This post was most recently updated on May 11th, 2019
Introduction to mobile phones hardware problems
By the time you are done reading this post, you would be able to do two things at least. 1. learn about mobile phones hardware problems & fixing. 2. spend an insignificant amount on of money on repair. I am naturally the laid back type until I am being pushed to the wall. to be honest, I have had more than a handful of losses as a result of quack engineers damaging my phones. Severally, I have had to teach them what they need to do to my phone before they can fix it.
I live in that part of the world that is tagged “underdeveloped” However, my write-up would benefit both geeks and noobs alike. Fortunately for me, it has come to that point where I no longer give my gadgets to anyone to repair. The only exception here is if my phone is still under warranty. What I do is to simply place an order for the defective part on either Amazon or eBay and replace it myself.
Are you even aware that you can fix most of the most common phones hardware problems without replacing any of its components? If you are reading this article, it is either you have a smartphone or a computer or both. We have millions of people around the world who own a phone without a computer.
In this generation, you can hardly do without a phone no matter how cheap it is. The article today will centre on the first aid of any phone hardware problems. I mean the do-it-yourself(DIY) or major phones hardware problems & fixing. Prevention they say is better than cure, I will also talk about how to prevent hardware damages to your phones. It might interest you to learn about the symptoms of a phone with hardware issues. In addition, I will provide the basic fixes.
What is Mobile phone hardware?
The phone hardware components are the physical parts or components of a phone. These parts include the LCD(Screen), housing, memory card, battery, Printed Circuit Board.(PCB), On/Off Switch, CPU, Ram, RF / Network IC, Flas IC, Power IC, Charging IC, Logic IC, Audio IC, and so on, all of which are physical objects that are tangible. In a layman’s language, phone hardware(just like pc hardware) are those components of a phone that you can touch, feel, and smell.
Requirements for fixing phones hardware problems
At last we about going into the business proper. However, moving forward, I want to assure you that you can do it. The only person who can stand in your way and prevent you from doing this is you. Technological advancement has even made it easier as there are videos online that can tell you exactly the steps you need to take to take a phone apart. The most difficult step in fixing phones hardware problems is the disassembling/ taken-apart stage. Once you can take apart a phone, your problem is 80% solved.
That aside, don’t blame me for any misfortune that befalls your phone due to carelessness or negligence. Also, if you are scared of ripping apart your phone, please don’t venture into this. Furthermore, if you are the restless types, please this is not for you. To round it off, if your phone is under warranty, please don’t perform any repair on it even if you know exactly what you need to do.
Take the following steps just before you start
- Do Software Check up – Use a certain flashing device for that particular handset product to be able to read logs, logs is a reading of mobile phones firmware programmed and installed unto it.
You can do flash, reformat at first hand if found something wrong with the mobile phones firmware. If all methods of software already done and nothing happens, proceed to hardware troubleshooting.
- No matter the condition, do not use raw force to remove any component of your phone. However, if you have seen a video of who use pure force to remove that particular model, then go ahead. Surprisingly, I am yet to come across such. I only know of a situation where you have failed to remove a hidden screw(s) which is standing in your way. Please check properly. Look under the stickers, security seals and the likes.
- Similar to the above, if you are not a professional don’t attempt to disassemble any phone without seeing a video on how to do so. Alternatively, you can ask a repairer to help you undo the screws while you do the fixing yourself.
Basic tools needed for phones hardware problems & fixing
I will only give the names of the tools that you can use at home. Professional mobile phones repairers posses a more sophisticated set of tools. You can easily buy any of these tools off any most electronic store near you, or from online stores. Talking of popular online stores, eBay, Amazon, aliexpress come to mind.
- The most important tool needed to take apart a phone is a screwdriver. You can either buy a set of precision screwdrivers for all phone types or buy the one used for only the major phones. The picture below is an example of a 45-in-1 Precision Screwdriver opening tools.
