How to replace the Moto G display

The display of a Moto G (XT1032) smartphone belonging to a family member got shattered. Instead of throwing out the old phone, I decided to investigate if the display could be replaced. Youtube is full of tutorials on replacing the entire display assembly and it looked easy. So, I decided to replace the display of Moto G.

What I ordered

I found that the entire front display assembly, including the digitizer was available on AliExpress here. I ordered it along with the tools it offered for the repair. The tools included T4 and T5 Torx screwdrivers, two plastic spudges, two picks and a suction cup to hold display. It turns out that you actually only need a T4 Torx screwdriver and a single plastic spudge to replace the Moto G display.

How I replaced

I followed this video carefully to replace the display. In addition to the video, take note of the following points since it affected my replacement:

  • Note that not all the 14 screws have the same length! So, it is best if you note which screw came from which hole, so you can put it back into the same places.
  • Battery did not have a plastic thingy to pull it up on my phone. The battery was firmly stuck using double-sided tape on its bottom. I used a spudge to slowly, but forcefully lift the battery up. The battery is very soft and will get bent, so be careful. I pressed the battery firmly on a table to flatten it back.
  • The display connector just does not come off as easily as shown in the video. Be very careful to first lift the locking tab before you pull out the ribbon. The holding tab is so thin and long that I did not even realize it was there. I broke off some of the black insulation and assumed that I had screwed up the replacement! The Synaptics digitizer chip and its metal-plate base was stuck like glue on my phone. I had to use a sharp and tiny flat screwdriver to forcefully pry it off the phone base. The ribbon will probably break, but it is ok since you will be replacing all of this anyway.
  • The top speaker does not off like shown in the video! Instead turn over your old display and using something push the speaker grill from the front side. My speaker back separated from the front and I could see the copper coils inside! Again, I thought I had screwed up, after putting it back in the new display assembly it worked fine.
  • Since the fit between the old base and the new display assembly is not that great, I found that the screw holes were a bit off. Not all the screws went in vertically, some got angled a bit.
  • The head of the T4 Torx screwdriver provided by the vendor started to wear off halfway through my screwing in! You are better off buying a high quality screwdriver set, which is what I am doing too.
  • My Moto G had been totally dead. So on powering it by USB, the white LED would just blink for 10 minutes. Only after that did it show the zero percent battery and much later I was able to boot up Android.
  • I noticed that the Moto G was becoming uncomfortably hot! Again I thought that maybe I had screwed up the battery or a heatsink was loose somewhere. It turns out that I was using an old USB cable that was causing this. Who would have thought a USB cable can cause overheating. Changing the cable cooled down the phone.

Conclusion

Replacing the Moto G display is not very difficult. I highly recommend getting a proper high-quality screwdriver kit that includes T4 Torx. Please take note of the above points and be very careful with connector ribbon cables. The display I replaced works, but the colors are a bit washed out. Other than that, it seems to work fine and the rest of the phone is also working fine.

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