This repair guide was authored by the iFixit staff and hasn’t been endorsed by Google. Learn more about our repair guides here.
Follow this guide to remove or replace the glass back cover for the Pixel 3. This procedure is necessary to access the Pixel’s internals.
You’ll need some double-sided tape (such as Tesa tape) in order to adhere the transferred components.
What you need
Apply a suction cup to the heated bottom edge of the back cover.
Lift on the suction cup with strong, steady force to create a gap.
Insert an opening pick into the gap.
The initial opening/insert is the hardest part of this repair, and if you end up having to use a flat-head screwdriver (etc) to get the first gap opened, you’ll scratch the phone. But it works.
I don’t recommend using a screwdriver. I tried this and it shattered the glass in that area. I replaced the battery on my Pixel 1 recently and noted that heating the FRONT glass on that phone enough to get a gap for one of the pics takes a considerable amount of time AND patience. I was one of the few who didn’t break or otherwise damage the glass in that process. I would say the same rule applies here. Allow for significant time and patiences to heat the old adhesive enough to get a pick inside the cover.
Definitely, this opening/insert is the hardest part of the procedure. I was unable to open even a slight separation with a suction cup and even with tons of heat from a hair dryer. What worked really well, and what I would highly recommend to others who experience really strong adhesive, is to use a small X-acto knife with a #16 blade. Make sure it’s a #16 (find on Amazon) because it differs greatly in angle and rigidity from the usual #11 blade. The sharpness of the blade makes it really easy to find the crack and open a gap, where you can then insert a pick with no problem.
I used a typical razor blade (like Matt and Rick and Greg) pressing the whole of the blade against the edge (blade parallel and flush against the back cover). The razor slipped under enough that I could get a pick in. (No damage, but when I first tried the corner of the razor, a small cut was immediately evident. Only use the whole blade.) Then, I used blue picks exclusively.
I'm very curious about the dental floss method. I'll try that if I need to get back inside.
I really wanted to level off the back of the phone when pulling on the suction cup in this step, but found it was actually pretty easy once I used the opening tool to push down on the edge of the bezel, at the crack, barely putting any force on the back of the phone at all (just to keep it steady).
I have about a 2 year old Pixel 3. iOpener didn’t work at all on this step, but once I broke out the hair dryer, I was able to get the phone hot enough to insert the pick (no screwdriver or xacto knife needed)
I’m having trouble with the iOpener too. It is frustrating because I practiced on a bricked iPhone earlier this week and it was effortless. My Pixel 3 is also about 2 years old. Out of curiosity, were you replacing the charging assembly because of the charging cables fitting too loosely on the phone or for some other reason?
I used a stanley knive to get started and then a combo of opener and plektrums.
All went well till I used to much force on the camera corner and broke the back into lots of small pieces. Be careful on that corner, people.
But the new camera does focus, so for a first attempt at fixing a phone I am happy.
I heated the bottom up with the Iopener and then used a rectangular razor blade and the suction cup to lift the bottom. Place the entire blade edge into the crack and push/pry while lifting with the suction cup. As soon as you have a gap start to open, have a second person insert a pick into the corner. It was actually really easy. I had given up after a couple of tries without a blade. My Pixel 3 is 2 years old.
Agreed with many other comments here. My Pixel 3 is two years old and neither the iopener nor a blow dryer were capable of loosening it enough. I ended up using a VERY hot iopener for a couple of minutes, the suction cup, and then a wide-bladed razer blade (about 80% width of bottom edge to spread out the stress and prevent risk of fracturing the rear glass panel). Once adding the razer blade I was able to get the pick in and follow the rest of the instructions as written.
I also had to follow this process but resorted to a heat gun on its lowest setting as I couldn’t get the iOpener hot enough (I was afraid of overheating and bursting it). Other how-to videos also show using a thin piece of plastic or metal to slide into the corner, saving substantial time.
