Cracking open the Apple iPhone

Our Apple iPhone still works

After taking our last photo, it took me another 20 minutes to reassemble and power on the unit. Unfortunately, the iPhone presented me with the dreaded Apple "white screen of death"--commonly seen on dead iPods.

As I have a perfect record of cracking open gadgets and putting them back together in working order, I wasn't about to let the iPhone get the better of me. I had no confirmation, but I hoped that the error was caused by the main PCB having been separated from the battery. I tried various button combinations to "hard reset" the phone, but the problem persisted. I would press the Sleep/Wake button and the screen would power on but be completely white. I connected the iPhone to the USB power adapter and powered it one--white screen. I connected the iPhone to the laptop with iTunes. iTunes recognized the phone and could see the iPhone's memory, but the white screen continued to stare me in the face. We tried to update the phone's software through iTunes, but the process failed. I cycled the unit's power at least three dozen times. I disconnected and reconnected the internal ribbon cables. Nothing I did worked.

In a last-ditch effort, I searched the Web for the iPhone hard reset procedure. The instructions I located told me to hold down the Home button (large button on the iPhone's front cover) and the Sleep/Wake button for several seconds. The white screen should appear and then an Apple logo. I had tried this exact button combination several times, but I figured I would give it one last go.

I began holding the buttons. Immediately the dreaded white screen returned. I continued holding the buttons for another 5-10 seconds, and the white screen disappeared. This had happened before and I didn't have much faith the white screen wouldn't return. I held the buttons for another 5-10 seconds hoping the iPhone would return to the land of the living. And suddenly, the silver Apple logo appeared on the black screen. Within a few minutes our cracked-open iPhone was up and running again. w00t!


Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

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