I dropped my iPhone and smashed the screen
The iPhone’s screen is complex, but there are options for replacing it yourself
Dropping your iPhone face down onto a hard floor always induces that awful sinking feeling. But, there are a number of things you can do – once you’ve recovered from the shock.
If you have AppleCare, you may be able to get it fixed or get a replacement. Also, the AppleCare+ iPhone programme allows for two incidents of accidental damage per policy and charges an excess of £55. Or, check your home insurance. Does it cover accidental damage for your iPhone? If so, what’s the excess on the policy? If it’s less than £150, it might be worth claiming.
Call in the crack team
Another option is to take it to a company who fix cracked screens. The problem with this approach, however, is you have no control over what your original screen is replaced with, or how well the repair is carried out. Both replacement screens and workmanship are variable. If you know someone who has had an iPhone screen replaced and they’re happy with it, go for that. If not, do some research before you hand over your iPhone. In the US, Apple has begun rolling out iPhone-screen replacement programmes in-store in some of its retail stores, but this isn’t available in the UK yet. However, you could, of course, replace the screen yourself. All you need is a replacement front panel and LCD (buy them in one unit), the tools for the job, instructions, and a steady hand. There’s a good instruction video at cnet.co/1kUHmXW, and, of course, ifixit.com can help.
However, this sort of DIY job will void your warranty and it’s unlikely to result in a pristine iPhone. On top of that, the quality and cost of replacement a front panel/LCD varies enormously. A front panel and LCD assembly for an iPhone 5s, for example, will cost at least £50.
A Genius solution
Our preferred option for repairing is to take the iPhone to Apple and book an appointment at a Genius Bar. When we did this last summer, our smashed iPhone 5 was replaced with a new 64GB iPhone 5 (officially Apple only promises a re-conditioned model) for £179. And, they made sure the new iPhone was set up and ready to go before we left the store. Given the likely excess on a home insurance policy, and the cost and unpredictability of repairing the screen yourself, we’d say that was reasonable value.
The final option, particularly if the screen is cracked rather than totally smashed, is to do nothing. If you can still use the iPhone, there’s no real reason, other than cosmetic, to repair or replace it (but use a screen protector to save your thumbs getting nicked!)
Finally, get protection. If your case doesn’t have protection for the screen, buy a separate screen protector and use it. That way, the next time you drop your iPhone, the result might not be so catastrophic.
As heartbreaking as this scenario is, there are plenty of options available to restore your iPhone’s lovely screen.