Helped me to notice that the focus here is to lift in the center (like right over the USB C connector). Was able to get it with just the iOpener and pushing down on the rest of the phone with the pry tool. My phone is over 2 years old though and it took about 50 minutes of working / reheating / repeating
Destroyed the glass back trying to take it off. This is not an easy phone to take apart.
It would be nice if there was a heads up that the rear of the phone is glass….. Phone piping hot glass shattered and splintered
Good suggestion! I'll add that into the step.
The Jimmy tool from the iFixit toolkit worked like a freakin’ charm. Took me 10 mins to open the phone and it came out unscathed.
I used dental floss to cut the adhesive and slide it open. Just wiggle it back and forth from the corners until you cut enough that you can switch to a pick. Helps to have a extra hand to hold the phone.
Brother, dental floss was an absolute godsend!!! After 4 hours with the IOpener and attempting to use a heat gun which I balked from out of fear I came across this comment. Teased it around a corner and was then able to saw away at the adhesive. A lot of patience but no heat or potentially damaging tools needed. Thanks!
With the floss, I wasn't getting enough "sawing" motion as it just slipped through my fingers too easily (my phone is about 4-5 years old I think, I bought it used). So I tied a few knots around a pen (the kind with a gripper, so the floss won't slide off) and it was a lifesaver. After about 3 hours trying other ways, the floss/pen saw got it open enough to stick the picks in and eventually open it up!! Thank you to everyone who commented these tips!!
I have a 2-3 year old phone. The “heating pad” and blue picks did not work. I tried for two hours. Two weeks later I tried again using a hair dryer on high heat and low fan, and a rectangular utility razor blade. Start at the bottom of the phone, heat, and insert the razor blade into the gap and use it to cut the adhesive back a little at a time. Do not insert it more than about a 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch. Once you start getting a separation, use the blue picks to hold it open. Go up both sides an inch or two on both sides at a time. Do not pry the back open more than an 1/8 of an inch or so until you get it separated all the way around. Be patient. Work slowly. This took about 30 minutes once I got the hang of it. Do NOT pull the cover away from the phone after you separate it all the way around!! Read the instructions several times. There is a cable to the finger print sensor attached to the cover!
Re-read these entire set of instructions and ALL of the comments TWICE before you start.
I used and iOpener and the iFixit tool (the one with the metal spatula). Ended up inserting about 10 picks, but it worked.
I couldn’t get the pick in so I tried the sharper pry tool. Got it in and slid it sideways towards the corner —- BLAM, the back shattered. Not a good home repair experience.
Similar experience with others, iOpener would not heat up the phone enough to separate the adhesive. Had to use a hair dryer to finally insert the blue pick. After sliding the pick past the corner, the back glass scattered… Time to get a new phone and give up on this battery replacement i guess.
On a 3 years old Pixel 3 phone, after unsuccessfully trying iOpener and the suction cup, I used a piece of dental floss, and it worked perfectly.
To make the process easier - tie little loops on both ends of the floss, put a finger or a screwdriver through the loop to help pulling the floss. Pull it through to one side and then to another, continue until you’re 1/2 inch in. At this point it should be possible to insert a pick
This was the hardest step. I could not get the pick in at all. I tried dental floss and it slid in no problem. I eventually stuck the very tip of a razor blade in which allowed me to slide in a pick. Also be very careful when sliding the picks around as my wife broke the back glass of her phone, try to keep pressure as even as possible without bending the glass much.
I like the dental floss idea. I set edges of the phone-back and also the blunt metal tool on an electric cooktop on low heat, and the adhesive softened enough to be workable. SAFETY TIP: the tool and phone were hot to touch, I wore cotton gloves throughout this task.
Can confirm, with a 4-year-old Pixel 3, it was not possible to get the back cover off with any amount of force, heat, and the blue picks. I managed to get started by using single-edge box cutter razor blades and a hair dryer on high--got in just a bit under the left corner, then added a second blade along the bottom edge, and a third near the right corner, and that gave me enough space to get a blue pick in and start replacing the razors with blue picks one by one, and then proceeded as per the instructions. Dental floss is a neat idea; I wish I'd tried that--the razors didn't do any damage, but I was worried about the possibility.
