Broken iPhone Screen? Here’s How to Repair & Get it Fixed

Aug 6, 2017 - 30 Comments

a Broken iPhone screen and how to fix it

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.

Broken iPhone screen glass

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:

Broken iPhone screen repair prices from Apple

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:

Broken iPhone plus screen glass

And the same data is restored to an iPhone with a perfect screen:

New iPhone with a fixed 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!

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPhone, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting

30 Comments

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  1. Vivian says:

    My husband dropped his 6s and there’s a diagonal hairline crack across one corner but luckily, the rest is intact. Your insights help with the decision of whether or not to have the screen repaired. Thank you.

    • JJ O'Brien says:

      I had an iPhone a while back with a thin hairline crack, you couldn’t even feel it if you ran your finger across the glass. Ultimately I left that one alone and did not fix it.

      I have also had the misfortune of breaking an iPhone screen thoroughly similar to what is pictured in the images above, and I had that screen repaired through Apple. It was a fast process, I also did it by mail (FedEx, technically). A box arrives and you send your iPhone off for repair, it’s very easy.

      • Luis says:

        The quickest option, however, is going to an apple store if there is one where you live. They can have the iphone fixed on the same day in just a couple of hours for the same $150. And if they can’t replace the screen, they will give you another iphone of the same model for those $150.

  2. John Williams says:

    If you own a thousand dollar phone and you don’t have it insured, you’re a moron. Insurance is cheap.

    • Pidgeon says:

      Who is going to insure an iPhone, or are you talking about AppleCare+?

      Homeowners insurance has a $500 deductible and likely wouldn’t cover an iPhone broken screen, which only costing $150 is likely less than the cost of a years insurance anyway.

      Is there some special iPhone insurance that has no deductible and is cheap? I have never heard of it.

    • Don says:

      If you have a thousand dollar phone you’re a moron.

  3. Aprile says:

    One way to remove broken glass which might be a little safer than the paper towel – use a piece of bread. I know it sounds crazy but if u dab the glass with the bread, the bread will pull it off.

  4. Luis says:

    I just had the experience too with an iphone 6 plus that a relative had given me after she had bought an iphone 7 to replace it. Repairing through Apple is usually the best option. And in physical Apple stores they can do it on the same day for the same $150, as they did in my case. In addition, they told me that if they couldn’t replace the screen they’d give me another iphone 6 plus for the same $150.

    It’s also worth to note that the broken screen may also occur on an ipad, ipod touch or even apple watch. On the watch, however, the screen is quite a bit more expensive (close to $200), considering it’s a very small screen. So beware of breaking your apple watch screen.

  5. Ashok Yog says:

    A very good guidance regarding repairs to iPhone. Till date I did not need repairing yet the various options should be known. Thanks

  6. Colin Reid says:

    When I bought my new phone recently I also bought a Gecko protection case. I had already got one for my iPad and am very impressed with their, admittedly promoted, protection, but so far so good. They are reputed to be rain proof, dust proof and resistant to a 6 foot fall and, I think, are used by the US army. They are not excessively expensive, especially when you’re protecting something worth so much money. I’ve used mine while travelling and had enough confidence to leave the iPad lying around on the floor of the car. Incidentally I have NO PERSONAL INTEREST IN Gecko or any subsidiaries.

  7. Rob says:

    A cautionary tale:

    When my iPhone 5 battery failed I took the phone to my local Apple Store, about 4:30 PM. They said they could fix it that day, but I was in a hurry, and said I’d return for it the next morning. They required my passwords to do the repair. By the time I got home, about 45 minutes later, I had MASSIVE numbers of spam on my iPad referencing nearly every detail contained on the phone. I also had an email from the Apple Store telling me the repair was complete. The spam email time stamps began about 15 minutes before the time stamp of the email telling me the repair was complete. It was very obvious that someone in the repair dept had stolen and sold my identity. The next several months were a nightmare. Fortunately, I use strong and unique passwords for every account, as well as 1Password (God bless ’em), and immediately asked the 3 credit bureaus for credit freezes, but the prolonged and protracted tide of hacking attempts caused me no end of grief. It’s still not over, some 18 months later. i reported this adventure to management at the Apple Store the morning after it happened, first verbally, then in writing. They blew me off, and not courteously either.

    I was unfortunate enough to break the screen about 6 months later. Once bitten, twice shy, I ordered a screen from an on-line mongrel supplier and installed it myself. No pedigree, but no identity theft either. Replacement was fiddly and a little scary for a guy who’s basically all thumbs, but Frankenphone is alive today, albeit passed along to an acquaintance.

    My take? The Apple Store, it’s not all that!

  8. Gijs ter Haat says:

    I’m sorry mate, but getting it fixed by Apple sure as hell isn’t the best option
    Come on, 150 bucks?

    • b9bot says:

      $150 is cheap for an OEM Apple screen that is calibrated like the factory versus 3rd party which actually charge $160 like you see in the mall. They don’t calibrate, they don’t use ESD safe equipment, they don’t replace the entire display, only the glass. Apple is by far the best way to get your iPhone repaired. Most times if they do replace the entire display you will not have a working fingerprint sensor because they again don’t have the proper equipment to calibrate it.

