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How to: Turn a Black Nexus 4 Into a White Nexus 4

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With white Nexus 4 in hand and a quick hands-on video and comparison published, there was only one last task for us to complete to round out our coverage – back replacement surgery. You may recall our guide on how to turn the black Galaxy Nexus into a white Galaxy Nexus, and well, we decided to do the same thing with the Nexus 4. Since the white Nexus 4 is nothing more than a black Nexus 4 with a white back piece, we knew long ago when the white version first leaked that swapping out back pieces would be simple. We were right.

In the short guide below, we’ll walk you through the six steps to turning your black Nexus 4 into a white Nexus 4. Since many of you jumped on the black Nexus 4 early on and didn’t have a chance to even consider the white version, this should help you make the transition once (if) white replacement backs ever go up for sale.  

Parts:

You obviously will need a black Nexus 4. You will also need either a white Nexus 4 or a back replacement white part (which haven’t been released yet). The replacement white back would be the much cheaper route to go, but we have no idea if or when those may be released to the public.

Tools:

This entire process was done with a T5 Torx screwdriver, two guitar picks, and a plastic opening tool. But actually, you could do this without the plastic opening tool and remove the entire back cover with the guitar picks alone, after removing the screws of course. A good smartphone starter toolkit to think about picking up is the Home Tech Toolkit from iFixit. I would also recommend picking up some of their guitar picks if you don’t have any laying around your house.

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Instructions:

1.  Remove any SIM cards and SIM card trays.
2.  Remove both T5 Torx screws from the bottoms of the devices.

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3.  Starting from the bottom by the microUSB port, using a guitar pick, slide between the metal rim and the bottom cover. As you work your way from the bottom around each side, you’ll hear slight popping noises, which are the plastic tabs that hold the back cover into place popping out. Be careful as to not break a tab. You’ll need to repeat this process around each phone to remove each back cover. I shimmied my way from the bottom and up the right side, then the left side. Once I had the bottom and both sides loose, I used my fingers to slowly lift the cover and pop it off of the top section of each phone

Note:  When I removed the black cover, I either broke a plastic holder that kept the Volume rocker in place or it wasn’t attached to the cover like it is on the white version. Either way, be careful and try not to lose either the Power switch or Volume rocket once you fully remove the back side in case they are loose. When you get to each button with the guitar pick, gently pop each tab away.

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4.  Once you have wiggled off the back casings from each phone, your next few steps are incredibly simple. But first, this is what your desk will look like. As you can see, the devices are identical underneath those back plates. I was unable to find any difference whatsoever – everything is in the exact same place. Make sure you know which device is which, so that you don’t accidentally replace backs to the wrong devices. I’d hate for you to go through that process once again.

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5.  With the white back cover in hand, grab your previously-black Nexus 4 and slowly start to pop it into place. I started with the top section and then slowly worked my way around the phone by popping each tab back into place. It won’t take long, but again, don’t be in a rush. You want to slowly pop each into place as to not break any of the tabs.

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6.  Once you have finished popping the back cover on, replace the T5 Torx screws and the SIM tray. Fire your phone up and enjoy your new white Nexus 4.

In total, this took me 25 minutes to do.

This process really is as simple as it sounds. You may struggle a bit removing the bottom corners with the guitar pick, but with a little patience and gentle wiggling, it doesn’t take long. For anyone who owns a black Nexus 4, but would rather have the white version, I’d recommend watching eBay shops that sell replacement parts. Before long, we are bound to see white back replacement covers popping up at prices well under the $299 it would cost should you purchase a white Nexus 4.

H/T to the folks at iFixt for getting me started with their teardown guide.

  • Ronny

    Do anybody knows where can I get the white battery door??

  • umbrellacorp

    Doctor, was the operation a success?!

  • AJA0

    DAS RACIST!!

  • Guest

    !!!

  • JoshGroff

    Either way, wouldn’t it be cheaper AND lower risk to sell the black one and buy a white one?

  • Daniel McKenzie J.

    Point of posting this was?
    Nexus 4 back compenants aren’t available yet.

  • Anuj

    What battery does it hold…..can you change it(once it is not as good as new one as it has life of only 800 cycles)

  • Kal5el

    Black, white. How do I get a Latino nexus 4 for Viva mobile?

    • Pedro4Prez

      Si’

  • sourabh

    great guide,but i’d like to keep my nexus black and sleek,just the way it is.