Agreed; a 4cm section of utility knife was required along with heat/alcohol/patience to break the initial seal.
Managed to do it without cracking anything, but sweated through this step quite prolifically.
3.5 year old phone. Just wanted to confirm that dental floss, combined with the iOpener, does the trick to get the first pick in.
I was able to slide the floss under the bottom right corner if you are looking at the phone. I alternated between sawing with the floss and applying heat with the iOpener. Eventually I was able to get a pick in that corner and was able to remove the rest of the adhesive by applying heat with the iOpener and sawing with additional picks around the perimeter of the phone.
My Pixel 3 is 4 years old. I tried using the iOpener heat pad for 2 minutes. Didn't work. Then I tried using a heat gun on low for about 30 seconds. Didn't work. Then I used the heat gun on high for about a minute, then the suction pulled it off. I used the picks to peel the rest off. I thought about using the floss which would have work well. I also though about letting the phone sit in the car when it's hot outside. The key is to be patient and try not to use something besides the plastic tools. If I can do it then anyone can. Heat guns are very cheap and a good tool to have.
After unsuccessfully trying all prying tools including metal ones - I finally hit the motherlode with the most inane thing possible-a stiff plastic collarbone-it has a slight angle at one end that gives it the required amount of rigidity and prying power.
Yes, a heat gun is an absolute must!
I've ordered the battery replacement kit, it will arrive next week. I keep my house cool in fall/winter, so I'm a bit concerned about how well I'll be able to heat the adhesive. I'm considering heating the whole phone in my convection oven's "warm" function. Its thermostat compares well with a meat thermometer, I might try my lab grade thermometer too.
I see "The phone is designed to work best in ambient temperatures between 32° and 95° F (0° and 35° C), and should be stored between ambient temperatures of -4° and 113° F (-20° and 45° C)." 113° F seems pretty low, perhaps that's when the adhesive begins to soften appreciably. I was considering starting at 120F. (And trying "toast" if it defeats me.)
Experience, suggestions, good luck wishes welcome.
The temperatures you listed are operating temperatures—once the Pixel exceeds those temperatures, it will shut down and show a heat warning symbol. Ideally, you want to heat just the adhesive perimeter. The back cover should be slightly too hot to the touch—aim for about 80°C.
3.5 year old phone. Thank the gods you guys recommended floss. I broke 2 nails trying the picks. Unfortunately I used extra slippy floss so I couldn't even tie it into loops to help. Even with the floss I couldn't saw my way through or get a pick in so I ended up just adding more and more floss (and more and more hairdryer) until I could get the pick in. After that it was just careful muscle.
Despite several frustrating tries across several days, I had zero success creating a molecule of seam gap to begin to remove back cover without breaking it! Suction cup ineffective (needs 3rd? hand to pull-and-insert pick); heated iOpener doesn't U-fold to cover perimeter (soon cools off in 63F room); hair dryer likewise too-brief heat; Exacto or utility knife blades useless. Dental floss no luck. But only! once I tried keeping the Px3 on my electric 1980s food warming tray (Lo heat ..hands resting on insulating hot pads ..it also! keeps iOpener hot) ..would dental floss fit into corners (No chance midpoint at charge port per foto); then blue pick. But! floss was too slippery to pull/grip strongly ..one must tie loops at each end, then use old-style 'peg' clothespins (or pen with clip) to roll-up floss length to enable pulling right at insertion point. With fingers/hands preoccupied manipulating floss, it was awkward to simultaneously tug suction cup upward effectively at all. Didn't break rear cover ;-)
I had no luck with just a suction cup and heat. Heat and a razor blade as others commented worked well; HOWEVER, while working the blue opening picks around the bottom I cracked the glass. The back glass is more delicate than I anticipated. :-( Be very careful/gentle with the back glass! If I attempt this with another glass-backed phone I will plan to work on an actively heated pad for this step.
