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iPhone 4 Camera Lens Replacement

I recently replaced the lens on my iPhone 4. It was incredibly easy and had quite remarkable results. Here’s how and why:

Introduction

Picture of a water bottle taken with iPhone 4 with a scratched lensI found a problem with the iPhone 4: the camera lens can get scratched - very easily.

Take a look at this photo. Does it look clear and bright? It should do. It's taken in a bright room with my iPhone 4.

For a while now, my iPhone has not been taking very good quality pictures or videos and I put it down to me expecting too much... but I began to suspect that it was actually the phone, not me.

A quick search of the internet told me that this was a fairly common issue and could be easily and cheaply fixed with a new lens.

Easy and cheap? I've heard that before! I decided to give it a shot though with some very pleasing results IN LESS THAN FIVE MINUTES!

Let me show you....

Necessary Items

Okay, you may be thinking I'm insane for claiming that this install is easy, but trust me, you need just four things:

  1. Your iPhone
  2. The new lens cover
  3. Either a pentaoble or #00 crosshead screwdriver
  4. Something to pry the old lens out with (I used a sharp paring knife)

Oh, and a couple of spare minutes to do it.

You can Get the lens on Amazon for about $5.

Starting Off

There are just two screws to undo. They're on the bottom edge of the phone and will either have a standard phillips cross-head pattern on them or a 5-pointed star.

If the ones on your phone have the cross head then you need a #00 or #000 phillips screwdriver. I got mine for $5 from a hardware store.

If yours have the five pointed star, you'll need a pentaoble or T5 screwdriver. You can get them on Amazon or other places online.

First thing to do is unscrew and remove those two screws and push the back of the phone up and away from where you unscrewed them. It will slide up about half an inch.

Back of iphone 4, slid up for removal

Remove The Lens

The back will then just lift off, exposing the glorious interior of your little toy!

Image of the inside of an iPhone 4

You can ignore the main part of the phone (so you don't break anything) and just look at the inside of the back. You'll find the lens at the top right. It's glued in so use something to gently pry it out.

Close up of  inside back of iPhone 4 showing camera lens

 

Finishing Up

Once the old lens is out, simply drop the new one in place and put the back cover back on the phone and slide it into place.

The lens comes with a film cover over it which you can't see.... using your nail, scrape that off or your pictures will be worse than before!

Screw the screws back in place and you're done!!!

The end result for me was quite stunning... as you can see:

  Picture of a water bottle taken with iPhone 4 with a scratched lens  Picture of Water Bottle taken after iPhone 4 lens replacement

And that was that. It really is as easy as that.

Undo, two screws, slide the back off, pop the old lens out and drop the new one in, slide the back on and screw it up.

Done.

… and your camera will be as good as new!

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14 Responses to iPhone 4 Camera Lens Replacement

  1. Marcus wrote:

    Good to know. I’ve had the same issue with my 3GS. Great post! Thanks for the info!

  2. Bekah wrote:

    What did you use to get the other lens off. I have tried but I can’t get it off!

    • peterp wrote:

      I’m sure there’s some little tool for it but I used the tip of a paring knife.

      Just be careful to not damage the part under the lens

  3. Dave wrote:

    I used an exacto knife. Best angle was from the lower right corner pushing toward the middle. Just use firm but controlled pressure, so you don’t slip.
    However as mentioned a little of the paint on the cover comes off with the glue. It can show through unless the new lens covers it all. However a great fix for this problem. iPhone 4 verizon.

  4. Stephanie wrote:

    DO NOT USE A PARING KNIFE! You will scratch the black paint off the inside glass. You’ll be able to see that mistake I can assure you. You can’t just pry the lens out, assuming that when you say “pry” you’re talking about trying to get it out from the inside. There was a YouTube video I saw a while back about using some heat on the outside to get the glue loose enough to push the lens loose from the outside and still leave some on there.
    That’s what everyone should do, although the amount of glue left on the cover will vary. When I did my swap (a whole two minutes ago) there was almost no glue and I didnt bother to put any on because once closed the lens was nice and snug and didn’t move even the tiniest bit. I am also anticipating swapping the lens out later if/when this new lens gets scratches. So, back to the video I was talking about. They applied heat with a lighter (not directly touching but high enough above the flame to still heat it up) whereas I used steam from my tea kettle. It was over the steam for ~2 seconds and then I could push it in enough to peel it away from the case with tweezers.

    • peter wrote:

      “DO NOT USE A PARING KNIFE! You will scratch the black paint off the inside glass.”

      nothing a little sharpie cant fix. black marker cures the paint scratch.

      and yes heat from a lighter made all the difference and then a push thru with a tool on the old lens (already scratched right?) and pop goes the weasel.

  5. Pingback: jamiepang: Blog » Blog Archive » Replacing the iPhone Camera Lens Cover

  6. Christiann wrote:

    Thanks for posting this! Very helpful.

  7. Cassie wrote:

    Great how-to, just did mine in about 10 minutes. Thanks!

    My lens didn’t have a film cover, but that was the only difference between your instructions and my experience. I did end up having to pry the old one off with a straight razor and prying tool, since the adhesive was pretty well thick and gloppy. The new lens is secured into place with a small bit of tape, just to prevent slippage while I replaced the back since there was no sticky residue from the adhesive left to hold the lens.

  8. ian wrote:

    if i get a whole new back cover does it come with a lens

    • peterp wrote:

      I believe they do, from what I can see. I’ve never bought one though so I can’t verify that.

      I’d also be wary of getting back covers made by companies other than Apple because some have some very bad reviews.

  9. Bill wrote:

    I don’t know if anyone mentioned this – and I just found out the hard way myself, But keep the back plate flat on a surface while you pry… otherwise it’ll snap in half in your hands.

    • peterp wrote:

      I’m sorry that happened to you, Bill. I haven’t seen that happen before but it’s an excellent point to note!!

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