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Introducción

Series 3 Displays are hard to find and expensive. Plus, when you buy one you'll discover that after installing it everything works except Apple Pay. Apparently Apple has decided to pair the NFC hardware in the Display to the mainboard, similar to TouchID on iPhones and iPads.

It looks like a Series 2 Display would fit, but if you try it you'll find that the Watch gets very hot and the battery runs down super fast. The connections are not compatible even though the connectors all line up.

Turns out the compatibility problem is just the NFC module, and so if you move the S3 NFC from the broken Display to a working S2 Display, all is well.

I took photos while doing this repair at work. The company closed down last week and so now there's nobody to tell me I can't post them for your benefit :-)

Herramientas

Partes

  1. Here we have a Series 3 Apple Watch with a broken Display.
    • Here we have a Series 3 Apple Watch with a broken Display.

    • Sad.

  2. Remove the broken Display.  The worse they're busted up, the easier they come off!
    • Remove the broken Display. The worse they're busted up, the easier they come off!

    • Remove any adhesive residue and tape from the Force Touch Sensor, and inspect it for damage. Replace if necessary.

  3. The right-hand module contains the NFC and Light Sensor.  It's attached by some adhesive dots, two solder bumps (for the NFC antenna connection), and some copper tape.
    • The right-hand module contains the NFC and Light Sensor. It's attached by some adhesive dots, two solder bumps (for the NFC antenna connection), and some copper tape.

    • Cut the copper tape from the NFC module.

  4. Using an Xacto #17 blade, chisel the NFC module from the damaged Display. Keep the blade as parallel as possible to the Display. Keep the blade as parallel as possible to the Display.
    • Using an Xacto #17 blade, chisel the NFC module from the damaged Display.

    • Keep the blade as parallel as possible to the Display.

  5. Now the NFC module is free.  There's some tape on the back of the module; you can peel it off with tweezers. You can see there are two solder bumps under here.  These are the connections to the NFC antenna. If you use alcohol or some other solvent to help clean up, use it very sparingly.  We don't want to mess up the Light Sensor.
    • Now the NFC module is free. There's some tape on the back of the module; you can peel it off with tweezers.

    • You can see there are two solder bumps under here. These are the connections to the NFC antenna.

    • If you use alcohol or some other solvent to help clean up, use it very sparingly. We don't want to mess up the Light Sensor.

  6. Here is a "new" (probably harvested) Series 2 Display I bought online.  I marked it with a "2" just because. Remove the NFC module from this display.  You can discard it or sprinkle it on your breakfast cereal.
    • Here is a "new" (probably harvested) Series 2 Display I bought online. I marked it with a "2" just because.

    • Remove the NFC module from this display. You can discard it or sprinkle it on your breakfast cereal.

    • I got a little over-aggressive taking this off so you can see I removed some of the black tape covering the NFC antenna. No harm done, though, and it let me show a corner of the NFC antenna.

  7. Now we apply a bit of "Z Tape" to the back of the module.  Z Tape is nifty stuff that conducts electricity through its thickness but not sideways.
    • Now we apply a bit of "Z Tape" to the back of the module. Z Tape is nifty stuff that conducts electricity through its thickness but not sideways.

    • In this photo the release layer is still on the Z tape. We'll take it off before sticking the module onto the Series 2 Display.

    Where do I purchase this magical Z Tape? I can’t find it anywhere under that name

    Jared Tamana (Sean) - Contestar

  8. Yup, that's our Series 2 Display with the NFC module from the broken S3 Display attached.  Alignment here is fairly important so don't just slap it on all willy-nilly.
    • Yup, that's our Series 2 Display with the NFC module from the broken S3 Display attached. Alignment here is fairly important so don't just slap it on all willy-nilly.

  9. Sometimes it just works, and sometimes you need to reflash the OS to make everyone play nice together.  Good luck finding the magic IPSW files.
    • Sometimes it just works, and sometimes you need to reflash the OS to make everyone play nice together. Good luck finding the magic IPSW files.

    How likely is it that the watch will need reflashing? Is it an incompatibility with a series 2 screen that you are getting around or is it an NFC change that would need doing with the series 3 as well? At home repairer, can’t afford the iBUS….

    Harry - Contestar

    I’m not sure what the issue is; sometimes I noticed that Force Touch didn’t work after a Display replacement (?!) and reflashing made it work again. But sometimes reflashing wasn’t necessary. Since I had the iBus, I just reflashed as a matter of course. There seem to be some dark ninja-like corners to the Apple Watch firmware.

    Gordon Hlavenka - Contestar

    Have you tried this swop with a series 4 ?

    markbellgb - Contestar

  10. After all this, Apple Pay can be configured on the Watch and you can see that it talks to the NXP TagInfo app.
    • After all this, Apple Pay can be configured on the Watch and you can see that it talks to the NXP TagInfo app.

    • I had to use an Android phone to test the NFC because Apple doesn't let apps get deep enough into iPhone's NFC to read this stuff.

    Hi Gordon,

    first of all thank you for your detailed walkthrough. I was able to follow the steps above and finally want to test the NFC module on the Watch i worked on.

    Can you please share some details on which software you used on the Android phone to simulate a NFC signal triggering the watch and Apple Pay?

    Thanks

    franqus - Contestar

    That app he used is called NFC TagInfo by NXP

    Aydan Boynton -

Linea de Meta

13 personas más completaron esta guía.

This is one of those guides that goes above and beyond. Now can you tell us how to flash the software?

fdsajky675 - Contestar

viarengo1 - The tricky part of reflashing is actually just getting the IPSW files to flash — OTA update files don’t work and Apple doesn’t release the complete files. If you can manage to get the file, though, you connect the Watch to a programming adapter (either iBus or the Apple adapter), load iTunes, and the Watch shows up. Then you shift-click on Restore, point to your hard-won IPSW, and off you go. You can sometimes find Apple programming adapters on eBay and MFCBox sells the iBus, which is a clone of the Apple adapter. But the IPSW files are a major PITA. Right now I don’t think any of them are in the wild except WatchOS 4.3.1 for Series 3 only.

Gordon Hlavenka - Contestar

There are plenty of ipsws for Apple Watch on ipsw.me. Are they usable?

IO -

IO - No, the ipsws on ipsw.me and similar sites won’t work. They are over-the-air update files (“OTA”) and do not contain a complete set of code including boot loader and all modules.

Gordon Hlavenka - Contestar

Can’t you just use this? https://ipsw.me/otas

Peyton Blume - Contestar

Hi mate, swapped numerous series 3 working screens and their NFC chips as shown in the article. Works perfectly and contactless sets up with no problems. Even when double clicking the side the ‘ready’ message appears. However when bringing the watch near the card reader it fails to communicate, nothing happens. Any ideas what to do? Thanks!

Mr Hawaii - Contestar

Could you use the GPS only module on one of these displays? My watch is not the LTE version but the GPS only display is not available anywhere that I can find.

Amy jo cooper - Contestar

What if I install a new series 3 screen do i need to take the nfc from the old screen still and install on the new one?

Duan Peters - Contestar

So you want to install a Series 3 screen on a Series 2 body? Maybe this vice versa guide might help you: Install Series 2 Display on a Series 3 with Apple Pay

Tobias Isakeit -

Could you please explain how to reflash the OS?

Derek Miller - Contestar

Does this guide still work? (Does it work for newer Generations as well?)

And Can the NFC Chip from the broken AWS3 Screen be applied to a working AWS3 Screen?

Alexander Laxgang - Contestar

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