- You can also by the basic set on the other hand. This standard set contains 3 screwdrivers(1 pentalobe, 1. straight and one Phillips head).
- Plastic pry tool
- A plastic Pick as shown in the image above is used to pick up sticky objects in your phone. Such objects like the battery, a flex clip(be careful when dealing with phones flexes).
- Suction Vacuum Opener: Suction cups are peripheral traits of some animals such as octopuses and squids, and have been reproduced artificially for numerous purposes. the pressure difference between the atmosphere on the outside of the cup and the low-pressure cavity on the inside of the cup keeps the cup adhered to the surface. The adhesion is what we need. You can use a suction vacuum opener to safely pull out your phone’s LCD prior to a fix. Also when you are replacing a cracked screen, this will be so helpful in preventing injury to your hands from the broken glass.
- Next, you need a methylated spirit or any equivalent. You can use this to wash off the dirt from your phones board
- Hair hand dryer: This is also very useful especially when the phone has been soaked in water. Once you take the phone apart, you may need to quickly heat up the PCB before the water damages much. Please, users discretion is adviced. Don’t overheat it.
- Finally, you need a soft-bristle toothbrush. As expected, you will dip this into the spirit to clean your phone’s [PCB when necessary.
Mobile Phones Hardware Problems Prevention and Fixes
In all honesty, I will personally advise you to prevent rather than cure. You will be better off averting damages to your phones than repairing them. This segment will be divided into three parts.
- Causes of phones hardware problems.
- Symptoms /behaviour of phones hardware problems.
- And lastly, tips on how to fix a phone with a hardware problem & fixing.
WHEN YOUR PHONE’S POWER SWITCH IS FAULTY
- The power button might be damaged
For anyone with a phone that opens (not an iPhone), there is a band-aid solution for you to use while you’re waiting for your repairs appointment. Pull the battery out of your phone and connect it to your computer. While your phone is connected to the computer, put the battery back in and it should turn on. For an iPhone, plug in the charger and your phone will switch on without the power button.
You’re going to need to get this one repaired too.
Fix a cracked /shattered screen
The eyes they say is the window of the body. Same applies to the usefulness of the LCD screen to a phone. The most expensive phone is useless if the screen is shattered.
Causes of a phone’s screen problems:
- Inherent factory defect(It happened to my HCT one m8 back in the day. the digitizer stopped working, I had to replace it)
- Failure to use a protective case or screen protectors.
- poorly built LCD screen
- Accidental damages like dropping from high impact.
- Another cause of problems with phone hardware is the design flaws of the phone
- Lack of proper handling e.g if you have a tablet, you should know you must house it inside a protective case
- Carelessness; submersion(diving with your phone), abuse…
Symptoms of a Phone with a damaged screen
- Totally blank or black screen; it looks as if the device is powered off whereas it is on. This happens where either the screen is not well connected to the PCB or maybe the display ic is faulty. At times it may be due to the actual screen being damaged.
- You have a screen with ink-like substances: A non-repairable damaged screen
- Screen without ink but with visible lines /marks: The screen is shattered: non-reparable but usable
- Screen touch not responsive: It may be due to damage to the whole screen or just the digitizer /calibrator.
FIXES / SOLUTIONS TO SCREEN PROBLEMS
Yes, you can do it yourself only on one condition; if you are 100% certain that it is only the screen that is affected. I mean, nothing is wrong with the phone’s board.
Secondly, if you are changing the screen yourself, make sure you order the original from eBay, Amazon or directly from the manufacturer. You should also read video tutorials on how to replace screens on www.ifixit.com
- If you are not sure that only the screen is faulty, please take it to a skilled Gsm/ Computer engineer for repair.
How to prevent your phone’s screen from getting damaged.
- The surest prevention is for you to be careful overall and also endeavour to buy a phone that is under warranty.
- Even the best water-resistant phone will crash when submerged for long. Avoid liquid spills that can corrode the section where your screen connects to the board.