While the text is accurate, I found this image to be misleading - it appears as if the finger print cable is attached to the right side (from a back-of-phone reference). Only upon close image inspection is it clear that the cable has already been disconnected from the connector that is positioned just inside and above the power button.
Slice the adhesive along the bottom edge of the phone and around the right corner.
Leave a pick in the bottom edge to prevent the adhesive from re-sealing.
The back cover is glass! I was sure it was some kind of nice plastic. It's probably obvious to a lot of people, and it's very obvious in hindsight, after shattering it. But I'm writing this in case anyone else is oblivious to the last decade of smartphone design. I got impatient and flexed it out as I cut the glue. Don't do that. Carefully work your way around and avoid applying any significany bending forces to the cover.
Yup, shattered the back of my phone while trying to follow these instructions. You can’t flex the back cover much at all or it is toast.
Someone else had said to use floss to start the cutting I found this to be the most useful. After I heated the phone with a hairdryer I would cut some of the adhesive at the bottom corner after sawing away for a bit I was able to move it enough to fit one of these picks in then I slowly reheated around the edge as I slowly moved more picks and slowly cut away at the adhesive .
Didn't have guitar picks. I grabbed some plastic packaging from my recycle bin and cut it into a bunch of triangles to hold the gap open as I worked my way around.
Leaving the pick in the bottom as described while using another to slide up for the next steps shattered the back cover - these instructions should be clear to only leave the pick in the bottom with as little inserted into the phone as possible as it does not take much flex at all to shatter. Also beware that there are no replacement back covers available from iFixit either :(
Heat the right edge with an iOpener and continue slicing the adhesive with an opening pick.
What is the required temperature to soften the glue? Can I just use a small bag filled with boiling water or a heat gun.
The iOpener is a plastic bag filled with what appears to be water so probably, yes.
Once you have sliced around the perimeter of the phone, carefully lift the left edge of the back cover.
Flip the back cover along its long axis and rest it so that the fingerprint sensor cable is not strained.
Yes, per Step 7 foto, lift rear cover to vertical only! along the left edge (camera, power/volume) ..while also keeping the opposite long edge down (almost touching wireless coil) ..as left/camera edge rises (and right/lower edge slides leftward), take care to keep lower/right edge no further rightward than midway across coil (foto) ..then gently rotate now-lower right edge leftward 'clockwise', lay it flat without straining cable. [When my rear cover eventually suddenly released from the perimeter adhesive while still pulling on it, the upward force almost yanked the cover off cable; got lucky]
[this updates my minutes-ago post ..apparently one can't edit after 5min? ..or delete/replace with this?]
Remove the two 4.1 mm-long Phillips screws securing the fingerprint connector bracket.
A magnetic screwdriver tip helped here.
If you purchase iFixit’s kit for this replacement, their included driver is magnetic. Helped immensely!
after replacing my camera, my screen had a big green/white vertical stripe. I didn’t see the disclaimer about overtightening these screws. I think it may be related.
Use the point of a spudger to slide the fingerprint connector bracket out from under the NFC coil.
Remove the fingerprint connector bracket.
Re-inserting this is tricky and requires pretty good dexterity. The shiny metal frame of the wireless charger is also not held down, so you may wish to gently apply pressure to it as you try to re-position the connector bracket.
Use the point of a spudger to pry up and disconnect the fingerprint connector from its socket.
Remove the back cover.
When reassembling is it better to first attach the new adhesive back gasket to the phone back or the phone chassis frame?
It depends on the adhesive. Carefully align the adhesive to the phone by matching the contours. Note which adhesive side is backed by a clear liner, and which side is backed by a colored liner. The clear liner should be removed first. Whichever component the exposed adhesive faces should be the first surface to apply to.
