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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)
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 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.
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:
- Watch a teardown video before and during disassembly.
- 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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- Next, on the right-side of the phone, slide the pry tool, detaching the clasps as you go.
- 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.
- Remove screws: Remove the two screws holding the battery connector in place and set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
Step Five: Reassembly
Reassembling it all is super easy.
- 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.
- Replace blue anti-ESD tape.
- Replace the screws connecting the battery ribbon to the Nexus.
- Pop the rear cover onto the N4. Check all the way around to make certain it’s properly sealed.
- Replace the Torx screws at the base of the phone.
- Replace SIM card tray with SIM card.
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.