- For iPads and tablets, use a protective wallet /pouch.
- For other phones use a pouch cover or an original tempered glass screen protector. Using fake tempered glass will cause more harm than good eventually.
- For the men, do not put your phone into your breast pocket
- In like fashion, women should not put your phone in a bag or purse that contains sharp objects.
- Avoid putting your phone into your back pocket
- Also, avoid leaving your phone lying on a chair. Don’t place your phone on an unkempt bed especially when you are not lying down
- Avoid handing over your phone to your superactive kid without monitoring. You know how kids can be
- Steer clear off a high platform that is sloppy or slippery or unsteady
- Do not play rough or fight while your phone is on you(In fact, why shall thou fight at all?)
- For the athletes in the house. please buy an armband carrier for phones during your workouts
- Finally, don’t operate your phone when you are in a mob or any crowded area.
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Camera Lens Is Broken, Blurred Or Hazy
This happens when there is noise or distortion in pictures being captured by your phone
- Broken camera lens
- Dirty camera lens
- If you have a hazy or scratched camera lens, the very first thing you should do is give it a good clean. You’d be surprised how much of a difference that can make. And don’t just give it a quick wipe with a cloth. Get out the methylated spirits or spray and wipe and really make sure it’s clean
- When the above fails to work, you have to replace the lens. please make sure it’s repaired properly by a mobile phone technician or the manufacturer. When it comes to a camera lens, quality is everything.
Phones Hardware Problems resulting from Water damage
This happens when your phone is soaked in water or even submerged. No phone as at yet can boast of a permanent water-resistance. Whether yours is the usual 30 minutes inside-the-water resistance or not, if you find out that your phone has fallen into water or any liquid please switch off the phone immediately and follow the fixes below.
Remember, your phone falling into the water is not what will cause the damage. What will cost you your phone is the short- circuit that may occur when your phone’s electricity meets water.
Causes of water damage to a phone
- Sadly your phone falls into a river, a deep well or a bucket of water
- Your kid gave your phone a good deal of saliva
- other liquids such as alcohol, chemicals and so on
- The phone can start to overheat
- Phone speakers or earpiece may stop working or start malfunctioning as a result
- The screen may go blank
- Digitizers/calibrators are very sensitive, it may stop working as a result of water damage.
- The phone may die totally in the long run.
Fixing water damage in a phone
- Immediately you notice this, turn the phone off and remove the battery if yours has a removable battery.
- If you are a novice, rush down to your engineer as fast as you can and do not be tempted to power on the phone.
- However, If you are a geek or an adventurous guy like me, disassemble the phone clean it with a methylated spirit and Air-dry it. If you do not know how to open it, watch A youtube video on it.
How to prevent water damage to your phone
- Take your phone far away from water or other liquid.
- Women know a safe place to put your phone while in the kitchen or while doing laundry.
- Monitor things when your child insists on playing with your phone or better still get the pretty one a toy phone.
- If you have a water-resistant phone, do not stay longer than 30 minutes in the water. Also, avoid diving in water with a water-resistant phone.
Hardware problem that can cause your phone to overheat
While it is unavoidable that your phone gets warm during usage and normal operations, it is abnormal for your phone to get really hot to the extent of it burning your palms
Causes of phones overheating
- Factory fault/bug
- Water damage
- screen damage
- PCB fault
- One or two Integrated circuits(IC) is faulty
- Virus infection on your phone
- Multitasking on your phone
- Excessive video playback.
- Extended gaming with your phone.
- Connectivity like wifi, Bluetooth, data
- Third party Apps
- Operating your phone in an extremely hot temperature.
- Please desist from charging a phone and operating it at the same time
- Fake charger
- Faulty charger
- Your phone gets unbearably hot
- in extreme cases, batteries swell up.
- Your phone gives a warning and shut down on you.
