Can You Replace an iPhone Camera?

Can You Replace an iPhone Camera?

a black iPhone 7 on white background. - replace iPhone camera
Is replacing your iPhone camera doable?

Can you replace an iPhone camera? Boy, a malfunctioning iPhone camera does wear you out… especially if you’re a shutterbug. 

In fact, you felt like it’s been busted for a month now—when it has just been a few days. Of course, you tried a lot of fixes. Sadly, restarting, resetting, or restoring didn’t work. 

Now, you have two choices: 

repairing your iPhone camera or replacing it. 

Is replacing your iPhone camera possible? And can you do it on your own? 

In this article, we will answer those questions. We will also provide some DIY tips, some information about the rear iSight camera, and more. 

What is the iSight camera? 

a black iPhone 7 on a black laptop. - replace iPhone camera
The “name” of your rear camera is the iSight camera.

Let’s start with the basics. You can’t conquer a problem unless you get to know it. 

iSight is the official brand name for the built-in rear cameras in all Apple devices. Meanwhile, the front-facing cameras’ brand names are FaceTime or FaceTime HD cameras. 

The iSight cameras have higher quality than the FaceTime HD cameras. Users even use the former for professional photography. 

On the other hand, the lower quality front-facing cameras are for FaceTime conversations. 

Can you replace an iPhone camera?

Absolutely. With the treasure trove that is YouTube and the many available tools on Amazon or eBay, it’s very possible. 

You can do it on your own or you can get help from Apple. They might even replace an iPhone camera for free. 

Can you go DIY to replace an iPhone camera? 

prying open the rear screen of a rose gold iPhone. - replace iPhone camera
DIY is the cheaper way, but it’s not always an easy path.

Yes, of course. You just need to buy the repair parts such as a new iSight rear camera and a troubleshooting kit. 

However, this particular task is not as easy as the tech vloggers make it look. Not only should you prepare the tools but also your mindset. 

Replacing a worn iSight camera involves tinkering with the sensitive rear cover, delicate ribbons, and some tiny screws. 

Therefore, if you have no previous troubleshooting experience, you have to research more and prepare in advance. This way, you’ll avoid creating further damage.

How much does it cost to replace iPhone camera?

internal parts of an iPhone. - replace iPhone camera
The iSight camera alone might cost you more than $60.

If you are planning to go DIY, you have to list down the prices of the iSight rear camera available online and the tool kits. 

You can check out iPhone camera replacement sites such as iFixit. According to the iPhone selling site Flipsy, you might spend $60.00 to $70.00 on a new iSight camera. 

Besides the iSight camera, you should also have these: 

  • Display assembly adhesive
  • Rear camera bracket 
  • Troubleshooting kit
  • Screwdrivers
  • Pentalobe screw
  • Suction cups with hooks or this 7-in-1 suction cup for screen repair
  • Spudger set

Add them all and you might spend a total of $150.00 to $200.00 in replacing your rear camera. Of course, this estimate will change depending on the online store and the availability of tools.

Related: 9 hacks to stop iPhone camera from shaking

Where to buy an iSight camera

Sadly, you can’t buy an iSight camera from Apple stores, since they stopped making them a few years ago.

You can find iSight cameras on eBay though. This iSight camera for the iPhone 6 Plus, for instance, has a 90-day warranty. It will cost you US $7.71 plus another US $1.29 for the international shipping fee. 

Meanwhile, you can also find an iSight camera for the iPhone 6 Plus on Amazon, which costs $35.79.

Take note that the iPhone 6s Plus camera has 12 megapixels.

iSight Camera Replacement Program (ICRP)

grey iPhone on wooden table. - replace iPhone camera
In 2014 and 2015, some iPhone 6 Plus devices had malfunctioning camera components that made pictures blurry.

Still not confident with replacing the iSight camera on your own? 

You can have the iSight camera replaced by Apple for free—especially if you own an iPhone 6 Plus. This is called the iSight Camera Replacement Program.

What is the iSight Camera Replacement Program?

After finding a manufacturer defect that causes blurry photos, Apple launched the iSight Camera Replacement Program in 2015. 

