DIY: Give your iPhone a mirrored rear panel

Replace your iPhone's backplate with a mirror, or any rear panel of your choosing with this quick and easy mod.

Rumor Has It host Emily Dreyfuss shows off an iPhone 4S with a mirrored rear-panel. Sharon Vaknin/CNET

There's not much you can do in the way of customizing your iPhone's hardware. Unless you bedazzle it with Swarovski crystals, apply a GelaSkin, or give it a funky case, your iPhone will continue to stand undistinguished among its cookie-cutter siblings.

iFixit, a Web site that offers tools and parts to allow owners to repair, mod, and upgrade their iPhones, has another option for customizing your iPhone: unique rear panels.

After seeing iFixit's mirrored rear panel, I knew I had to have it. No, it's not a vanity thing -- I'm just tired of firing up the front-facing camera or squinting into the black rear-panel just to see if there's something stuck in my teeth.

Installation is simple, and requires just a replacement backplate and a Philips screwdriver (or a pentalobe screwdriver for the newer iPhone models.)

Watch the video to get started:


You'll need:

  • An iPhone 4 or 4S
  • A screwdriver that matches the screws next to your dock connector (Philips or pentalobe)
  • A lens duster or hand-pumped air blower
  • A new rear panel (transparent, mirrored, or replacement)
  • About 5 minutes

Situate yourself in a dust-free environment. To install your new rear panel, turn your phone on silent and power down. Then remove the two screws next to the dock connector and put them somewhere safe.

Push up on your iPhone's rear panel so that it slides a couple millimeters, then lift to remove. With a lens duster or a hand-pumped air blower, clean the lens and the internal parts. Finally, remove the protective plastic from your new rear panel and slide it onto your iPhone. Replace the screws and you're done!

The finished product is so seamless, my iPhone now goes case-free. (Besides, how else would I show off my iPhone mod?)

Note that this mod completely voids your warranty, so don't expect to get Genius Bar service for an iPhone with a third-party rear-panel installed.

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