Hope that helps!
1) I recommend attaching the adhesive to the Phone frame and not the back panel. As you attach, you can more easily see the gaps and guide the adhesive along the groove, leaving equal space all around.
2) To transfer the fingerprint sensor, you will need double-sticky tape to make a new gasket. Put the tape on the back from the inside, and trim with a blade to make the sensor hole. To attach the sensor, place it on something small to raise it off your working surface, then lower the back over it. You’ll be able to see the sensor alignment as you lower the back, which helps get a good position.
Oh, and be prepared: Removing the old adhesive is teeeeedious!! It will take you some time. :-b Alcohol is not a strong solvent, so don’t expect it to remove much; it is mostly for cleaning afterward. In the end, I used one of iFixit’s flat metal tools from the big toolkit to remove the final remains. Its was blunt enough to not cut metal shavings as I cleaned.
I used “medicinal” 91% Isopropyl Alcohol and about 30 Qtips to do the final cleaning of the adhesive, that is, after using a razor blade and the supplied tweezers to remove most of the tape. Patience and many Qtips soaked in IPA removed most of the remaining glue and film.
Greg B -
I ended up reusing the original adhesive as it was in pretty good shape. So far, no problems.
Does your IF356-119-1, Google Pixel 3 Rear Cover Adhesive, template use 2 sided pressure sensitive tape? Do I simply align it on the back cover and then press it to the device to reassemble the unit? If so, how long til the back cover is “glued” to the unit?
The rear cover adhesive is indeed two-sided PSA (pressure sensitive adhesive). Apply firm even pressure for a minute to bond the adhesive to the unit.
When scraping the adhesive off the back cover be careful and don’t apply too much pressure (and/or position the cover against the surface so that it’s supported against the tool used), especially in the corners, or the glass cover rounded edges could break.
Agree. BEWARE of SCRATCHING off the PAINT from the BACK COVER when cleaning !
The back cover is painted glass it seems - using a razor blade to scrape off adhesive also scratches off the paint on the inside of the back cover, under the adhesive, and the clear lines it creates are visible from the outside of the back case. If you are using a phone case, this won’t matter.
Greg B -
My battery swelled and did all the hard work getting started popping the back open so I didn’t need the iOpener to get the back off, but now the iOpener is handy to heat up the sticky foamy factory original adhesive.
I found isopropanol ineffective. I found heat softens it considerably. Just very warm, like hot water warm, is effective. Use tweezers or a plastic blade to help pull it off. Metal blades will either gouge the plastic or, worse, create metal shavings that will wreak havoc.
Are there any solvents other than isopropanol that work and won’t harm the plastic? How do pros speed up this step?
I think pros often use heating pads or special jigs. They’d set the temperature, set the phone on the pad, and let the phone heat up for a few minutes. Heat guns are also a popular choice.
I found that an opening pick worked well to scrape the glue off the inside of the curved edges of the back cover
The adhesive on mine took some effort to clean off all the way. During reassembly I did notice that my replacement back panel adhesive was larger than I expected and based off of product photos it looks like I received the 3 XL adhesive instead of the 3. That ended up having me fiddle with the adhesive to try and get it to fit right and unfortunately the camera side now has a bit of a gap that I can still press down on without having it stick. I’ll see how it stays but I fear I might have to get another adhesive. The guide was very helpful though!
The actual back glass cover part is missing from the parts list and it appears iFixit doesn't sell it anymore.
It used to be there, and I ordered one months ago and used this guide successfully then. I broke it again and the part is no more.
Follow these steps if you need to transfer the fingerprint sensor to your replacement back cover.
To reassemble your device, follow these instructions in reverse order.
Repair didn’t go as planned? Check out our Google Pixel 3 Answers community for troubleshooting help.
Follow these steps if you need to transfer the fingerprint sensor to your replacement back cover.
To reassemble your device, follow these instructions in reverse order.
