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How to: Turn Your Original Galaxy Nexus Into a White Galaxy Nexus

white galaxy nexus

If you follow us on Twitter (why aren’t you?), then you probably saw the surgical procedure that went down last night between me and my Galaxy Nexus. You see, since Samsung and Google decided to release a grey or metallic version initially and then  a white version months later, I wasn’t interested in purchasing a brand new Nexus, just to get the white color scheme. So as white housings for the device started popping up on random German eBay stores, I jumped on one to see if I could perform the switcheroo myself. After picking up a set of cheap tools from iFixit a month or so prior in preparation for this day, and the housing arriving yesterday afternoon, it was game time.

Was it difficult? Again, if you saw on Twitter, it took me all of 13 minutes. I spent roughly $40 on tools (but you may not need to buy any, I just wanted fancy ones), another $70 for the housing and back, and in under 15 minutes, I had a brand spanking new white Galaxy Nexus. Quite a bit cheaper than paying $450-$650 for a new one, right?

So how did I do it? Jump past the break to find out.  

*Note – This was performed on the GSM Galaxy Nexus, with genuine GSM parts. The LTE Galaxy Nexus replacement parts are extremely hard to find since the white version of that phone is not out yet. However, this procedure will work exactly the same on the LTE version once we have those parts. DO NOT TRY TO USE GSM PARTS ON THE LTE VERSION OF THE PHONE. They will not fit and you will be out $70.

Tools required:

1.  A white Galaxy Nexus housing and battery cover.
2.  Screwdriver (Phillips) – small as you have.
3.  Skinny guitar picks, 3-4 of them.

Instructions:

1.  Remove the back battery cover, battery and SIM card from your phone.
2.  With screwdriver in hand, remove 6 mini screws on the back of the phone and set aside.

3.  Using guitar picks, slide one under the top part of the phone between the screen and housing.
4.  Using additional picks, slowly work around the entire edge of the phone until the housing pops off.

5.  Once off, grab your white housing and remove the sticker over the backside of the camera.

*You may also have to remove a sticker from the 3-pin connector. Make sure to leave the same stickers on the new housing that are still on your original housing.

6.  Then, starting with the top, apply the new white housing to your phone.
7.  Snap the entire thing into place with a bit of pressure.

8.  Screw 6 screws into new housing, insert battery and SIM card, and boot. Enjoy!

Video instructions:

*If those written ones weren’t detailed enough, one of our readers put together this fantastic video.

YouTube Preview Image

Cheers Dan!

  • Joe

    The Entire article fails to mention its GSM only

  • SKAVENG3R

    Just about pointless with out a battery cover.

  • Dansan382

    so safe to assume there isnt any type of glue or film holding the phone together. just pressure and clips huh?

    cant wait for the LTE version. never liked white phones but might be cool to switch up

  • http://twitter.com/GreedySmurf Alman

    White Ringke works for me

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Keanu-Oldham/1603680329 Keanu Oldham

    where do you buy the housing?

  • Matthew O’Sullivan

    That looks fantastic. Can’t wait til some LTE versions are available.

  • http://twitter.com/BiGGiE_Q Biggie Quan

    Oh damn, this reminds me of changing cases in my Nextel days.

  • http://twitter.com/fritzo2162 DougZ

    Sweet! Now I have a white Galaxy Nexus!

    Now I’ll just but my cover back on it and…..heeeeyyyyyy….it looks exactly the same as before!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=134900313 Daniel TaeYoung Chang

    i just bought a white case for my gnex and i’m fine with that

  • http://twitter.com/Ike_Farmer Chris Franzen

    damn no LTE love

  • Cmhprop

    Looks way better. Now can you swap the radios.

  • Andrey Feldman

    I gave my htc Sensation a slightly more difficult operation. First I bought a higher capacity battery like that on the sensation xe. Then I bought the gunmetal back cover from the sensation, also easy. then I bought the sensation xe digitizer with the glowing red buttons. Installing it was the difficult part. I had to fully disassemble my whole phone and melt the glue holding the old digitizer onto the frame. applying new adhesive and warding off as much dust as i could, I attached the new digitizer onto the frame and reassembled the phone. Now i have a sensation xe on t-mobile :D

  • xFenixKnightx

    Would be nice if the front glass was white too.

  • LOL

    What a waste of money…With a case on my phone nobody will tell what color the back is, who cares.  If you walk around with a “naked” phone, you are a FOOL.

  • http://twitter.com/Skitz_Marz Alex Gandero

    white with that blacked out face is so sexy

  • Mhuttyone

    no lte i been looking for months 

  • MKader17

    These are the kind of post I love to see.

  • Jlmcc

    you really sunk another 110 bucks in this turkey?  wow

  • Azn_Android

    I can’t find myself doing this.. If it was all white like the skyrocket, then definitely. But I feel like making just the back white makes it uglier. 

  • MikeCiggy

    Awesome!!! cant wait until the parts come out for LTE and a white extended battery door. I dropped my gnex recently and chipped up the corner. Took it out of the tpu case for like 2 hours and dropped it.

