How To Replace The Nexus 4 Battery (It Can Be Done) [Android]

2013 06 07 00.03.54   How To Replace The Nexus 4 Battery (It Can Be Done) [Android]Got a dead or worn-out Nexus 4 battery? Replacing the defective battery is dead-simple – simply crack your phone open, pry the old battery out and pop in a fresh one. However, unless you want a broken hunk of glass, take a little time to prepare and buy some cheap tools, before getting started.

What You Need

  • T5 Torx screwdriver
  • #0 Philips screwdriver
  • Replacement battery
  • Pry tool or guitar pick (or thumbnail)
  • Anti-static gloves or wristband (optional, but recommended)
  • Hairdryer (optional, but highly recommended)
  • Anti-static pad (optional)

getting started   How To Replace The Nexus 4 Battery (It Can Be Done) [Android]

The total amount of this operation costs $30-40, including tools. It should take no more than an hour, if you’re super careful. In my case, it took about ten minutes to swap out my battery, although I have some experience in these matters.

Where and What to Buy

Battery: You can find OEM Nexus 4 batteries for ~$20 USD on eBay. I did not dissect the battery used in this guide, but it’s possibly a knock-off, rather than an OEM part. Another possibility: Batteries sold on eBay could be used pulls from broken systems.

The eBay seller listed it as brand new. Also, the date-of-manufacture showed it as a very recent build, so it might actually be an OEM component.

battery comparison   How To Replace The Nexus 4 Battery (It Can Be Done) [Android]

Battery quality: Nexus 4 batteries are manufactured in three different countries: Japan, Korea and China. Generally speaking, batteries originating from Japan or Korea use more reliable sub-components, whereas Chinese batteries offer better value.

However, considering that LG manufactures its own batteries, I would hazard a guess that any LG battery is as good as the next, regardless of origin. Unless it’s a knock-off. Then you’re buying a potential bomb. Literally.

There was a subtle differences from my old battery, though, which suggested that it was indeed a knock-off. Notice how the screw holes on the connector are different sizes? Oftentimes knock-off manufacturers lack the same production tooling as OEMs, resulting in poorer quality components.

Guitar pick VS pry tool: Pry tools mostly suck. They’re built of flimsy, cheap plastic and generally are good for one or two jobs before they start breaking apart. A guitar pick, on the other hand, is designed for grinding against steel strings. In my experience, nothing beats a guitar pick for computer work.

pick   How To Replace The Nexus 4 Battery (It Can Be Done) [Android]

Anti-static mat: A grounded anti-static mat allows you to lay circuit boards down, without worrying about it getting shocked by electrostatic discharge (static electricity). In this case, you won’t really need one, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Anti-static bracelet: An anti-static wrist strap (AKA bracelet), again, is optional. I personally use it, but from what I can tell the vast majority of guys online don’t even bother anymore with precautionary measures.

Does it void the warranty?

Yup. However, LG can’t tell if an N4 has been opened, unless you somehow damage it (quite easy to do). If you somehow caused physical damage while opening your N4, then you’ve voided the warranty. Please, for the love of god, take the following precautions:

  • Keep careful track of your screws as you remove them. The Nexus 4 uses a variety of screw types and lengths. Fortunately, you will only encounter two when changing the battery.
  • Read the iFixit article on disassembling the N4. There’s a lot of detail lacking in this article, but the visuals are quite good.

Step One: Remove SIM card

This is the easiest part. Take out your SIM card removal tool. Insert it into the hole, next to the SIM card slot to eject the SIM card tray. Set the SIM card tray and SIM card apart somewhere safe.

sim card   How To Replace The Nexus 4 Battery (It Can Be Done) [Android]

Step Two: Remove Faceplate Screws

Take your T5 Torx screwdriver and remove the two screws along the base of the phone. Set these aside and make note of where you received them from. Remember to not viciously slash your finger in the process.

remove base screws   How To Replace The Nexus 4 Battery (It Can Be Done) [Android]

Step Three: Pry Apart Your Device

You’ve now reached the second hardest part. Keep cool and be careful.

  • Take your pry tool and carefully insert it between the back-plate and the front of the phone, where the black plastic meets the silver bezel. The best place to first start prying is toward the base of the phone.

separation base2   How To Replace The Nexus 4 Battery (It Can Be Done) [Android]

  • Wedge the pry tool between the black plastic and the silver bezel – then slide it first up the left and then right sides. Pay careful attention to the circles in red. Those are connecting latches. To disengage them, just wedge them out of place.

separation left side   How To Replace The Nexus 4 Battery (It Can Be Done) [Android]

  • Next, on the right-side of the phone, slide the pry tool, detaching the clasps as you go.

separation right side   How To Replace The Nexus 4 Battery (It Can Be Done) [Android]

  • Last, open the phone up slowly, starting at the base and moving to the top. If you feel strong resistance, keep using the pry tool until you separate the two halves entirely.

Step Four: Remove and Replace Your Battery

You’ve now reached the hardest part.

