Removing The Air Gap From An IPad Display

Some recent models of the Apple iPad have a rather annoying air gap in between the display and the outer touch surface. This can be particularly frustrating for users that press hard or use the Apple Pencil regularly. It is possible to eliminate this gap in the iPad 9, at least, as demonstrated by [serg1us_eng]. (Warning: TikTok)

Doing the job well takes some finesse, however, and plenty of fancy equipment. The iPad’s front touch glass was first covered to avoid scratches during the work, and then heated to 60 C to remove it. The display was also removed, with several glued-down ribbon cables having to be carefully pried off to avoid damage. A layer of transparent material was then cut to size to fit in the gap between the display and the front glass, with the stack laminated together. Getting this result without air bubbles or dust particles spoiling the result involved the use of a heated press and a clean room, which are now widely used in phone repair shops around the world.

For the average user, it might not be a big deal. For power users and touch-and-feel fanatics, though, there’s great appeal in an iPad without this annoying flaw. Video after the break.


Making iPad 9 without airgap 💨 #diy #tech #techtok #apple #ipad9

♬ оригинальный звук – Sergius

31 thoughts on “Removing The Air Gap From An IPad Display

    1. Haha, no joke.
      Opening most modern touch screen devices is a real challenge these days. When manufacturers started using strong adhesives instead of screws and clips, it made opening them substantially more difficult.

      I can see why they use adhesives, it makes the device much more durable, easier to design, and takes up less space, but man does it hose over those who like to repair themselves, or tinker with things.

      1. ITS mostly some Type of caulk. I use little Drops of benzene, caulk remover, NAFTA … It destroys the Bonding and Turns it in some Type of jelly Like. *

        And for gluing i use cheap silicone caulk in a syringe.

        * Last year i used household Ethanol (Not Isopropanol) to Clean my Smartphone and leaved to Long. It destroyed the Touchscreen. I Had the ghost Touch Problem after cleaning.

          1. It’s not that the USA can’t produce it’s own goods it’s that it’s greedy companies like apple would rather produce it’s products in countries that have very low wages. They can pay a person two dollars a day instead of $20 an hour

    2. I had an LG G7 a few years (half a decade???) ago and its battery started losing capacity in less than a year. I though hey, I’m really handy, how hard can it be?

      Unfortunately the back glass panel is held on by a perimiter of tape that is extremely hard to align by hand. The kit I ordered had two of the intricate tape loops, and the best I managed was only having one mangled section. Unfortunately, I started seeing gaps between the frame and the back panel within days, and thereafter I kept it together by keeping it in a case. I suppose that would have made for easily swappable subsequent batteries had I kept it longer than another ~18months.

      And that’s a far easier repair than a tablet’s screen. Adhesive assembly is the bane of repairability.

      1. how did you replace it? I thought several times about changng the pouch cell in a battery but read often that the chip doesn’t allow it or aren’ resettable. In the video above you can cleary see two big Pouch cells in the Ipad.

        1. You just unplug the battery connector from the logic board and plug the new one in. If the manufacturer is Apple, they may have serialized the parts so that replacing the battery will remove the battery health indicator. If that’s the case and you want to keep the battery health, you need to desolder the battery itself from the BMS and solder a new one on.

  1. Giving Apple money for defected device THEN removing responsibility from Apple by voiding your warranty, is everything what sound mind is not. Yes i applaud skill of doing this without damaging device but really, main action should be protest, boycott, regulate.

      1. NO this is not their CHOICE, this is their MANIPULATION perpetrated on YOU ( customer ) .

        They did not do that in past, so they are trying what they get away with, because they need to cut costs. Price is higher anyway. So instead them giving us ATLEAST same product as previous gen, they gave us WORSE product for more money, in capitalism this is called scam.

        1. > NO this is not their CHOICE, this is their MANIPULATION perpetrated on YOU

          No, it’s their choice. Just like it’s your choice to buy someone else’s product. Apple is not a monopoly and is not dictating or forcing you.

          I don’t quite understand what your problem is with Apple.

          The only scam here seems to be that you continue to buy their products, even while you don’t like them, and then talk trash about them behind their backs.

          Remember: when you buy something, you are entering a contract between a seller and a buyer. Why do you not honour the contract, while expecting Apple to do even better than the contract?

          In case you don’t actually buy Apple’s products: then what are you complaining about?

          This is called capitalism, or more nuanced: consumerism.

          1. You are manipulator AND liar.

            It is not called consumerism it is called manipulation, cost cutting, forcing you to their ecosytem so PRICE OF SWITCHING IS HIGHER for you ( instead of using / supporting open standards as other manufacturers do ), ……..

            I can buy ONLY what manufacturers make, THAT IS CONSUMERISM.

        2. Every manufacturer does this. Apple has had devices with and without the gap in the past.

          No worse than Samsung, every other model is missing something or has a stupid feature that makes it objectively worse: my wife would still be on a Galaxy S9 (she really liked the camera), but even in an Otterbox the stupid curved edge glass broke. I haven’t had an IR blaster since my Note4, my Fold 2 has no headphone jack. The Fold 1 has a crazy camera notch in the display, my Fold 2 has a Punch Hole, the 3 or 4 hides it behind the screen, and I’m gonna bet when sales go down we might get a headphone jack.

    1. This isn’t defective at all, it’s intentional design to reduce repair price because you can replace the cracked $10 digitizer independently of the $120 LCD. If you’re genuinely annoyed by it all the Airs and Pros use laminated digitizers.

    1. I suppose that would wreck the touchscreen, if you could even contain it somehow. Plus the layers have to be laminated with a special material (OCA or L(iquid)OCA) that has, iirc, very similar refractive index to the glass layer on top of it, so it doesn’t refract the hell out of your image

    2. That wouldn’t improve it much. The problem is the distance between the LCD and the glass/digitizer, not that the material between them is air. This person physically brought the LCD and digitizer closer together (by adhering them to each other), which resolves it, but I don’t think your solution would.

  2. I have much the same issue with my Sony E-readers. I’d happily lose a small amount of screen integrity rather than a horrible highly visible air gap. What were the builders of the PRS600 and 650 thinking when they didn’t use at least index matching gel? It wouldn’t have affected much as the outer screen doesn’t need to flex anyway. Might have made them less sensitive to impact as spread the shock over a much larger area.

  3. I supported LCD displays for many years on laptops and tablets at a major PC manufacturer and I can say that Apple did not add a gap for no reason. Gaps tend to add reflection, especially outdoors and I don’t think it would be done if it could be avoided.

    If there is a gap, it is to either stop ghosting when using the pencil and/or to stop the pencil pressure from degrading the display. They have a lot of engineers working on their displays and although I’m not an Apple fan, they do a good job on their hardware. I think modifying their design will let you know soon enough why they did it the way they did.

    1. Unfortunately, I think that expecting serg1us_eng to post about the degradation process of the display in the coming months is probably a wish too far. But who knows… Maybe my faith in humanity will be restored. :)

    2. The gap is a result of a non-laminated digitizer, not Apple intentionally designing a product to be bad. Every device with non-laminated digitizers has the same gap – laptops, AIOs, some old tablets. It’s an intentional design so schools are more willing to buy them because the glass can be replaced for cheap as it doesn’t require the display to be replaced as well.

    3. well, every other tablet they sell nowadays has a laminated display, so it’s not very plausible that they did it because the pen was killing it. Yes, they could be using a thinner glass sheet to cut costs, but that’s not very Apple-like, especially considering the huge visual drawback of having the gap in there

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