What to do if you’ve cracked your iPhone screen

Lauren Goode takes you on a detailed walk through your options. Two stand out. The first is to have an iCracked tech come to you:

I went to iCracked’s website last Tuesday and requested a tech. Within seconds I had a text message from a repair tech. We chatted on the phone, during which time he gave me an estimate. We scheduled an appointment.

On Thursday he showed up at my door with his toolkit. The repairs should take under an hour and average around $99, according to the company. It took my iTech around 25 minutes to fix the iPhone 5S, which was great. But it cost $213, including components, labor and tax.

Afterwards, I tested it to make sure it was working properly. So far, it’s been working as it should.

Another option is to fix the screen yourself using an iFixit repair kit.

I purchased an iPhone 5 repair kit for around $165, including tax and shipping, from iFixit’s website. Within a couple days my kit arrived in the mail. It included a new iPhone 5 screen, a suction cup, two tiny screwdrivers, a plastic pry tool and a magnetized project board with a dry-erase marker – a good idea, since the screws you’re working with are speck-sized.

Then I went to iFixit’s iPhone 5 online repair guide. This is published by the techs at iFixit, but also offers helpful comments and suggestions from other users. The company just put out its iPhone 5S repair guide today, but there’s a reason why I opted to test the DIY kit on a broken iPhone 5 and not my iPhone 5S: I was concerned I might damage the cable that runs under the TouchID fingerprint sensor and disable it.

Disassembling the phone was the easy part (see video below). I was a little bit surprised when I got to the end of those steps, popped the new display in the phone and the iFixit guide told me to just reverse what I had done. Um, okay.

Aside from handling really, really tiny screws, the dicey part was reconnecting the earpiece speaker and camera sensor. I was positive those weren’t going to work once I reassembled the thing. Miraculously, they worked.

It took me an hour and ten minutes to replace the screen myself.

Personally, I would go the iFixIt route. I love taking things apart and putting them back together. Sometimes, the things even work again after I am done with them. Heh.

Good article, Lauren. I learned a lot.



  • kjmci

    So what happens when your speaker or home button stops working and your service request is rejected by Apple due to non-genuine parts being fitted?

    If you’re still within the warranty period for your iPhone you’re better off paying Apple for the repair as they’ll use genuine parts and continue to guarantee your phone for the rest of its warranty.

  • Why?

    New screen at an apple store is 149, takes half an hour, and doesn’t void your warranty after…

    • ort888

      That’s what I was going to say. As of 3 months ago, a new screen at the Apple store is $150 and takes about an hour.

      … or maybe it’s more expensive in California or something. I’m not sure.

      • Moeskido

        I think this piece is meant to help DIY nerds feel useful.

        • CJ

          I think the article is just poor, lazy journalism. She didn’t make any effort to find out what the Apple Store would charged to fix it. She saw on the web the bit about what Apple charged to replace an out of warranty phone and she stopped investigating there. Even if it is written for the DIY crowd, and I think Recode’s audience is a lot broader than that, she should still have researched and reported the full story. Like, you know, a reporter. She leaves her readers completely uninformed of their options and directs them towards more expensive, more complicated, and more risky solutions than are necessary.

          • Moeskido

            Walt Mossberg’s new brand is off to a great start, isn’t it? :/

    • T_Will

      Is it still $150 if your iDevice is past its warranty?

      • CJ

        Yes. A broken screen isn’t covered by warranty. It would be covered by the newer AppleCare+, though, in which case you would pay the less expensive $79 replacement charge. My understanding is that the screen replacement is available for the iPhone 5 and the iPhone 5c, but hasn’t been rolled out yet for the iPhone 5s.

  • lucascott

    Trouble with both of those options is the you could end up with a non serviceable phone. As in Apple will tell you to piss off cause you voided your warranty and all rights to any ‘at their leisure’ OOW repairs.

    IFixit stuff for such, iCracked very likely.