Still confused about the “digitizer” on a Smartphone?

Good morning,

One of the most popular blog posts on my blog for the last 4 years is titled “What is an iPhone Digitizer”. Here’s a few tidbits of new information that might help you out if you’re interested!

We here at Mission Repair are experts and very familiar with iPhone digitizers, glass, LCDs and screens. We repair them by the thousands every month. Let’s see if we can demonstrate what the digitizer is here under a glass panel of an older iPhone screen:

This is the digitizer on an iPhone!

This image is from the “inside” of the part, and the digitizer is attached UNDER the glass cover. It’s a transparent electronic component that senses the touch of a human finger through the glass, and is designed to allow the unit to be controlled by a fingertip. This is one of the “inputs” of the device and it’s very thin and almost impossible to see once installed.

One major point – and a question that we get asked all the time – is that you cannot replace the digitizer alone. Since it’s really part of the glass (because it’s fused from the inside) in the event of a touch failure it needs to be replaced with the glass and vice versa. So if you have a cracked iPhone glass, you’re going to get a new digitizer as well. If you have an iPhone that doesn’t respond to touch, you’ll also get a new glass. It’s just the way it’s designed.

Furthermore, in later years, manufacturers like Apple and Samsung have started fusing the outer glass with the digitizer, and then the LCD to the digitizer. There are several phone models (like the Samsung Galaxy S5 for example) that will have all three components replaced at the same time if any one of them fails. These manufacturers did this to ensure that no dust would EVER get between the glass/digitizer and the LCD…an issue that was prevalent BEFORE the assemblies were used. There are some variations to these assemblies, but once they are assembled in a clean room facility they are not intended to be disassembled (i.e. removing the glass/digitizer form the LCD for example) I know that this can get confusing at times, so you can call us if you have any questions.

You might see the earlier assemblies marketed as:

  • Phone glass
  • Phone digitizer
  • Phone touch screen
  • Phone glass screen
  • Phone screen
  • Phone touch panel

For all intents and purposes, these terms are all interchangeable and are all the same thing. Are you in need of one of these parts? Here’s a list of glass/digitizer repairs that we sell here at Mission Repair:

Remember, you might see these glass panels for sale cheap – be sure to inquire about the required digitizer that is fused to the glass from the factory – without it, the glass is useless. You cannot replace the glass or “remove” your good digitizer and reinstall it onto your iPhone. It just doesn’t work! Additionally there are lots of parts on the market that are “glass and digitizer” being sold without the LCD. Take our earlier example of the Samsung Galaxy S5. You can get a “glass only” part on eBay for about $5. Just FYI, there is NO WAY for you to replace that part at home…and if you attempt it, your phone will NEVER look the same again and it certainly may never work correctly again. Buyer beware! These assemblies are built together and must stay together. I hope this information helps!

Best Ryan

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s