Unfortunately, opening up your Apple Watch may damage the Force Touch Sensor, which also serves as a gasketing seal. The sensor is made up of two layers, glued together. These layers may separate when you open your watch, compromising its seal after reassembly. If this happens, you'll need to repair or replace the sensor before reassembling your watch.

Be sure to follow our Apple Watch Adhesive Replacement guide when you're done.

  1. We recommend that you clean your microwave before proceeding, as any nasty gunk on the bottom may end up stuck to the iOpener.
    • We recommend that you clean your microwave before proceeding, as any nasty gunk on the bottom may end up stuck to the iOpener.

    • Place the iOpener in the center of the microwave.

      • For carousel microwaves: Make sure the plate spins freely. If your iOpener gets stuck, it may overheat and burn.

  2. Heat the iOpener for thirty seconds.
    • Heat the iOpener for thirty seconds.

    • Throughout the repair procedure, as the iOpener cools, reheat it in the microwave for an additional thirty seconds at a time.

    • Be careful not to overheat the iOpener during the repair. Overheating may cause the iOpener to burst.

    • Never touch the iOpener if it appears swollen.

    • If the iOpener is still too hot in the middle to touch, continue using it while waiting for it to cool down some more before reheating. A properly heated iOpener should stay warm for up to 10 minutes.

    • Remove the iOpener from the microwave, holding it by one of the two flat ends to avoid the hot center.

    • The iOpener will be very hot, so be careful when handling it. Use an oven mitt if necessary.

    • Place the heated iOpener on the face of the watch.

    • Leave the iOpener on the watch for at least a minute to heat the screen and soften the adhesive holding it to the case.

    • You may need to reheat the iOpener, or move it around on the screen as sections cool, to heat the screen enough to pry it off.

    • Because the gap between the screen and watch body is so thin, a sharp blade is required to separate the two. Read the following warnings carefully before proceeding.

    • Always keep your fingers completely clear of the knife.

    • Be careful not to apply too much pressure, as this might cause the knife to slip and cut you, or damage the watch.

    • Wear eye protection. The knife or glass may break, sending pieces flying.

    • Using a curved blade minimizes the chance of scratching the case or cracking the glass. Only pry with the curved section of the blade, and not the tip or flat section.

    • Place the curved section of the blade in the gap between the glass and case on the lower edge of the watch face, and press firmly down into the gap.

    • Be very careful to maintain complete control over the knife—once the gap opens, if you're pressing too hard on the knife it may slip in and cut the battery.

    • This should wedge the gap open and cause the glass to lift slightly up from the case.

    • When the glass has lifted, gently rotate the knife down, opening the gap more by pushing the glass up.

    • Once you've opened the gap enough, insert the tip of an opening pick under the glass.

    • Slide the pick along the bottom edge to separate adhesive holding the screen to the case.

    • Be careful not to insert the opening pick too far. Only about 1/8" ( about 3 mm) is necessary, any deeper and you may damage cables.

    • Roll the opening pick up the side of the button side of the watch, gently pushing in to separate the adhesive and widening the gap as you go.

    • Remember not to push the pick in too far—it's easier to avoid this by rolling the pick, rather than dragging a tip along.

    • Work the pick around the top right corner, and roll it along the top edge of the screen.

    • Continue working the pick around the perimeter of the screen, rolling down along the left side to cut the last of the adhesive.

    • Leave the pick in place to keep the adhesive from resealing the screen in place.

    • While holding the first pick in place, use a second to check that all of the adhesive is separated around the entire perimeter of the screen.

    • There are two cables connecting the screen to the inside of the watch, near the top left corner. Be careful when prying or you may damage these cables.

    • Pry slightly up on the right side of the screen, to free it from any remaining adhesive.

    • Pry up on the left to free it as well—but do not attempt to remove the screen as it is still held in place by two cables.

    • If you can see the top layer of your Force Touch sensor among the display adhesive, it means the two layers of the sensor separated and you're going to need to replace or repair it.

    • The top layer of the sensor may be adhered to the back of the screen—push it down to separate it, and switch to our Force Touch Sensor guide from this point on.

    • Lift the screen up and shift it to the left, minding the display data and digitizer cables.

