"Tip of audio jack - stuck in iPhone 4." I googled that phrase (and many variants) several times in the past few months - ever since my son stuck an audio jack into his iPhone 4 and had only 1/2 (well - perhaps 3/4) of the jack come out. That was in August.
We found many websites (none if which I will like to here) that described various methods of removing a broken stub. Some methods involve poking the remnant with a toothpick - others describe how one can use a plastic tube such as the inside of a Bic pen - or a q-tip shaft - either "naked" or with a thin coating of superglue.
We tried them all.
Advice: don't ever try an option that involves superglue.
One of our "last-ditch efforts" in late September was to try the q-tip and superglue method. The logic is that you put the shaft of the q-tip down the hole - with a teeny tiny drop of superglue and you wait 30 minutes - then viola! The plug remnant comes out - having been glued to the q-tip.
In our case - the q-tip came out, and the plug remained.
Our next attempt (each attempt coincided with a weekend or vacation - as he and the phone are away at college) was to open the iphone and push it out from the back.
We bought an iPhone opening kit and watched videos about how to open the iPhone 4 on youtube. Looks not-too-hard. So in we went. Carefully.
We got to the back of the audio jack without dismantling too much of the phone .. and sure enough - there is a hole at the bottom of the audio jack! .. Just pushing with a tiny screwdriver from the bottom ... and .. surely the thing will just pop out - right?
Well, it would have.
But it was glued tight. (see above: never use superglue in or near your iPhone).
I found a website that would sell me a replacement audio jack (and the ribbon cables attached to it) for $5.
Three weeks later, a tiny package arrived from China.
Two weeks later, he was home for Thanksgiving.
Videos on youtube taught us how to do this replacement. Estimated time: "40 minutes."
Real life: ~ 6 hours.
Lessons learned from our iPhone repair experience:
a) You really do need a set of tiny tweezers. A magnifying glass wouldn't hurt either.
b) Buy high quality tools. Using cheap size 00 screwdrivers is frustrating to say the least.
c) Be sure to catalog the size and location of every screw you remove so that you can put it back later in the same spot. If you don't do this (and just make a little pile of screws as I did) - you will never be able to tell the difference between a 1.2mm size 00 phillips head screw and a 1.3mm size 00 phillips head screw. Never ever.
d) Yes - it matters which screw you put in where.
e) Even if you don't have the best tools or the best lighting or the best process, anyone with steady hands and patience can do this.
But don't expect a 40 minute task!