You can avail of this program within the 4 years after you bought your iPhone 6 Plus.

If your iPhone 6 Plus’s serial number is eligible for the program, you can schedule a reservation at a nearby Apple-authorized service center. 

You can find out here if your serial number is eligible for a repair. 

What’s the catch of the ICRP? 

a technician checking the internal parts of an iPhone. - replace iPhone camera
Don’t expect too much with the iSight Camera Replacement Program.

A few iPhone 6 Plus users have shared their experience about the iSight Camera Replacement Program. 

We learned that even though a serial number is eligible for a replacement, Apple technicians still have to check your iSight camera first. 

That means before they agree to replace it with a new one, they must figure out if it checks all the boxes for a replacement. 

Additionally, if your iPhone has a cracked rear cover, they will fix that prior to the broken camera. Sadly, you will pay for that small repair before they can replace the camera. 

Next, if they can conclude that the rear camera’s damage is a manufacturing defect, they will then proceed to replace it for free. 

Repairing or replacing your rear camera with the help of Apple

Having a broken camera can be surely frustrating. However, do not lose hope yet. 

Apple knows your iPhone is not cheap, thus the repair is not inexpensive as well. That’s why you don’t have to go desperate and spend on a repair or replacement. 

If your iPhone is still under warranty, you can try using your privileges under AppleCare.

What is AppleCare?

AppleCare Products logo
AppleCare is the warranty program for all Apple devices.

AppleCare is the name for the warranty programs by Apple.

When you bought your iPhone, it came with a free AppleCare plan. It has a limited one-year warranty and a 3-month complimentary technical support via the phone. 

Under AppleCare, the authorized technicians will fix camera-related damages for free. 

For instance, they can troubleshoot manufacturer defects—if the front or rear camera’s foam is misaligned, they will not charge you for a repair.

However, if they conclude that the camera’s damage is due to water submersion or a fall/drop on the pavement, you have to pay for a repair or a replacement. 

If your iPhone is still under warranty, it will not cost you more than $100 to repair the damage.

Meanwhile, if you want to extend the coverage of your warranty, you can instead buy an AppleCare+ Protection Plan. 

What is AppleCare+?

AppleCare+ logo
AppleCare+ is a warranty extension by Apple. | Photo

AppleCare+ is the extended warranty of AppleCare—but with a few good extras.

If you want to extend the coverage of AppleCare, you can pay the monthly AppleCare+ plan.  

With this, you can secure your iPhone with another two years worth of coverage and tech support. 

As for the price, plans start at $129 for iPhones 7 and 8. Meanwhile, it can cost you $299 if you own newer models such as iPhones XS and XS Max. 

The best thing is AppleCare+ can take care of problems beyond manufacturer defects. 

Here are the damages that AppleCare+ can cover the following. 

1. Accidental damages

wet iPhone on concrete pavement. - replace iPhone camera
Did your phone fell into the pool? AppleCare+ can give you good repair discounts.

Within the two-year coverage, you can get your iPhone repaired for a cheap fee. 

For instance, if the screen breaks from water damage, drops, or falls, you can pay $30 for the repair. This cheap fee can also apply to damage to your battery, headphones, etc.

However, AppleCare+ can only cater to two instances of accidental damage. If your iPhone gets a different kind of damage, the repair can cost you $99. 

Related: How to fix a freezing iPhone camera

2. Theft or loss 

a thief getting an iPhone out of a student's back pocket.
AppleCare+ can give you a replacement phone.

Scared that you might lose your iPhone on a festival? Or are you uncomfortable with your new neighborhood? 

No worries—Apple also offers the AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss plan, which costs $299.00. 

This is just an upgrade of the AppleCare+ plan. That means you still get the same benefits from AppleCare+; however, this time, AppleCare will replace your iPhone it someone steals it or if you lose it. 

However, it’s limited to two incidents only. 

3. iPhone Express Replacement Service

new iPhone in a box held by two hands.
The Express Replacement Service gives you a new iPhone but you must follow its rules.

If you want to give up your old broken iPhone, then you can get a new device under your AppleCare+ plan.

Apple has this exchange program called Express Replacement Service. This is another beneficial feature of AppleCare+, where you can instantly get a replacement device of the same model.