Repair didn’t go as planned? Check out our Google Pixel 3 Answers community for troubleshooting help.
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My back cover would not come off by just using an iOpener. After getting a heat gun and applying the heat to the bottom corners I was able to get the adhesive weak enough to pry open.
How do you ensure the back cover is waterproof after putting it on? The precut adhesive card turns out just to be a roll of tesa tape, it would be nice if it actually had round cutouts, or large rectangular sections to custom cut to ensure water proofing around fingerprint sensor, and camera flash led.
Unfortunately, there is no easy way to ensure water resistance after a repair, as the factory adhesive is applied using specialty tools. I’d suggest sealing it the best you can with adhesive and using a water resistant case.
On the adhesive product page, you can find the adhesive card under the first pull-down menu. The adhesive card does have rounded corners and cutouts for this purpose.
I bought the back glass and followed this guide. But the guide glosses over the hardest part — transferring the diffuser and camera lens! The back cover doesn’t come with the adhesive for those, so I’m stuck trying to figure out how to hack together sticky stuff that’ll make a decent seal around those parts.
Sorry to hear that! You will need some double-sided adhesive such as Tesa tape (listed in the parts section) to adhere the diffuser and lens. I’ve adjusted the introduction to mention this.
Would you please also provide an explanation of the steps for removing the flash diffuser, camera lens cover, etc.
Note: I see the details for removing the fingerprint sensor have been documented elsewhere (Google Pixel 3 Fingerprint Sensor Replacement), but it would be beneficial to include that information here (or at least a link).
Just attempted on my Pixel 3 (to replace a battery / device never previously opened) that I bought shortly after it came out. BEWARE adhesive seems to become more permanent after a significant amount of time. Heat gun like above would be appropriate, probably, as I couldn't get the back off with just the hot pack. I ended up breaking the back. Easy, just tedious, especially on older, unopened devices.
TODO: Improve reassembly instructions, transference of old parts. The flash diffuser, camera housing and fingerprint sensor need more clear instruction. The back adhesive needs better instruction too.
Also, the replacement comes with a patch of adhesive but the instructions suggest to buy a Tesa pre-cut adhesive but it seems like the Tesa pre-cut adhesive is a "nice to have". So clarifying this would be good too.
The standard picks are too thick to get into the seam. I used (against the instructions) a metal Jimmy to create the smallest entry point, however it seems the antistatic bag the battery comes in would be thin and rigid enough to start to get in. Maybe a piece of blister pack/ clamshell?
Older devices may require 2 or more minutes with a very hot iOpener. Also note, the photo shows the opener on the FRONT of the phone. The heat needs to be applied to the back of the device!
Rick Johnson - Yanıt
I just realized that I was trying to pry apart the front of my Pixel 3… and have separated the class from the display. ??♂️ Even though the rest of the directions show the back, it would be nice for the first picture to also show the back, just to be safe.
JR Raith -
Agreed, I’ve done exactly the same and completely broken my display. I probably should’ve paid more attention to the initial steps before diving in but the step could do with a new picture for sure.
Daniel Fryer -
Thanks for the comments! I’ll add a note in the step warning people to make sure to pry the back cover, not the screen.
Arthur Shi -
I prefer my favorite opening method with something like this. Dental floss. So thin it can slide in the gap. A little sawing to get it far enough past the edge to lift and get the first pick in.
John Hoffstetter - Yanıt
I found another wonderful tool. I used something like medicine packaging which is aluminum foil with plastic. It’s thin and strong enough!
Christie Lin - Yanıt
I also went for the hairdryer, dental floss, and then the provided picks and this worked. Not easy to get that initial seal broken but once that's done the rest is pretty easy.
James - Yanıt
I needed 20 nerve wracking minutes with a hairdryer
Amy schneider - Yanıt
My battery had bulged and opened the case for me!
Warmed it up a bit with hairdryer
Floss helped also.
David Lincer - Yanıt