  • zurginator

    I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t think an all-white N4 looks good at all…
    http://i.imgur.com/coYn5Mx.jpg

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

      Eww, I would agree, I like the white back with black front.

    • http://www.KamilGPhotography.com/ KamilG

      I think that keeping the dark chrome edge from the black one is what makes it look awkward, along with the black notification dot that would surely not remain black. Replace those two and the phone wouldn’t look any worse than a white S4/Note 2

      • Jon Yuen

        except for the softkeys would look atrocious with the white front. it would make your screen look even smaller since the black soft keys would come off as extra bezel

        • Fattie McDoogles

          So ROM it and make the softkeys and border whatever color you want.

        • http://www.KamilGPhotography.com/ KamilG

          Very good point, I didn’t think about the soft keys. Would have been nice to see some kind of maybe light grey bar instead of black maybe? I’m sure a custom ROM would have made this a non-issue but it would suck for it to look like that stock.

    • DroidFTW

      Looks way better than a black phone with a white back.

    • Marcus

      I think it looks cool

  • zurginator

    I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t think an all-white N4 looks good at all:
    http://i.imgur.com/ZAZIwwI.jpg

  • mjmedstarved

    I guess you can go back after going black….

  • Carlos Rodríguez

    If you buy the white back case, your SIM tray still will be black :S

  • Tim242

    Hahaha all you have to do is buy a white case. Then you have the half breed white Nexus 4.

  • http://www.youtube.com/kimirPORTALS kimir

    “You will also need either a white Nexus 4 or a back replacement white part (which haven’t been released yet). The replacement white back would be the much cheaper route to go, but we have no idea if or when those may be released to the public.” Ugh. I really liked the white back and was hoping to buy it alone.

  • TectonicPenguin

    So to switch your black Nexus 4 to a white Nexus 4, you need to ALREADY have a white Nexus 4?

    • Justin Swanson

      That’s my point! Unless you’re buying the housing… from ebay… if it ever gets released…

  • Bionic

    Wow Kellex, slow news day huh?

    • bboyairwreck

      same for Sarge? lol jk

    • http://www.youtube.com/kimirPORTALS kimir

      Just because every post isn’t about the X Phone doesn’t mean it’s a slow news day.

      • Justin Swanson

        Where was the XFON post for today!?!?!!

  • Justin Swanson

    “You obviously will need a black Nexus 4. You will also need either a
    white Nexus 4 or a back replacement white part (which haven’t been
    released yet).”

    So why would I risk the destruction of two phones when I all ready have the N4 in white? :P

    • TectonicPenguin

      Maybe you bought a black Nexus 4, didn’t like it, then bought a white Nexus 4 so that you can take apart your black Nexus 4 and turn it into white Nexus 4.

      • Justin Swanson

        Why wouldn’t you just _use_ the White one?

        • http://tuhgrr.wordpress.com/ Tuh-Grr

          Easy. You might have a sentimental attachment to the first one.

          • Justin Swanson

            Oh, well in that case… why would you want to risk breaking it?

          • http://tuhgrr.wordpress.com/ Tuh-Grr

            Oh I have no idea. I think the whole thing is rather silly to begin with.

    • cjgm86

      Original Black Nexus 4 >16 GB
      New White Nexus 4 >8 GB
      Switch back plates and u get a >>16 GB WHITE NEXUS 4

      • Justin Swanson

        So you’ve spent $300 instead of $350! And you still have a phone sitting around… I guess Swappa?

        • cjgm86

          Maybe, or keep trying to convince the girlfriend to drop her iphone. And ill have a 16 Gb white Nexus 4 until the Nexus 5 or Moto X

          • Justin Swanson

            Good point, you have successfully convinced me that what you’re doing is completely sane, in an effort to save $50… wait how much to the tools cost to do this? $24.95!? you’re only saving $25!

          • cjgm86

            Well, i never thought of saving, but its saving me a few dollars and if i sell the black one a lot more. Man I’ll buy anything with the word Nexus haha

          • Justin Swanson

            Yeah me too… I can’t wait to see what’s released this fall… I’ll probably an F5 pusher, like so many were for the N4 :P

  • Kevin

    Also called “Michael Jacksoning” your phone.

    • Dorian Brooks

      You win the interwebs for the day, sir.

    • JoshGroff

      I’m surprised this has downvotes, that was genius.

    • Daniele Hunter

      I see what you did there

  • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

    And with one tutorial Kellex cures Racism everywhere.