  • RickyGrundyJr

    i ordered my housing on Friday morning. how long did it take for you to get yours.?

  • Jlmcc

    ya know you could have just bought a white cover and saved a lot of money and time,,,,  K.I.S.S.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1025116830 Mike Stratton II

    Did anyone else start dreaming of a metal replacement back? SERIOUSLY. SOMEONE MAKE ONE. I WILL THROW ALL MY MONEY. 

    Seriously though, someone should. The plastic is ok, but if this phone were metal…. omg…. hmm…

    • http://www.facebook.com/TJHRULZ tjhrulz

      Metal back == good bye signal strength 

    • Azn_Android

      Please.. the radio on this device is terrible as it is.. And that’s coming from a Gnex owner.

      • http://profiles.google.com/rcrook2 Ryan Crook

        i think the radio issue is just on the cdma version because i haven’t one issue with mine (gsm on att)

      • Jlmcc

        you got that, and the mic cut off is awful

  • Dedli

    I am now going to take off my grey case and paint it red. And then paint the back plate black. 

  • eagletrippin

     If the front bezel is still black, then it’s still not a white phone.

    • Tim242

      All white Android phones are just white on the sides and back. Making the front white is not an easy task. That’s why it took Apple.over a year to release the white I*hone 4.

      • eagletrippin

        Oh, no? Samsung created an all-white phone in the Galaxy S2 series: http://www.samsung.com/us/mobile/cell-phones/SGH-I727ZWAATT

        Easy task or not, I don’t understand OEM’s half-assed attempts at simply creating phones with nothing more than a white case…especially when many users want to protect the phone with a protective case…

        • Tim242

          I agree. They look stupid. I don’t understand the love for white devices.

    • rodney11ride

      hook it to the antenna! lol wallaa instant signal repeater!

  • Tim Buchanan

    I got an idea: spray paint.

  • AndrewScottRox

    Holy smokes! I dropped my GNex a mere 24 hours after I bought it and gummed up one of the corners. This would be a great way to fix that. I hopped on the site you linked to but I don’t know which model of case I need to get. So, which one did you use?

    *edit* Never mind, I should have read a little further down.

  • speraider430

    Add to the list of reasons I’ll never buy an iPhone…

    • iNfAMOUS70702

      You can do this for iPhones too…The process is not much different

      • speraider430

        You can change the color of the iPhone 4 and 4s? I stand corrected.  Still couldn’t get me to buy one. :)

  • JrzDroid

    So is D-L gonna repost this when the LTE parts become available? Also, they better have a white extended battery cover when the White LTE one comes out.

  • liquidsense

    Are there any glued parts that you have to separate in order to install the housing?  I used to change out the housing on my Blackberry (many years ago), but no one ever mentioned that you had to pull apart a glued portion, which would never properly glue together again.

    • http://twitter.com/D7Robinson Derek Robinson

      Watch the video that was linked. It certainly doesn’t look like anything is glued.

      • liquidsense

         Yea, I definitely watched the video.  Thing is, there is often times a very slight adhesive layer between the glass and the housing that prevents dust from sneaking in.  Even if there was glue in the gnex, I don’t think the video would show it.  So, hopefully, someone who has actually taken the housing off can give some insight.

  • realfoxm

    I wish the CDMA housing and rear plate were available NOW.

    • Hans Kwazneski

      I swear I got all excited when I saw this, then it’s all GSM, and I’m all :[

      • realfoxm

        Yeah, I’ll admit, my jaw dropped. 

  • vin2win

    GSM only atm. No LTE.

    • napes22

       Sadness

  • Ice456789

    Awesome, now we know how to turn our Galaxy Nexus white. But you didn’t tell us WHY we would ever want to do that. 

    • It’sASamsung

      Nice of you to assume not a single person is interested in a gorgeous White Galaxy Nexus. Do you regularly think everyone has the same taste as you or are you just trying to be funny?

  • Liderc

    White just makes me think of the girls who buy white iphones and then put black cases on them. 

  • EvanTheGamer

    Kick-ass! Now I want to try this.

  • h8thepain

    But the battery life still sucks!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Robert-Welch/645650710 Robert Welch

      When you figure out how to root let us know and we’ll help you out with that.

  • b00sted

    got excited since my wife is holding out for the white LTE nexus.. read and now just have the urge to say FU I now have to tell my wife that this is completely irrelevant to us atm..

  • FortitudineVincimus

    You can’t polish a turd

    • EC8CH

      but you can eat one :-)~

      • FortitudineVincimus

        wow, your sicker than you accuse me of being – I think your the scary one

  • http://twitter.com/strikeir13 Keir Stiegler

    If you do replace your cover it would also be a good time to easily implement inductive charging for your Gnex: http://bit.ly/HzdbOV

    • MKader17

      Great tip!

  • Kisuk3

    That is exactly how my phone looks with the Spigen Ultra white capsule case you guys recommended.

