Selfies are common reference to the pictures a person takes of themselves with their iPod, iPhone, iPad, or just about any other device capable of photography. At iDoctor, we define a “selfie” as an attempted DIY repair by a novice. This has been a topic of discussion in several previous blog posts of ours – primarily focusing on iPhone and iPad. Today, we are going to take a look at iPod Touch 4th Generation Selfies. This was prompted by another one being brought in that was not salvageable – and our hearts break everytime we see this when it could have been prevented.

Instead of explaining the pros and cons of DIY (do-it-yourself), we are going to instead focus on what is providing the false  sense of security that many feel provides them with the skill-set to carry out such a complex repair. The techs at iDoctor are provided with months of training before they are allowed to work on an iPod Touch 4th generation by themselves. What we here most often from folks that have attempted the repair is that they watched several videos on YouTube before attempting the repair. They felt a good level of understanding was in hand after watching an hour or two of videos, a couple instruction manuals, and for a select few – a shot of whiskey!

With the number of selfies coming in for follow up repair – or the fatal diagnosis of “not recoverable” – we asked ourselves, “what is being shown to these good people on YouTube?” Being the good people we are (shameless plug), the techs at iDoctor viewed a couple videos at random to see the process being shown for iPod Touch 4th Generation repair. Both videos were taken at random from seemingly popular sources. One of these videos even had 116,608 views (perhaps some were repeat watchers)!

Video 1

This video starts with the warning that this repair voids the warranty, is for ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY , and the maker assumes no liability in case you biff (industry lexicon for breaking your iPod even more) the repair. The technician starts by applying heat to the unit to melt the adhesive. Even though the directions are to use a low heat setting, the possibility exists that a novice uses too much heat and warps the board or causes solder to flow when it shouldn’t be flowing (just because you can’t see it happen doesn’t mean that it is safe). Second, the technician in the video proceeds to use an exacto knife to cut the adhesive (wasn’t this supposed to be melted?). Unless you are sure about what is beneath the screen, and what is being cut – this is probably not a good idea for a first timer. Next, the lifting of the display; there is no warning about the wifi cable that sticks to the display, or how the LCD can separate from the glass (in the event you are opening to do a different repair other than glass replacement). Additionally, if you do want to preserve the glass, take into consideration the scratches you might be creating (this doesn’t look very nice when you are all done).

In a professional setting, we are about two minutes into the repair at this point. The narrator in the video is now taking out the screws to the metal shield with no mention that each screw is differently sized and needs to go back into the place it was removed from. Trust us, you will not remember which screw goes where unless they are laid out exactly the way they came out. Lifting the metal shield has some problems that are not mentioned – like the copious amounts of adhesive that will likely pull the external speaker from its home and break the wires that make external sound possible (these are soldered on and are a difficult repair to reinstall). Additionally, there is adhesive holding the shield onto the board that could pull up capacitors and other components if not done wisely – the video neglects all of these warnings.

A few other hints to keep in mind – lifting the board can catch the power/volume flex cable and tear that. Tears of any component in this device are bad. The camera also comes up with the board. The ground spring is pretty flimsy and will come out with the slightest tug.

And…not to drag this video out much longer, but the tools the normal novice DIY’er has are not magnetic – nor are the tools that are sent with the part. The screws that hold the iPod touch 4th generation together are small and all work in a concert to foil your plot of self-righteous repair.


Video 2

This video has some serious flaws. The immediate thoughts that raced through our technicians minds were: OMG…OMG…WTF…Moron…OMG…WTF. Granted, every technician has their own methods that work for them, but this video is really like the blind leading the blind. I am sure this company has good intentions and sells decent parts, but this was just too much.

The one thing I like about the video is that an Aussie is narrating it. The accent has to be arguably the best for narration (second only to Morgan Freeman’s). Getting to the substance… The first thing instructed to the viewer is to place the entire unit in your oven for 30 minutes. Keep in mind, the crack on the unit in the video was not that bad – and yours is likely to leave glass everywhere it goes – keep it away from food preparation areas!

As he is handling this unit with his oven mit (because it is friggin hot), the narrator has to use tools to separate the adhesive from the frame (isn’t that why we cooked it? perhaps basting was in order). As he attempts to separate the adhesive he gets one thing absolutely right – iPod touch 4th gens are a nightmare to work on (when you have little experience). This fellow does call out the wifi cable as a warning, but like video 1, neglects any mention of the home flex cable.

Similar to video 1, the glass on each unit is relatively in one piece (only with one crack in the middle). Most units are in a million pieces. This means that there is glass everywhere. None of the videos show the proper way to deal with this situation – nor do they discuss adhesive or unit preparation to install the new screens.

Another noticeable flaw the narrator has – he has no process down. He fumbles through his steps. Like we mentioned in the beginning, this is like the blind leading the blind – don’t follow. Although calling warning to the adhesive by the speaker, he uses tools by the volume flex cable and lifts on the board. He places strain on the flex cable, on the camera, nor does he call out a warning about capacitors near the FPC connector for the digitizer (technical terms that should be known prior to conducting this sort of technical work).

I’m cutting this review short – but it had nearly 117,000 views. Some of the comments said this was the best instructional video out there. Some said it was better than others (this is scary – which one are you basing your repair off of?). How many people in the world were given a false sense of empowerment and were not given critical advice that is required to successfully complete this repair?

Many people end up wasting money on the screen, then end up in a position of needing other components repaired. The cost added together becomes significant. Otherwise, the consumer pays for the part, spends countless hours, and then purchases a new device because of the irreversible damage they caused to their iPod. In the end, the most time conscious and efficient decision is to take your device to a professional repair shop and have it repaired in about an hour.