Fixes for an overheating phone
- The easiest solution is to simply switch off your phone and let it cool off. Later, you can switch it on If this doesn’t work do a factory reset of your phone. If the two tricks fail, am afraid you will need to visit the shops.
- If your phone is under warranty, then take it back to the manufacturers
How to prevent your phone from overheating
- If you can afford it, buy a phone under warranty
- Do not charge your phone and operate it simultaneously. Let it fully charge before you operate it
- Use original charging cables and adapters.
- Once your battery no longer holds a charge, please replace it.
- Avoid submerging your phone.
- Do not launch any demanding apps on your phone when you are in the hot sun.
- Do not stay on a particular connection like hotspots, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, data… indefinitely. I mean immediately you notice the hotness switch off the connection.
- When you have been running many apps on your phone, please try and close the idle ones.
- Avoid extensive videos streaming and gaming on your phone(your phone is neither a dedicated Blu-ray player nor a game console)
Phones hardware problems associated with memory/storage
This happens when your phone starts misbehaving because something is wrong with the memory. I mean this can be the ROM(Storage) or The Random access memory(RAM). For this tutorial, we will be talking about storage. be aware that storage problems can also occur as a result of a software bug.
Causes of phones storage problems
- You have overused your safe memory. If your Android phone especially has a total memory of 16gb, your safe memory should be 15gb or 14.5gb. Do not use the whole of the storage capacity.
- Memory overuse is more dangerous on phones that depend mainly on external storage. Such phones include chines phones like older infinix, tecno, aitel and so on. On a serious note, I have seen many tecno phones die because of memory card problems.
Symptoms of phones with memory/storage problems
- Incessant warnings of memory low on your phone(Please heed this warning at the first call)
- Some data may dissapear automatically
- Your phone may crash
- Some Apps may stop working
- Your phone may enter a boot-loop
- Poorly-built phones may die altogether.
How to prevent your phone from having storage problems
- Please don’t ever use up all of your available memory. One way you can do this unknowingly is by recording a video while you are low on memory.
- In addition, if your phone uses a memory card, for your own good, get an original SD card.
Hardware problems that can cause your phone not to charge
If your phone stopped charging, it could be as a result of a couple of things among which are:
Causes of a phone not charging
- You are using a fake/clone charger
- Check to see that your charging cable or adapter is still in good condition
- Your phone’s charging port is dirty
- You just replaced your phone’s battery with a fake one
- Your phone’s battery is totally damaged
- Possibly, your phone’s charging IC is bad
- Your phone’s charging port is warped, clogged or damaged.
Symptoms exhibited by phone with charging problems
- Your phone does not charge at all
- Your phone charges irregularly.
- There is the constant “not charging alert”
How to prevent your phone from developing charging problems.
- Use only OEM recommended accessories
- clean your dirty charging point with methylated spirit and a cotton swab.
- change damaged battery immediately
- When the problem is within the PCB, take it to your engineer
WHEN YOUR PHONE SPEAKER IS CRACKLING OR DISTORTED
You must first isolate distortion due to poorly recorded sound or video
- Water or liquid damage
- Dust Damage
- Also, damage can occur as a result of falling
- Damage as a result of the age of the device
There is only one solution, replace the affected speaker and do it through a professional engineer.
Please try and avoid everything listed under causes above
This happens when the physical buttons on your phone like the volume button, the mute button, home key button power buttons are bad. Nowadays, many phones are coming without the home button. However, the volume button and the power butter are still standard on most phones
Fixes for a phone that its physical buttons are faulty
- Temporary fix; you can download third-party apps that can replace your physical buttons. These apps are available for Android and iPhone. For Android, you can use “button savior” or “volume control widget, For the iPhone, there is an inbuilt alternative to your softkeys and buttons “Assistive touch” is under the iPhone settings.
- Permanent fix: replace the broken button.
- Just handle your phone with care and do not feed it with what it doesn’t like
- With your best handling, your phone will eventually age and things will start parking up. If this happens, it’s time to change your phone or the faulty components.