How does it work? Well, if your iPhone malfunctioned due to an issue covered by your AppleCare+ plan, Apple will not charge you for a replacement fee.

Now, in exchange for that new iPhone, you have to return your old device. If you don’t ship your old iPhone to Apple within 10 business days, you will pay a late fee. 

Additionally, if your phone malfunctioned because of accidental damage, you should also pay an incidental fee. 

The late fee increases depending on the model, while the incidental fee is $99 for all eligible models.

Is AppleCare+ really worth it?

a guy in casual polo sitting and holding his iPhone.
AppleCare+ is not for everyone.

Are you admittedly clumsy? Do you travel a lot? 

If yes, then maybe an AppleCare+ is worth it. Just think of big discounts you can get if your iPhone gets water-damaged or if you lose it in Thailand. 

Meanwhile, if you’re the careful one, you’re better off repairing small damages. Or, you can invest in a screen protector and a lens protector instead.

Repairing an iPhone screen is not so expensive, but repairing a cracked lens is pricey. If you don’t have an AppleCare+, Apple will charge heavily for a busted camera lens. 

For example, if you own an iPhone X but don’t have AppleCare+, then Apple will charge you $549 for a camera lens repair. 

How to replace an iPhone camera

opened iPhone, exposed internal parts, and removed camera.
DIY replacing your iPhone camera requires patience and working eyesight.

Do you want to just buy a new iSight camera and DIY instead? 

Well, as we mentioned earlier, it’s not going to be peachy. It might take you up to $200 and more than an hour to replace your old camera. 

However, to be fair, taking more time won’t matter—as long as you replace your camera safely, without inflicting any damage on your iPhone’s internal parts. 

What you will need 

  • New iSight camera
  • Rear display assembly adhesive
  • Rear camera bracket 
  • Troubleshooting kit
  • Screwdrivers
  • Pentalobe screw
  • Suction
  • Spudger
  • Tweezers

Replace your iSight camera: 17-step guide

1. Make sure your iPhone has a battery power level of 25% or lower for safety purposes. Next, turn off your iPhone.

technician unscrewing the bottom screws of an iPhone using a pentalobe screw.

2. Using the pentalobe screw, unscrew the bottom screws of your iPhone. 

suction lifting the cover of an iPhone

3. Once they’re unscrewed, use the suction to create an opening.

rear screen of an iPhone bent to 90 degrees.

4. Slide the spudger into the opening and pry the frame gently. Ensure not to bend the screen of the iPhone beyond 90 degrees.

5. Unscrew the five screws of the metal bracket, which you can find at the upper right corner of the battery. 

6. Remove the metal bracket. 

7. After that, use the spudger to unsnap the four ribbon cables carefully.

8. Now, you can remove the rear screen. 

9. On the rear camera, remove the small screws at the upper left corner and bottom right corner of the metal bracket.

removed iSight camera from an iPhone.

10. Lift up the connector and ribbon cable at the bottom. You can now lift up the camera and remove it.

11. Put the new camera and secure its connector, ribbon cable, and metal bracket. 

unscrewing the five screws of iPhone

12. Screw down the small screws at the upper left corner and bottom right corner of the metal bracket.

13. It’s now time to place back the rear screen. 

14. Using the tweezers, secure the four ribbons back in place and screw down the five screws of the metal bracket. 

securing back the iPhone and its rear screen.

15. Carefully attach the rear screen back to your phone. 

16. Screw down the two bottom screws using your pentalobe screw. 

17. Turn on your iPhone and see if your new iSight camera is working now. 

NOTE: If you see lines on your screen after you turned on your iPhone, that means the four ribbon cables were loose. You have to secure them properly to remove those lines.

In a nutshell

If you’re determined to replace your iPhone camera, you shouldn’t expect a walk in the park. 

Whether if you go DIY, sign up for the iSight replacement program, or hire a technician, you will go through some hassle. 

However, it’s still cheaper compared to buying a new model. 

So will you replace your iPhone the DIY way or will you call Apple Support, first?

What’s your experience with repairing or replacing cameras? 

Tell us about it in the comments below!