 5S was the first generation to include this Touch ID within its home button.  While this placed the latest and greatest in fingerprint authentication to the consumer, it brought a few new potential problems as well. 

iPhone 5s Home Button Removal

           

During repairs of the iPhone 5S, the Touch ID flex cable is attached to a connector located directly under the home button itself.  This meant that when initially lifting the broken screen out from the frame, lots of care had to be taken to ensure the technician didn’t tear that flex cable.  After successfully disconnecting this cable, the last step involving the home button will be to get it transferred to the new device. This wasn’t too terrible to overcome, and with a little bit of experience technicians learned the new technique. 

iPhone 6 Home Button Removal

Then came the iPhone 6 (and 6 Plus); larger screen, thinner body, and the second generation iPhone with the Touch ID technology.  Quickly after opening up an iPhone 6, a difference would be noticeable.  The home button flex of the iPhone 6 had been modified; no longer leaving it to be attached to the logic board below the home button.  This removed the risk of tearing the flex while prying the screen from the frame.  Still, when transferring the home button and home button flex from the digitizer assembly, there is a risk of damage.  The adhesive between the flex and assembly is fairly strong.  Carefully sticking a pry tool (plastic or nylon recommended) between the two is the best bet.

On the iPhone 5S, 6 and 6 Plus phone models, the home button flexes have been tied to the logic board.  These unique home button flexes have a parent logic board that allows for the Touch ID to have functionality.  If the home button flex is damaged while performing a repair, unfortunately, simply replacing the home button flex will not return it to it’s original capabilities; leaving the Touch ID inoperable.  The only solution to fix this problem is to purchase a new logic board with it’s paired home button.  With the proper attention and care, we can surely avoid this outcome the majority of the time!

Note: Replacing the home button flex (without the paired logic board) will return all of the basic home button functions to the phone.  If the particular user does not feel as though the Touch ID is necessary, this can serve as the solution.

-By Matt Haywood, General Manager

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