  • Blue anti-ESD tape: Remove the blue anti-electrostatic discharge tape holding the Wi-Fi cable in place and set it aside.

blue tape   How To Replace The Nexus 4 Battery (It Can Be Done) [Android]

  • Remove screws: Remove the two screws holding the battery connector in place and set aside.

battery screws   How To Replace The Nexus 4 Battery (It Can Be Done) [Android]

  • Remove battery connector: Use your pry tool to pop the battery connector off. It doesn’t take very much pressure, just slide it beneath the metal and wedge it out.

battery removal   How To Replace The Nexus 4 Battery (It Can Be Done) [Android]

  • Now comes the hard part: The battery is glued into place using a very sticky adhesive. Try using a Flathead screwdriver covered by a thick rubber band to SLOWLY pry the battery out of its position. Covering the screw driver in a soft material, such as rubber, will prevent damage to your frame. Do not use a circuit board as leverage. Protip: If you use a hairdryer on the battery, the heat will loosen the adhesive. It will help if you can get someone to hold the hairdryer while you pry.

2013 06 07 11.02.12   How To Replace The Nexus 4 Battery (It Can Be Done) [Android]

Step Five: Reassembly

Reassembling it all is super easy.

  1. When you put the new battery in, first connect the ribbon and then place the battery in position. FYI: Pictured below, you may notice that I put thermal compound under the battery to better disperse heat into the frame. I have no clue if this will be effective.
  2. Replace blue anti-ESD tape.
  3. Replace the screws connecting the battery ribbon to the Nexus.
  4. Pop the rear cover onto the N4. Check all the way around to make certain it’s properly sealed.
  5. Replace the Torx screws at the base of the phone.
  6. Replace SIM card tray with SIM card.

thermal paste   How To Replace The Nexus 4 Battery (It Can Be Done) [Android]

Conclusion

Despite the rumors, the Nexus 4′s battery replaces easily. It simply requires a few simple tools and a little bit of computer disassembly knowledge. Even an idiot who slashes his fingers every time he opens a computer can do it.

Anyone got a battery drained Nexus 4? You should really return it, if it’s under warranty. But if you’re no longer under warranty or out of the country, you may have to rely on yourself. In such an event, please exercise the greatest care, as potential for disaster abounds.

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28 Comments -

0 votes

Patrick Wolf

Awesome Article!
Thanks!

0 votes

mauso

Very good review. I appreciated it.
Thanks

0 votes

mauso

Very good DIY. I appreciated it.
Thanks

1 votes

Adam

So have you noticed any differences in battery temp since changing it out and adding thermal compound? I’m curious if that worked since the high battery temp is one of the few things I don’t really care for on the N4.

0 votes

Kannon Y

This is actually a personal quest of mine!

OK, here’s the deal: There’s a production flaw in the Nexus 4 – the CPU/RAM stack of the N4 isn’t properly attached to the metal frame. Basically, it overheats because there’s a .5mm gap of air that prevents efficient transfer of heat.

There’s a thread over at XDA regrading this matter:

http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2144652

In addition to adding thermal compound to the N4, I also undervolted it and then anchored the CPU to the metal frame using a special graphite foil shim, called Grafoil.

After performing both, the phone no longer overheats even under max load.

However, this totally voids your warranty. And disassembling a mobile device, while easy, requires an understanding of basic electronic safety methods.

If you have any questions on the process, let me know. I’ve gone over it dozens of times.

1 votes

Ben

Superb instructions… only thing I would add would be that when you are removing the battery, a good place to start would be the top left corner (I was able to do this with my finger)

0 votes

Kannon Yamada

Very good comment!

That’s a good place to start. I would point out though that the temperature sensor and other electronic components are located at the top of the battery. It seems to be able to take a tremendous amount of abuse, though. I’ve seen people wedging the battery out entirely through the top portion.

I prefer starting on the left side, and using the top as a secondary grip. Overall, though, I think what you’re doing is also highly effective.

Just recently I tried using a plastic putty knife, which distributes weight evenly among the battery. It was thin and rigid enough to wedge the battery out easily, but not so soft that it folded up.

Thanks for the comment!

1 votes

Eric

Hi, Great DIY guide!

Just wondering – when removing the factory battery, it was originally glued into place at the back of the battery right? So when we replace the battery do we have to re-apply any form of adhesive? If not, will it make much difference? It does seem to look really snug in there as it is…just wondering if the adhesive prevents the battery from shifting ever so slightly during operation.

0 votes

Kannon Yamada

That’s a good question – the adhesive is sorta like really powerful double-sided tape. It will stay sticky, even after you detach the battery, so you won’t need to replace it.

Also it won’t make a difference when you remove the battery. It will lose some of its stickiness, but that won’t matter really much at all. There’s not really a lot of room for the battery to move about anyway.

Thanks for the comment!

0 votes

Bobby

Hi,

A very informative article. Excellent observations in the comments and responses. Thanks for taking the time to put this together. I wanted to know if you have tried replacing an original Nexus 4 battery with another one of higher capacity? Any particular brand\website\type that you would recommend based on your past experience. It would also be great if you could extend the current article and include instructions on putting the Grafoil and thermal compound inside the Nexus 4.

Thanks!
Bobby

0 votes

Kannon Y

Hey Bobby, thanks for the comment!

