Have you broken your iPhone screen before? It’s not a particularly pleasant experience. I recently dropped my $950 iPhone 7 Plus onto a dirt trail from about three feet up and the screen completely shattered, to the point where glass shards were sticking out. Uh oh, a broken iPhone screen! Now what!?
If you break your iPhone screen and the glass has cracked or shattered, you’re probably wondering what to do, and what comes next. Having just been through the broken iPhone screen experience myself and with a friends iPhone too, I figured I would share some details and what I learned regarding options to get it fixed.
I broke my iPhone screen, what should I do? How can I get it fixed?
OK so you broke your iPhone screen, likely from a drop or some other impact. Stuff happens.
If you break your iPhone screen, don’t panic. Assess the damage, watch out for broken glass, investigate your repair options, and then get it fixed. Here are the steps:
1: Don’t Panic, Assess the Damage
Give the iPhone a good assessment, how bad is the screen? Is there just a single hairline fracture in the glass, or is the display glass completely shattered?
Some cracked screens really aren’t that bad, while others are terrible. I’ve seen some cracked iPhone displays with a single minor crack or two that don’t take away from the devices usability whatsoever, and in those situations it’s much easier to ignore, and you may not even want to replace it if a minor crack is not impacting device usage and is not a hazard.
And then there’s the broken iPhone screens like mine, where the glass has completely shattered and the display is beyond destroyed, with protruding glass shards. When an iPhone screen is broken that badly, you’ll want to do something about it.
2: Watch Out for Broken Glass
Be careful of broken glass! If your iPhone screen has shattered badly enough for glass shards to lift away from the display unit, watch out. Those broken screen glass fragments are freakishly sharp, small, fragile, and splintery, and are less than pleasant to get stuck in your skin.
Personally I use a plastic iPhone screen protector and that kept a lot of the smaller glass shards in place, but nonetheless some of the glass pieces splintered out and were falling off around the edges and where the screen protector did not hold the broken glass together.
If you have a screen protector on the iPhone, do not remove it. If you try and peel off one of the plastic screen protectors that is overplayed on shattered glass you’re going to send broken glass pieces all over the place. Don’t do that. If you have a case on the iPhone, be very careful when removing that case, since glass may come off with it.
This is not recommended and you should absolutely not do this, but here is what I did to reduce the splintering hazard: I put on some glasses and hovered the iPhone over a garbage can and then gently wiped the small protruding shattered glass shards away from the screen using a disposable paper towel (it gets the glass stuck in it, you won’t want to keep whatever you wipe the screen with). My aim was to dislodge any of the broken glass that was protruding or going to fall out anyway. It’s literally rubbing a paper towel against shattered glass, admittedly stupid and I am not recommending anyone else do this, but that is what I did.
3: Investigate iPhone Screen Repair Options
I investigated various screen repair options, and for my purposes and my device (an iPhone 7 Plus) I came to the conclusion that getting it repaired through Apple was the best option.
You can find the prices to repair broken iPhone screens at Apple here, the screen repair price chart below is borrowed from the Apple website:
For my situation, the cost is $150 for a new iPhone 7 Plus screen replacement plus $7 for shipping, but the cost of screen repairs varies on the particular device. Not surprisingly, the Plus models with larger screens cost more to repair and replace than smaller screen devices.
No it’s not cheap to replace a broken iPhone screen (unless you have the extended AppleCare+ warranty anyway, in which case it’s only $29) but the benefits of going through Apple are that you’re practically guaranteed to have good service by a savvy tech, and they will use Apple OEM components.
While you certainly don’t have to go through Apple directly to get your iPhone screen repaired, I personally would at least recommend going through an Apple Authorized Service provider. There are many screen repair and replacement services out there, but some of them may use lower quality third party components which can result in poor touchscreen performance. For some older iPhone models it may not matter quite as much, but for newer iPhones I think it’s worth it to have a high quality Apple screen installed properly by a certified tech.
4: Contact Apple & Repair the Broken iPhone Screen
Because my iPhone 7 Plus was still under warranty, I ended up contacting Apple Support and going for the express repair service.
The express service is excellent and very convenient. Apple puts a hold on your credit card for the full value of a new iPhone and then they send you a new iPhone. When the new iPhone arrives to you, you restore your (broken) iPhone to that new iPhone, then package up your broken iPhone and send the broken device back to Apple. Yes, you keep the new iPhone. Once Apple gets the broken iPhone, they release the hold on your credit card, and then bill you the price of the repair. This is fast, easy, efficient, and perhaps more importantly – you’re never without a phone throughout the entire repair process, and you can easily transfer all of your data and stuff to the new device. I had never used the express repair service option until now, but it worked so well that it’s hard not to recommend.
The screen broken iPhone is sent off to Apple:
And the same data is restored to an iPhone with a perfect screen:
You can also take your iPhone into an Apple Store and initiate repairs that way, whether it’s fixing it the same day (sometimes an option), swapping it out in the Apple Store, or whatever other repair options are available to you and with your iPhone. Or you can take your iPhone to an Apple Authorized repair and service center and have them take a look and give you options. What you do is up to you.
If your iPhone is not under warranty and you have the broken screen repaired through Apple, you may be without an iPhone for a few days while it is being fixed, or you may be given a loaner iPhone during the repair period. This really depends on multiple factors, contact Apple or an authorized repair center to learn your options since each situation is unique.
What about Fixing iPhone 7 Screen Yourself? DIY?
As a DIY kind of guy (how is that for a cheesy rhyme!), my first inclination was to find a repair kit and fix the screen myself. After searching around and finding many screen replacement component kits on Amazon at various prices, I noticed many of them are not OEM components and have mixed reviews in terms of quality, which is a bit off-putting. While you can get a screen from Amazon, iFixIt, or elsewhere, it’s often more expensive than having Apple just replace the screen for you, plus you’ll still need a set of tiny screwdrivers and various tools for the job, and a fair amount of patience.
Lessons Learned from Breaking an iPhone Screen
This is the second iPhone screen I’ve broken and I’ve had nearly every model since the iPhone debuted. The screens are generally pretty tough, but nothing is perfect and they can still break, even when they’re in a case. If the iPhone falls screen down or against a hard object, the glass is probably going to break. If the glass breaks and the iPhone is dropped into water, the entire phone might be toast.
And a few things to help for the future:
- Use a protective iPhone case
- Use an iPhone screen protector
- Be more careful with your iPhone, don’t juggle it over rocks or play catch with it over concrete
- Consider getting AppleCare+ for iPhone, which has accident coverage and makes repairs much cheaper
- Accept that breaking an iPhone is a risk of iPhone ownership, and don’t stress about it
- If the Touch ID and Home Button glass breaks too, you will probably want to enable the virtual Home button with Assistive Touch until it gets fixed, remember that broken Home buttons and other damage are separate repairs from simply breaking a screen
Have you ever broken your iPhone screen? Did you get it fixed through Apple or a repair center? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments!