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DIY: How to easily replace the battery cover on your Nexus 4 [VIDEO]


It wasn’t too long ago my shiny new Nexus 4 and like so many others, the pure Google device took a spill, shattering the back glass into a million pieces. Needless to say, I wasn’t too happy about it and you guys may remember my rant post vocalizing my extreme displeasure with the Nexus 4’s build materials.

After pouting for a good couple of days, I finally ordered a replacement back (aesthetics aside, the camera housing was also shattered, rendering it useless). I found what seemed to be an affordable replacement on eBay for $48. The reason it was so cheap is because it was devoid of NFC or wireless charging — 2 features I never used on my sexy Nexy to being with so, they wouldn’t be missed. For those that do live by ’em, you can find used Nexus 4 back covers on eBay for around 40 that come with wireless charging and NFC.

Nexus 4 replacement battery cover DSC09816

I’ve always been a firm believer that sometimes we go through things in our life so that we can help others going through similar. That being said, I decided to record the process of replacing the back battery cover of my Nexus 4 for posterity’s sake, and so that everyone can see how quick and easily it is to replace. While not exactly “cheap,” at the very least I can resume taking bathroom selfies and uploading pics of my lunch to my social networks (cuz if you didn’t share your meal online, did you ever really eat it?).

The steps to replace the Nexus 4 battery cover are so simple, even a caveman could do it. Before you start, you’re going to want to wear some protective eye-wear. I found that the cracked glass on the back of my Nexus could pop off at a moment’s notice, sending little glass shards into the eye. That’s enough to ruin anyone’s day. Other than a simple T5 torx screwdriver, no other tools are required to remove the back cover although, a butter knife, pocket knife, guitar pick, or credit card could make things a little easier. If you haven’t cut your fingernails in a couple of days, you should be good. Now that we’ve covered prep work, let’s go through the steps:

  1. Remove SIM card tray
  2. Remove screws using T5 torx screwdriver
  3. Remove back cover, starting with the bottom corners, working your way to the volume rocker side
  4. Remove power button and volume rocker from the broken cover
  5. Slide buttons into the new cover
  6. Snap new back cover onto the Nexus 4
  7. Pat yourself on the back and make yourself a snack

Nexus 4 replacement battery cover DSC09817

That, folks, is all she wrote. You can find a T5 torx screwdriver just about anywhere, but if you’re already buying a replacement battery cover online, might as well save the trip to the hardware store. Heck, if you really wanted to save some money, you could remove the broken battery cover and snap a nice slim case on the phone and onlookers would be none the wiser.

[T5 Torx screwdriver $2.66 on Amazon | Nexus 4 replacement back cover $47.85 eBay]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. A heat gun might have helped.

    1. agreed or hair dryer in a crunch

  2. just gave a quick search on ebay and found a “like new” auction, original part with wireless charging & nfc at about $58. so.. if you’re willing to spend $40, you might as well go all the way (you cheap basterd :P )

    1. Didn’t realize it didn’t come with wireless charging or NFC until AFTER I received it (I’m a dummy) :p

      1. We know…

  3. Did not realize it had a glass back. That is stupid. Did they not see the failure of the glass back on iphone 4? Nexus 4 seems to be the worst nexus of all nexus devices. Could have called that when I found it was coming from LG.

    Ahh well, one can only dream of what the X phone will bring. Surely not a glass back.

    1. I don’t know I think this nexus is much better than the galaxy nexus. this time around you at least get current high end hardware and don’t have to settle for “last year’s internals”

    2. If you use a case (like most people I know), the glass back means absolutely nothing. It doesn’t look or function any better or worse than any other type of back (although it allows signal better than aluminum!). It’s hard to justify NOT having a case, when it means replacing a $10-$20 object instead of replacing an object that costs at least $300.

    3. I’m quite confused how you can make an informed decision on the nexus 4 being the worst nexus ever when you didn’t even know it had a glass back. Personally I feel the N4 is the best phone I’ve ever owned. It has almost all the specs of a top of the range phone at the price of a mid range one. Throw on top of that the latest version of Android and it’s easy to see it’s the best Nexus so far.

      1. I concur. My Nexus 4 is protected, and I actually forget I have a glass back as it has been protected since a I got my first case for it…..

  4. Good video Chris.

    I just pulled the back off mine the other day, to disconnect the battery in an attempt to fix the Red Light of Death (basically a randomly bricked N4, hope if never happens).

    The two torx screws are cake with the right bit.

    Actually pulling the back off — was a b(#&@. The screws aren’t even needed, that thing is on so tightly. It probably took me 10 minutes of careful prying to finally get the back off.

    (Battery reset didn’t help and Google is sending me a replacement N4)

    1. This is so true. I didn’t even bother putting the screws back in on my video. Lol There’s no point.

      I wish someone would make different battery covers. Maybe one out of aluminum or just a cheap shiny plastic that wont break (in which case, I’d put a screen protector over it).

      Seems the Nexus 4 wasn’t successful enough to catch the attention of accessories manufacturers.

      1. Using the old back for molding it should not to hard to make a aluminum back via lost cast.

  5. I expected this to be an HTC One unboxing lol

    1. lol… He just does a 2nd HTC unboxing? That would have been hilarious.

      1. “first, I open my toolbox” Chris opens his HTC One box, end of video.

    2. LOL at least the htc one ‘chime’ made it’s way into the video!

  6. WHAT !?!?! No nipples !! Well, I’m out ;)

    1. Nipples… Without them, titties would be pointless.

      1. We’d still manage to find something to do with them

  7. Hey Chris, what are you doing with the broken back?

    I have been waiting forever for someone to get creative and make a nexus 4 case with the original square back design. Let me know if you are going to toss it. I will take it off your hands.

    1. I was hoping the glass was only a layer, and then I was going to pull the glass off, sand it down, and plasti-dip the whole thing. Unfortunately, it’s not. Hit me up via email [email protected] and I’ll mail it off to ya. :)

  8. Dafuq? $40+ for a freakin’ half functional back? Dang… I’m kinda scared to own a N4 now.

    1. Just put it in a clear case and you’ll be fine. Same as with any other phone made of glass.

  9. Hey @Gamercore:disqus you still mad at your Nexy? In the One unboxing video you were SO glad to get rid of it. I flip back and forth between my N4 and my Note 2, still always seem to miss the N4. The blacks not being so dark on the N4 always bugged me but Frano Kernel fixed that and BAM, I was back to loving it.

    1. I’m going to love my Nexus 4 once that new Paranoid Android ROM update comes out. Then I’ll probably be using it as my weekend device again :)

  10. where can i get a front glass? mines trashed

  11. Now put one of these on the back… they are nice….


  12. So dropping the phone what you claim was only 2 inches caused damage consistent with a hammer hit?

  13. Way to make lemonade out of your lemons, Chris :)

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