    • http://twitter.com/JSIN1605 JSIN

      no its not exactly what it looks like

      • Kisuk3

        Yes, it is

  • http://AndroidTaskForce.com Timmy

    How do I change it into a DROID Fighter? :O

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10215724 Raj Bhatt

      lock it up in a safe and glue an unusable UI to it.

      • http://profiles.google.com/adamtruelove Adam Truelove

        Don’t forget to give it a stupid name too.

        • OhAaron

          Nope.. they already did that.  xD

      • OhAaron

        Lmfao!

      • Azn_Android

        LOL best comment of the day

      • Azndan4

        Don’t forget to take a crap on the screen too.

  • VZinDAhizzy

    you should definitely put GSM in the title. the LTE version has the sim card on the left of the camera (when looking at the back).

    • http://www.droid-life.com Kellex B

      Same instructions for both phones. Doesn’t matter which phone you have, just need to have correct parts, which we made sure to mention.

      • Samvelavich

        link for lte parts?

      • ThomasMoneyhon

        Yes link for the LTE parts?

  • Steve S

    Could you do the same thing with the RAZR – from Grey to white, red, possibly blue?

    • http://twitter.com/JSIN1605 JSIN

      paint it yourself and make it orange

    • Droidzilla

      The RAZR ought to be incredibly easy to do since they’re all the same parts. You can convert the standard to a Maxx with very little difficulty, too.

      • Steve S

        Have you tried swapping the battery for a MAXX Battery?

  • http://www.JWesCampbell.com/ Wes Campbell

    I see how they aren’t the same now… the sim spot is different… and the sim size…
    I still don’t quite understand why they don’t just make them uniform. Sell 1 phone for all carriers… monetary nonsense is all I can think of…

    • RadicalPie

      The lte chip makes it this way

  • moelsen8

    funny, i just got blue ink on my white cimo tpu case this afternoon which smeared all over the place and won’t come off even with rubbing alcohol.  it looked so nice until then.  sh*t

  • http://twitter.com/strifejester Justin Ellenbecker

    I am pretty sure with a white phone I would have Taco Dorito stains all over it inside of a week.

    • http://www.droid-life.com Kellex B

      I’m trying to hold out from eating those. Will each one take a year off of my life? If so, is it still worth it?

      • http://twitter.com/brigwheels patrick

         i’m holding out for the cool ranch shells

      • Aaron

        Yes. Yes it is.

      • Droidzilla

        It’s almost as awesome as one would expect; which is to say, mildly better than a regular taco while being marginally more difficult to consume. It’s an overall mediocre experience guaranteed to make you slightly more satisfied than with the standard taco.

        I say go for it.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000106808261 Keith Sumner

        Surprisingly, Taco Bell is one of the better fast food chains, in that they use natural and cruelty free meats, to top it off they use fresh lettuce and tomato which are also good, now the heavy sauces and shells that’s where the sodium and other crap is.

        • trumpet444

          boo taco bell………Chick-Fil-A fo life!!!

        • seronac

          Taco Bell uses meat? ;-)
          Actually, Taco Bell is pretty good, as fast food goes.

          Cool article, too.

      • Butters619

        If you have ever had the beefy crunch burrito, then you will be a tad bit disappointed in the Dorrito taco.  It is really good, don’t get me wrong, but I feel the flavoring could be a bit stronger and more consistent.  And it’s hard to live up to the awesomeness that was the beefy crunch burrito.

        • RAZR_FANN

          This. The Beefy Crunch Burrito is the single greatest offering Taco Bell has ever had on their menu. There may be some items that come close, but for 99 cents, you can’t beat it. 

      • Nexusisit

        You must eat one you haven’t lived until you do.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Al/100003688905322 John Al

       Those things are amazing!

      +1 Mushroom for U!

    • EvanTheGamer

      Which is why you should wash your hands first being even handling such a device.

  • http://twitter.com/sayhit0james James Applebaum

    I’ll never be a fan of white Android phones with black taking up so much of the front. A white G-Nex should at least look somewhat similar to what the white SGS2 looked like.

  • sc0rch3d

    something about white just rubs me the wrong way

    • rodney11ride

      lol 

  • http://profiles.google.com/adamtruelove Adam Truelove

    Cool, but I just don’t get white phones.

    • trumpet444

      me neither, they’re dirt magnets

  • Droidzilla

    This is racist.

    • EC8CH

      Cracka pleeze!

      • Anon

        Correction: Nilla’ please!

        • EC8CH

          Enhanced:

          (I’ve rode in the back of a pickup truck while traveling down a gravel road…I’m not ashamed to admit it.)

    • EvanTheGamer

      haha?

    • Genius

      Am I allowed to laugh at that?

      • Mack

        If you weren’t, this wouldn’t be the internet anymore. 

        Comments like this are half the reason I hit up Droid-Life so much. 

    • http://twitter.com/RobbThundr Robb Manlapaz

      dammit that was awesome

    • http://www.facebook.com/TJHRULZ tjhrulz

      No, THIS IS NEXUS