    • Luis says:

      There is no other option as far as price unless you have it repaired by somebody not authorized by apple, in which case you may be putting your device at risk and/or voiding its warranty. Otherwise, the only choices available are either going to an apple store, mailing the device to apple or taking it to an autorized service center. Regardless, the price is always the same $150 because apple sets it; what changes is how long they take: mailing it to apple takes at least two business days and the service center can take the same or more, while at the apple store they can do it on the same day in just a couple of hours depending on their workload.

    • Luis says:

      I forgot to mention that with Apple, whether you mail your iphone or go to a store, they will provide a replacement iphone for the same $150 if they are unable to replace the cracked screen on the one being serviced. Authorized service centers don’t usually offer that.

  9. Ogles of Kansas says:

    I broke an iPhone display and one time got a third party display that was garbage. After that the next one that broke went through Apple. Relatives and friends had similar experiences.

  10. Geekster says:

    I keep my iPhone 7 sealed up in the original shrink wrapped box I purchased it in. I havn’t used it yet in the 7 months I have had it, but I’m sure it looks brand new!

  11. Jillathena says:

    I just replaced the screen on my daughters iPhone 5c. Not for the faint of heart it took a heat gun and two hours on patience (as I did lots a research before peeling off any glued in parts). Works like a charm. Not original parts but it’s not a 6 or 7 either. $39 and the kit included most tools I needed (not the heat gun, though). If you are patient, handy, have nerves of steel, and world won’t end if you screw it, it’s doable. The next one will be easier.

  12. randy butler says:

    my wife bought an I phone and dropped it and broke the screen.she called the repair center and they sent a box to ship it in.we told them to repair the screen and what ever else it might need.after having the phone about 2 weeks they sent it back saying it needed more than just a screen and they didn’t have authorization to do that repair.She contacted them again and told them we want it fixed.They sent another box and she sent it in.This time they had it about a week and sent her a message that someone had tampered with the phone and that they would not do the work.Well they were the only ones who looked at the phone and we tried to tell them that they had it previously but said they would not do it since it had been tampered with.what is our recourse?

    • Pablo says:

      Is the iPhone under warranty? Is this Apple or a third party repair center?

      I would talk directly to Apple Support and if the tech isn’t able to help, I would ask to speak with a manager or a supervisor (ask nicely, nobody likes a grump). Explain the situation and what happened, and they should be able to help you. I have had really good success with Apple Support over the years, but I always approach things as pleasant as possible and explain what happened and what I’d like to remedy the difficulty.

  13. cashxx says:

    I never got the warranty! Pay for a warranty and then still pay for the repair! Shame on Apple for being greedy! Warranty should cover anything for that amount of period you payed for. I don’t think I ever had a warranty not cover something and setup the same as Apple has it.

    • Tom says:

      Of course you pay for the repair, you broke it. The Apple Warranty covers factory error and problems with the device that are not user caused. User damage is not something any warranty covers for good reason, it is not insurance. Additionally, the Apple Warranty allows you to have access to the Express Repair service while it under the warranty coverage, but you must pay for the repair if it is user damaged.

      If the iPhone is out of warranty and the screen breaks, you pay the full cost and do not have access to the Express service option.

      You can buy AppleCare+ for an extended warranty that also covers accidental damage, which is more like an insurance plan than a warranty.

  14. John says:

    I like using the Apple Support app which diagnoses the problem, has many options, and the chat feature with a live technician. They did all of the same research and decision making above for me at the best cost. The chat was very professional, considerate, and efficient.

  15. Steve M. says:

    I had to repair my wife’s phone before I sent it back to Sprint. There’s a uBreakiFix store 5 minutes away. They repaired the glass for 89.99. We’re also going to put glass shields on our new phones (49.95) which comes with a warranty to replace the screen if it shatters for $9.00 for 2 years. A better option than the soul sucking Apple Store.

    • Steve M. says:

      Yes, I know it isn’t an “Apple” screen, but it looks brand new, the work is warrantied. and it took me 30 minutes. I’ve replaced a couple of screens myself with Chinese screens from Amazon. Wasn’t that tough, but I’d still rather pay somebody to do it.

      With my new phones from Sprint (iPhone 7’s), the APP wasn’t an option. I could have signed up for $13 a month for Sprint’s Highway Robbery Plan, but I haven’t lost a phone in 28 years and have only broken one. All in all, I wouldn’t have mind paying $99 for the APP (that’s $4.13 a month for two years), but Sprint couldn’t (wouldn’t) do it.

  16. I am glad that you elaborated that when it comes to getting an iPhone fixed that it isn’t cheap, but the benefits are totally worth it. It’s good to know that when it comes to going to a repair shop to fix it that there will be provide good service and actually know what they are doing. My brother is notorious for dropping his phone, and this last time didn’t end pretty so being able to take it somewhere to get it fixed works well for him.

  17. John says:

    Apple is great for getting your product fixed but there’s the hassle of needing an appointment or you can go and wait. Expensive!

    A company called Icracked.com will go to your house and fix your screen on almost any apple product. My Iphone 6 screen was replaced twice. $100. Not bad. Broke my phone on a Friday and it was fixed the next day.

    • Jeram says:

      Third party screen repairs are not under warranty by Apple, and often use non-OEM components. Additionally, for new iPhone models, repairing a broken screen through third parties is often more expensive than going through Apple.

      But use whatever you want, personally I repaired mine through Apple because I do not want any doubts about quality and the cost was less than alternatives.

  18. Gause says:

    A very good guidance regarding repairs to iPhone. Thanks for a great read.

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