Since smartphones have become such a natural extension of our lives and we take these devices wherever we go–even to bed sometimes–accidental damages such as cracked screens on these miniature computers have become an unfortunate reality for many consumers. The chances of damage increases if you’re not using a case or skin on your phone, but design purists would argue that these cases ruin the natural feel of the device as they were designed. Add to that, if you have kids, especially young ones who love to throw things, your chances of a device being dropped and resulting in a cracked or damaged display increases dramatically. So, if you end up with a cracked screen, here are five different repair options that could work for you.
1. Contact the Manufacturer
Certain manufacturer or retail stores, like the Apple and Microsoft, offer extended warranty options that you can purchase. You should inquire about these options, like AppleCare+ or Microsoft Complete, at the point of purchase for your new phone or tablet as there may be time restrictions on when you can still partake if you don’t buy the extended warranties right away.
Apple’s AppleCare+ covers the iPhone and costs $99 to take part in. Accidental damage claims can be made at the cost of $49 per incident, and you’re limited to two incidents per year, so hopefully your case of the butterfingers is more of a rare accident rather than a common nuisance. The AppleCare+ plan covers you for two years from the date of purchase.
You can either bring in your iPhone to an Apple retail store or mail it to Apple after you talk to their telephone service, giving users who don’t live within range of an Apple store some flexibility. Apple may either fix the device on the spot, with simple repairs, or give you a refurbished model of the same kind in exchange for your device. As a general principle, back up your device before heading to your local Genius Bar in case Apple needs to do a device swap.
Microsoft’s Complete doesn’t yet cover any of the Windows Phone 8 smartphones sold through the retailer from the information we gathered through Internet searches, but if you’re a tablet user and have purchased a Windows 8 tablet from Microsoft, Complete may help you there.
2. Accidental Damage Insurance Coverage
Your carrier of choice may offer you an insurance plan that you typically can sign up within thirty days of purchasing a new handset. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon all partner with insurance provider Asurion. To partake, you’ll have to pay a monthly premium, usually between a few dollars to $10 depending on what type of coverage you opt for, and when you need to file a claim you’ll be assessed a deductible depending on what device you have. Deductibles vary between $50 to $200 per incident, and you’re typically limited to two incidents per year.
Insurance language can be confusing, and users don’t need to pay for more than what you need. For example, AT&T offers AT&T Mobile Insurance, which costs $6.99 per month on top of your wireless bill, and that policy covers accidental damage, theft, and loss. A higher $9.99 tier will give you enhanced support and location service to track your handset. We’d recommend the cheaper option as there are free or paid services that offer you tracking service, like Apple’s Find My iPhone.
Asurion typically replaces the smartphone with a new smartphone of the same model. However, the insurance provider does say it has the option to give you a refurbished phone. If you have a damaged device claim, you are required to send in your old device to Asurion. The charges, including deductibles, are added to your wireless bill.
The cheapest option for repairing a cracked screen would be to do it yourself, or using the DIY method. Users can look at iFixIt for the repair guide on how to take their phones apart and then how to repair the damaged or cracked screen. YouTube videos are another great reference to get visuals on handling the repair process.
Glass screen components can vary widely. Older phone displays can cost as little as $30 or $40 while newer flagships can cost $60-$100 or more, depending on where you shop for parts. You can try Amazon, eBay, iFixIt, or search the web for replacement screens your phone model.
In addition to purchasing the display itself, you would also need to purchase the tools to pry open the phone or the appropriate screwdrivers to get inside the device.
Though the experience can be frustrating and take a few hours to complete, this option may give techies the most satisfaction.
4. Local Repair Shop
Depending on where you live, there may be local repair shops that can help out. Select Best Buy locations may offer on-site Geek Squad help. Other options including searching the Internet for local repair stores, or visiting your local mall for a repair kiosk. Shop around, search the Internet for local shops in your area, visit the White Pages, and check Yelp reviews before bringing your device in.
Repairs typically cost around $100 or more, and can take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or two. These local repairs are typically done on site.
Like with DIY repairs, repairs done through unofficial third-party sources usually void the warranty.