Cell Phone Repair

This Fix-It Guide on cellular telephone repair, or cell phone repair, tells how a cell phone works and what you can do to extend your phone’s life. Fortunately, cell phones are virtually trouble free. You may need to replace your cell phone battery or your cell phone charger. This applies whether your cell phone is a simple phone used mainly for calling or texting, an iPhone, or a smart phone.

How Does a Cell Phone Work?

Cellular Telephone Repair

First, check the cell phone owner’s manual for troubleshooting tips.

A cell phone (cellular telephone) is a small, portable telephone with a built-in antenna. The phone is recharged by plugging it into a household electrical outlet or from a car battery by connection through the cigarette lighter unit.

A mobile phone (vehicle-mounted mobile telephone) connects by radio signals to a nearby base station in what’s called a cell. Each cell varies in size depending on the number of callers in the cell. As the mobile phone moves from one cell to another, it automatically connects to the base station in the next cell. Each base station then sends the call to a mobile exchange, which connects to a main exchange in the network.

Fix-It Tip

Cell phones can be recycled. If you decide to replace a working cell phone (perhaps to change providers), you may be able to donate your phone to be used as an emergency-only phone for a homeless or low-income individual or family. Ask your service provider.

Cellular Telephone Repair

Most cell phones have unique fasteners to discourage you from opening up the case.

What Can Go Wrong with a Cell Phone?

Actually, there’s not much that can go wrong with a cell phone — at least not much you can fix. Most cell phones are purchased or leased under contract with a cell service provider (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Consumer Cellular), so needed repairs are done by the contractor, not the consumer.  In most cases, cell phone problems are caused by a low battery, a damaged charger, or by mishandling — such as dropping the phone out the window of a car or into a swimming pool.


The most important maintenance you can do is keep your cell phone dry because moisture can corrode electronic circuits very quickly. Cell phones are difficult to dry out. Don’t take your cell in the pool.

How Can I Identify a Cell Phone Problem?

In most cases, your cell phone will either work or it won’t.

  • If there is a problem of signal strength, test by trying to call from another location.
  • If the battery will not hold a charge, try discharging the battery entirely by leaving it disconnected from the charger unit.
  • If the cell phone still will not maintain a charge, the problem could be with either the phone or the charger unit.
  • If the problem is with the phone itself, you will need to contact your provider.
  • If the problem is with the charger, you may be able to purchase a replacement online.

There is little else you can do to repair a cell phone.

Fix-It Tip

At least once a week, wipe your cell phone clean with a soft cloth slightly dampened in a mild household cleaner. Alternately, carefully spray the unit with a disinfectant to reduce germs. Make sure you don’t get the mouth or ear holes wet.