The Best Options for Repairing a Cracked iPhone Screen

No matter how careful we try to be, everyone drops their iPhone or iPod touch from time to time. Usually, the consequences of a drop aren’t serious, but in some cases, screens crack or shatter. Some of these cracks are minor cosmetic problems that don’t affect whether you can use your device. Others, however, are so extensive that it becomes very hard to see the screen or use the iPhone.

A lot of businesses offer low-cost screen replacement, but beware: If you’re not careful, you could end up violating your warranty from Apple and losing all the support and benefits it offers.

Fixing a Cracked iPhone Screen If You're Under Warranty

The standard warranty that comes with the iPhone doesn’t cover accidental damage, which means that a cracked screen isn’t something that Apple fixes as part of the warranty.

Cracked Iphone screen
Cracked Iphone. Getty Images

One crucial term of the iPhone warranty is that if the iPhone is taken apart by anyone other than an Apple-authorized tech, the entire warranty is automatically voided. Virtually all of the low-cost repair shops are not Apple authorized, so saving money with them can mean that you lose your entire warranty.

So, if you need a repair, the first thing you should do is check to see whether your iPhone is still under warranty. If it is, get support directly from Apple, the phone company you bought the phone from, or from an Apple-authorized reseller.

One nice bonus of having Apple fix your phone is that Apple stores can replace screens without having to send your phone out for service, so you'll be back using your phone in no time.

Fixing a Cracked iPhone Screen If You Have AppleCare

The situation is fairly similar if you purchased an AppleCare extended warranty. In this case, it's even more important that you go directly to Apple since using an unauthorized repair shop will not only void your standard warranty but also the AppleCare warranty, meaning you’re just throwing out the money you spent on it.

Unlike the standard iPhone warranty, AppleCare covers up to two incidents of accidental damage, with a fee for each repair. This rate is likely more than an unauthorized repair shop will charge, but it maintains your warranty and ensures that your repair is performed by the people best trained to do it.

Fixing a Cracked iPhone Screen If You Have iPhone Insurance

If you purchased iPhone insurance through your phone company or on your own, you should check with your insurance company to understand their policies around screen repair. Most iPhone insurance covers accidental damage. Depending on your policy, you may have to pay a deductible and a repair fee, but that combo may be less than replacing the iPhone entirely.

If you do have iPhone insurance, though, make sure to get all the facts and fees before committing to using your insurance, as many people complain about bad experiences when they use insurance for these sorts of repairs.

We recommend that iPhone owners shouldn't buy insurance at all. Find out why in 6 Reasons You Should Never Buy iPhone Insurance.

Fixing a Cracked iPhone Screen If Your iPhone is Out of Warranty

If you don’t have a warranty or insurance coverage for your phone, you've got more options. In this case, choosing a low-cost repair shop may be a good idea since it will save you money. If you don’t have a warranty or AppleCare, you have less to lose by using one of these shops.

It’s a good idea to use a shop that's experienced with iPhone repair and has a good reputation. Even though they can't violate a warranty that's no longer in effect, an unskilled repair person could cause additional damage to the body or interior electronics of your iPhone, which will cause more problems and could lead you to need to buy a new phone.

Fixing a Cracked iPhone Screen If You’re Eligible for an Upgrade

If you've had your iPhone for more than two years, or would consider switching to a new phone company, you're likely eligible for a discounted upgrade to one of the newer models. A cracked screen might be a great motivator for an upgrade.

If you do upgrade, check out the businesses that buy used iPhones. They even buy ones with broken screens, so you can turn your old phone into extra cash.

How to Prevent Screen Damage in the Future

There’s no foolproof strategy for preventing damage to screens. If your phone takes enough falls and abuse, eventually even the best-protected iPhone will crack. But for most of us, a few simple steps can reduce the likelihood of cracked screens. Try using:

  • Cases: Some cases offer screen protection, some don’t. Even if the case you have doesn't include a screen protector, the case itself will provide some safety that will reduce the possibility of damaging the screen.
  • Screen Protectors: These thin, plastic overlays generally protect the screen from scratches or dings, but they can offer a little extra defense against cracks, too. A case is a more comprehensive solution, but screen protectors are good add-ons.
  • AppleCare: For your next phone, consider buying AppleCare if you didn’t in the past. It adds a bit to your overall cost, but it's usually worth it to get two full years of support and repairs from trained experts.