    • Place the watch on an elevated surface, at least 1/2" or 1 cm tall—a small box or the edge of a book will work great. This will allow the screen to hang down vertically and give better access to the battery.

    • Be careful not to bump the screen or strain the cables while you work.

    • Wedge a plastic opening tool between the right side of the battery and the case.

    • Pry the battery up to separate it from the adhesive securing it to the system board.

    • Do not attempt to remove the battery as it is still connected.

    • Rotate the battery counterclockwise to expose its connector.

    • Hold the battery up and out of the way, to expose the battery cable connector.

    • Use a plastic opening tool, prying against the bottom of the case to separate the battery cable connector from the watch's battery cable.

    • Remove the battery from the watch.

    • Fold the screen up and over to the right, to expose the cables underneath.

    • The display and digitizer cable connectors are secured beneath a small metal bracket that is adhered to the speaker.

    • Use a plastic opening tool to flip the bracket toward the display and up from the speaker.

    • If you simply pry toward the watch band you may tear the cables.

    • The bracket that contains the display and digitizer cable connections is made up of an upper and lower piece. The connectors are secured to the lower, and the upper must be removed to disconnect them.

    • Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the lower half of the bracket.

    • There is a small metal tab that protrudes downward from the upper metal bracket.

    • Insert a small (1 mm) flathead screwdriver between the tab and the lower bracket, and rotate the screwdriver to spread the gap.

    • This will release two tabs that hold the upper bracket to the lower, and should free the upper bracket.

    • The upper half of the display connector bracket is held at the upper end by a metal tab that fits into a slot in the lower bracket.

    • Grab the upper bracket with your tweezers and slide it toward the top of the watch to disengage this tab and free the bracket.

    • Disconnect the display data and digitizer cables.

    • Be careful not to touch any of the contacts directly, as your finger oils may impede connectivity.

    • Remove the display.

    • Remove the single triwing screw securing the Force Touch sensor connector cable.

    • Tri-point Y000 Screwdriver Bit

    • This screw is very small and strips easily, take care to operate at a proper angle and push as you turn.

    • Use a plastic opening tool to flip the Force Touch sensor cable connector straight down, disconnecting it.

    • Microwave your iOpener for another 30 seconds, and apply it to the front of the watch case to soften the adhesive securing the Force Touch sensor.

    • Use a plastic opening pick and tweezers to remove the Force Touch sensor from the case.

    • Use tweezers to peel up any adhesive left behind on the lower case. Also remove any adhesive that stuck to the Force Touch sensor.

    • You may want to use an alcohol-soaked q-tip to clean any residue off the case. Be sure to let it dry before proceeding.

    • Use tweezers to peel the outer ring off of one of the adhesive strip pads.

    • Be sure to get both the double-sided adhesive and the brown backing paper.

    • Be very careful not to fold, bend, or stretch the adhesive tape, as this will make it too thick to seal the screen without a ridge between the screen and the case.

    • Lay the backed adhesive tape down on the case, around the edge where the screen rests.

    • Start in a corner with the tape as close to the corner wall as possible.

    • Press on the brown backing paper with a plastic opening tool to secure the adhesive around the entire perimeter.

    • The following steps detail repairing a Force Touch sensor with separated layers. If you're replacing your Force Touch sensor with a new part, ignore these steps.

    • The remaining adhesive sticker backing makes a great work surface.

    • Open the gap between the two layers, but do not peel apart any more of the original adhesive.

    • Apply super-glue to the lower half of the sensor and press the upper half down into the glue. Press hard to squeeze out any excess glue and make the sensor as thin as possible.

    • Before the sensor gets glued to the paper, lift it up and let it complete its drying in the air.

    • You will likely have a few small extrusions of glue—once they've dried, you can break these off with tweezers.

    • Peel the backing off of the adhesive you applied earlier.

    • Set the Force Touch sensor on top of the adhesive, back in the case. Be sure to properly orient it, with the connector in the lower left corner, facing up.

    • Use a plastic opening tool to press it against the adhesive and make a tight seal.

    • Use tweezers to fold the Force Touch sensor cable connector back up onto its socket.

    • Then use a plastic opening tool to press the cable connector into the socket.

    • Replace the triwing screw securing the Force Touch sensor connector cable.


To continue reassembling your device, follow our Apple Watch Adhesive Replacement guide.

Tobias Isakeit

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