iPhone 6 GPS antenna repair went horrible, but ended up perfect
The GPS on my phone hadn't stopped working, but it was very very spotty. I looked into it a bit online and found that a lot of people had fixed the issue by replacing the flex cable antenna. I have done quite a bit of internal repair on my macbook pro in the past, so I thought I would give it a go.
The repair went perfectly according to plan until I turned the phone back on after the repair was done. The repair guide was very straight forward and replaced the part without any much hassle.
However when I was done and the phone was closed back up, I went to turn it on I got the death lines. Upon start up the apple logo appeared, but there was white lines running vertically and horizontally through the entire screen. Not a good sign.
When it made it to the home screen, I could faintly see everything through all the lines and because my phone is connected to my Garmin watch a bunch of text and email notifications started coming through, so I knew the phone was in working condition. That was a good sign. I pressed the home button and the passcode screen appeared and I went to type in my code, but nothing happened. The touchscreen was completely unresponsive. Terrible sign.
I did some research online and figured out that it must something wrong with the LCD digitizer's connection to the logic board. I went back in and tried to reattach everything and started it up again. Same thing. I repeated this about 8 times. Same thing every single time.
I was super bummed out because the GPS was spotty, but it is hardly the main thing I use my phone for and I thought I had just bricked my phone trying to fix it solely because it annoyed me that it didn't work how it was supposed to. The only solace I did find was that one of the original flex cables connectors had detached from the ribbon so it was no longer connected to the logic board which meant I was at least right about what was wrong and what part would fix it. However being right about what was wrong didn't change the fact that I messed something else up so badly in the process of fixing it that my phone was now useless.
Luckily I had an old iphone 5 laying around that I was able to use while I sorted out the problem.
I kind of gave up on it for a day or two and then decided to bring it into the Apple store to see if they could fix just the screen. It came up in conversation that I had replaced the GPS antenna and instantly the girl helping me gave me a look of disgust and said they wouldn't touch my phone with a ten foot pole after that so I was $h%t out of luck.
I went home that day and thought to myself "just open it up one last time and try to fix this yourself."
I thoroughly examined the LCD digitizer on the screen and realized that the connector on the screen side had bent ever so slightly and the entire piece hadn't been getting fully locked into its receiver. At this point my phone was as good as a paper weight so I took my chances and bent it back into shape. I almost bent it past flat the other way to make sure the whole thing would connect when I pushed it back down from the middle. I also used a flashlight and leaned in extremely close to the phone to make sure it was lined up perfectly with its connector on the logic board before I pushed it down. When I did this, I heard a solid "click" that I hadn't heard when reconnecting that connector up until this point.
I put the rest of the phone back together, took a deep breath and hit the power button.
The Apple logo appeared straight away and the lines were gone! There was hope!
The phone booted up and my phone was back from the dead. Everything worked exactly how it usually would INCLUDING the GPS.
I can't tell you how satisfying it was to see it all working again. Especially after so many attempts to fix it, days of it not working, and lastly being treated like a leper at the Apple store. The most satisfying part was that I had done the research and not only been able to properly identify the source of my problems, but also was able to execute the solutions myself.
I definitely learned a few things in this process.
Firstly is if you are going to take apart an iPhone look through the instructions first and notice that they tell you the length and placement of every screw. Before you start taking it apart get a separate container for each size screw(i think there might be 5 or 6 different sizes and they are all so small and so close in size its very hard to tell some of them apart.) This way when you go to put it back together and the instructions say you need a 1.6mm screw you can just grab one out of that container and know its the right size for that spot. It is extremely important that they all go back in the right spots. You can damage the logic board beyond repair if you put the wrong screw in the wrong place and this system will definitely help get it right the first time.
Secondly take your time. Read each step of the instructions very carefully and just do exactly as it says. When putting everything back together be meticulous with every screw and connector. If you found the right solution for the problem you were having and you follow their instructions exactly, you should be on you way back to a fully functional phone in no time!
My only suggestion would be to bring your phone into apple first to see what they would charge you for the repair and weigh that against the price of the parts and the fact that if you try to fix it first and you are unsuccessful, then they will not be able to help you.
Other than that I would just say if you're out of warranty and your phone is broken then you have nothing left to lose. You might as well buy the parts for a fraction of the price of a new phone and give fixing yours a go. If it all works out, its hard to beat the feeling of giving your device a second life with your own two hands.