Fixing the Lumia 920 Proximity Sensor

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I have been the proud owner of a Nokia Lumia 920 for nearly a year now, but one thing which has soured the experience in more recent months is that the proximity sensor hasn’t been working properly. The biggest problem this has caused is that the screen will lock when making a voice call, making it extremely difficult to end a call, or us the dialer during automated calls. Another problem this caused was Glance Screen, Nokia’s introduction of an always on clock to their Lumia range, also didn’t work, neither did double tap to wake.

What was causing my Proximity sensor not to work, I discovered, was dust. The gap you put your ear against (the ear piece) was pretty dusty, as was the front facing camera, so armed with a set of Torx T4 and T2 screwdrivers, and a video on YouTube by LE55ONS (see it here) I set about fixing it.

I did a couple of posts on my Wright On Mobile blog, and it is from there the following is taken. You can read the whole thing, and view more pictures of the process by clicking the following links: Wright On Fixing Lumia 920 Proximity Sensor and Project Proxy, Fixing Lumia 920 Proximty Sensor Part 2

I had planned to save myself a bit of work by leaving the battery and USB ribbons connected as it is in the picture below, but in the end found it easier than I thought it would be to disconnect these.

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Once I had parted the innards of the Lumia 920 from the casing, it was time to separate the digitizer (screen) from the circuitry. There are a few screws to undo, two of which are tiny Torx T2 screws which I needed the screwdrivers for, and a couple of clips to detach. Once this was done everything came apart. Two small items fell out, one was the ear piece speaker and the other the Sim Card tray, the latter I hadn’t noticed until I had started putting it back together, so had to take it apart again. These two parts both went back in fairly easy.

I was shocked by the state of the Proximity Sensor, or more precisely the part of the screen which covers the proximity sensor, it was caked in dust. Take a look at the picture below.

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In the red circle you can see a square, the white inside of that is dust. Just to the right of it is the front facing camera, also dusty as heck (click the image to see it in full size). I used a couple of cotton buds to clean these two areas out and also gave the rest of the parts a wipe over.

So with this done I set about putting it all back together, and actually found this easier than it was to take apart.

With the proximity sensor now cleaned out, my Lumia 920 is working perfectly again. Before carrying out this I was finding the screen would lock whilst making a phone call, even when away from my face. Very annoying, and awkward for one reason you can’t hang up a call. Also, Nokia Glance Screen which came to the Lumia 920 with the Portico update (GDR2) would not work properly, as far as my phone was concerned the screen was always being covered, so the clock would rarely show up, Peek Mode, where you wave your hand in front of the screen to get the time up also didn’t work, neither did Double Tap to Wake. Well I am pleased to say this is all working again, as is screen brightness, where it reacts to ambient lighting. Success!

I really wouldn’t recommend anyone take apart their own device, this WILL VOID YOUR WARRANTY. You should leave any repairs to qualified repair persons at Nokia Care Points, or return any faulty devices to the store you got them from. With that said, if you have any questions on this, I would be happy to try and answer them.

Lenny Bonsignore
Lenny Bonsignorehttp://www.OneTechStop.net
Lenny Bonsignore @LennyBons34 is Owner/Editor- in -Chief of OneTechStop, Sports fan, Tech guy, & Mailman by Day [email protected]

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7 Comments

  1. Had the same issue with a 14 month old Lumia 820. Thought id give it a shot, opened up, cleaned out and I have a fully functioning phone again!

    • Glad to hear. Were you having the same problems, screen locking during calls and double tap not working.
      One of the big plus points for the 820 is that AMOLED screen, allows Glance Screen to work how it is suppose to (ie. only the necessary pixels are illuminated for the always on clock).

      • Good instructions and combined with the video I feel pretty confident so I am certainly gonna give it a go.

        I have had the 920 since late 2012 and while I’m really happy with it the dust+sensor thing is a weak point. I did not have it long before the front facing camera became filled with dust and there was also issues with the proximity sensor, but Nokia came out with a software update that somehow fixed the proximity issue (some soft of threshold adjustment I think). Since the FFC has never been a priority I did not bother to take the phone back under warranty to have it fixed, but since just the other day I now have the proximity issue as well 🙁
        One thing I wonder – from what I understand the later 920’s have had some sort of seal added for the dust not to get at the FFC and the proximity sensor. As I’d rather not do the surgery thing repeatedly I wonder if that seal can be obtained and fitted to the early 920. Anyone know of this?

      • Update. Taking out the sim card and seeing how dusty it was in there I decided to give it a go with my vacuum cleaner before doing the whole disassemble/re-assemble thing. So I went ahead and vacuumed all the openings and it solved the proximity issue.
        I shall likely still be taking the 920 apart at some time to dust off the FFC, but as long as I can fix the proximity issue in 30s with my vacuum then it won’t be until I know there is a permanent fix.

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