The Grafoil isn’t clearly labeled – it’s the silver stuff next to the copper shim. Because of its thickness (.75mm instead of .6 or .5mm), Troun2000 doesn’t suggest using thermal compound with it. I’ve used compound with it, and it actually does slightly improve the temperatures.

You just need a tiny (the size of a grain of rice) dab on each side.

When I get a spare moment, I’ll try to demonstrate why less is better. More can actually cause some harm. Thanks again!

0 votes

Tim M

Hi,
really great video, very clear.
I’m interested in adding an external aerial to this phone for getting 3g coverage in a marginal area. Any help as to where to best connect it?
Cheers from Devon!

0 votes

Kannon Y

Ambitious!

Unfortunately, that may be impossible from what I can tell. The data chip uses an internal antenna. I don’t think it’s possible to desolder the data chip from the antenna and attach it to an external, although I suppose anything is possible.

I know there’s a spare antenna port, but I’m about 90% certain that’s for WiFi. It’s located next to the WiFi port to the right of the battery.

0 votes
0 votes

Madhav

Will some person from the local electronic repair shop be able to do it?

0 votes

Kannon Y

It depends on the technician. Some might feel confident enough to do it. Others might not.

If the phone is covered under warranty you can just have it replaced through an LG repair shop.

0 votes

amulya

What should I do if I stripped the screw on the battery connector? HELP! (sorry im a noob)

0 votes

Kannon Y

Oh no! How badly did you strip it? Just to be clear, stripping a screw means destroying the indentation where you place the screwdriver.

For stripped screws I place a rubber band over the stripped screw and then use the phillips screwdriver as usual. The rubber will provide extra grip and will fill in the missing indentation. Be careful not to overtighten or apply too much pressure. That particular part of the board is delicate.

Make sure that you turn COUNTER CLOCKWISE to loosen and clockwise to tighten. A good way to remember this is lefty-loosey, righty-tighty.

Another option, and I DON’T recommend this option, is to use a pliers on the top of the screw. I use this as an absolute last resort.

If you have any questions please, please ask. I’ve done this many, many times.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sf7670Yr9jA

Good luck!

0 votes

Kannon Y

I need to point out that the only tip in the video that I sent you worth using is the rubber band one. I’ve used this method many times and it works almost always. Rubber bands are amazing things.

0 votes

Anders

Awesome video, the guy knows what he is talking about and talking about he dose so well.

0 votes

Anders

I wonder why there are so few vendors to buy the battery from?

0 votes

AB

I was just curious about why my battery was getting drained faster than most people with a nexus 4 so I opened it. Now I dont know why my phone doesnt boot anymore and only the Red LED blicks.

0 votes

Kannon Y

I suggest using the standard safety precautions, including anti-static wrist bracelet and pad. But most people don’t bother with those nowadays.

Even so, causing an ESD on your mainboard is a relatively rare event, particularly considering that removing the battery doesn’t expose any circuit boards.

I imagine that the device has been put back together improperly. You want to make sure that EVERYTHING is connected. Oftentimes these sorts of issues are fixed by METICULOUSLY observing protocol and the steps involved in dissassembly.

Did you remove the black plastic shield? If you did, there’s some very important points that you need to observe in resassembly.

0 votes

AB

Hey Kannon,
Thank you for your help. I did follow everything closely. I just kept it on charge for an hour and the red LED stopped blinking and the device turned on.
Thanks!

0 votes

John

Hi Kannon,

I accidentally stripped one of the external screws and the rubber band trick doesn’t seem to be working. Any tips? Thanks!

0 votes

Kannon Y

This can potentially turn into a disastrous situation. After stripping a screw, a variety of methods can loosen it. But double-check to make sure that you are turning the screw the proper way. Most of the time a screw gets stripped is from using too much force, turning the wrong way and using the wrong sized screw driver.

I would suggest double-checking your methods – righty-tighty, lefty-loosey. Picture a clock with the hands at 12:00. To turn right from this is to tighten. To turn left from this is to loosen. I’m sure you already know this, but in this kind of situation, all precaution must be used.

Because the Nexus 4 battery screws aren’t flush, you can get under it with a variety of tools. A good quality needle-nose pliers will do this. Also, believe it or not, holding a pair of wire-cutters horizontally (NOT vertically) can loosen a stripped screw. Remember to use just enough pressure to loosen it, and then use the rubber band + screw driver after that.

But you must use absolute care in doing so. The screw housing connecting this particular part of the Nexus is somewhat weak and if you use too much pressure, it can break, potentially destroying the phone.

I found a link (the advise is not so-good) on removing a stripped screw here:

http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2010/02/the-12-best-ways-to-remove-stripped-screws/

Some of it isn’t so well suited for electronics, but if all else fails, this can give you some pointers.

Good luck!

0 votes

Nathan

Did YOU viciously slash your finger in the process of removing the screws? (I’m referring to the big plaster on your finger.)

0 votes

Kannon Y

:-) I’m always cutting myself with something. It’s been a while since I wrote this article, but if I remember correctly, I cut my finger on a sharp handle of a very cheap screwdriver.