iPhone 3G WiFi repair


Warning - this is risky, warranty voiding stuff...

  1. Try all software fixes, such as reset network, reset all setting, and restoring the phone as a new device, before even thinking about this.

  2. This will not address missing or ‘grayed out’ wifi device - that may be a bad firmware or possibly bad or unsoldered wifi chip.

  3. Only try this if the ‘freezer trick’ seems to work, but WiFi fades again after it warms.

  4. You could easily destroy your phone logic board!

  5. Get a pro with the proper tools to help!

  6. I really mean it!

If you choose to go on, you are just as annoyed by this and as stubborn about not being defeated by a machine as I am, so have at.


Like so many others, I lost WiFi sometime after a 3.X update.  At first I thought the update caused it, and that it was a software issue.  I complained to Apple and waited patiently for a fix.  It never came, even with iOS4

My lock button failed.  I ordered a new cable assembly, and a new WiFi antenna - just in case it had a bad wire too.

The cable fix worked, but the new antenna did nothing

Since I had cracked the device open, tried all other tricks, and slogged on for 6 months with a significantly less versatile device, I became annoyed enough to risk something. My warranty was long gone, so anything was likely to be costly.

I had a hint from this user djclint’s post here, which refers to a component you can see here to the left of the 88W8686-225 module.

This appears to be the component that becomes sensitive.  Simply removing this did not work.  I am not certain what it is, but considering the location it is possibly a decoupling capacitor.

I removed the device by crushing it with pliers and cleaning the pads with fine tools.  I tore the top center pad off the board accidentally, but was lucky enough to expose more trace by scraping with a blade. After bypassing this device, I initially lost all WiFi and Bluetooth. I opened everything back up and adjusted the solder, making sure the shunt did not touch the side pads.

I now have a fully functioning WiFi and Bluetooth.

We shall see if it lasts, and if this shorted part causes further stress on other components. (3 days - working so far)

UPDATE: 4+ days of rough and hot handling, signal lost once and freezer brought it back for 12+ hours, then suddenly lost entirely,

Opened and inspected, replaced the steel strand with copper. Needed freezer a moment to re-acquire - strong signal again.

Follow along for details:

Fixing temperature sensitive iPhone WiFi reception