By Tonny Akankwatsa
These days, our phones are pretty much all screen. So, for the clumsy among us, dropping your phone and shattering your screen is an ever-present danger.
What to do Right Away
Smashed screens come in many different levels of severity and you could be dealing with anything from a completely shattered display and a non-working phone, to a small crack in one corner of the screen and a device that still works fine. Not all of these solutions are applicable to every scenario but we’ll try and guide you as best we can.
First, assess the damage, and that means getting your phone on a solid surface and in a good light, not just giving it a quick once-over before stuffing it back in your pocket. With a little bit of stress testing and careful prodding you should be able to work out whether the screen is about to fall off or fail completely. In a lot of cases it will stay in place, cracks and all, so you can at least keep tweeting, so long as the screen is still visible and functioning.
If the phone is seriously damaged, get it backed up as quickly as you can, making sure all your photos and videos and important files are saved somewhere else just in case it can’t function any more and you can’t get it working again. If it’s already stopped functioning, then a professional repair is probably your best bet. Here are the solutions, in ascending order of professionalism.
The name of the game here is, hold out until eligible for an upgrade. If you want to keep using the cracked phone, and don’t want to risk losing glass or slicing up your fingers, cover the screen with a layer of packing tape. Line everything up carefully and trim it with knife and it may look almost like a real screen protector.
The gussied-up version of the packing tape solution. This ensures that you’ve got no seams and a clean line around the edges of the screen. Granted, that might not be much of a concern when underneath there’s a spiderweb of cracks.
Replace the Screen Yourself
It is possible to replace a phone screen on your own. Let me refer you to iFixit for their excellent, step-by-step guide with photos. A few key things to keep in mind here: Before you decide to go this route, look into the cost of the replacement screen. Today’s phone screens, which incorporate touch interaction and possibly biometric sensors, don’t come cheap.
Also look into the warranty situation. If you’re the kind of person who is willing to fix a phone yourself, you’re probably not too worried about maintaining your warranty—but it still can’t hurt to know if you’re going to void it.
Finally, unless you’re already accomplished at repairing modern solid-state electronics, you probably lack the specialized tools you’ll need for the job. Luckily, iFixit sells a handy kit that includes pretty much everything you’ll need, with the possible exception of their iOpener, a tube you heat up and apply to the phone to soften its adhesives.
Call In a Professional
You can always just take your phone into the shop. If you’re an iPhone person, look for your local Apple Store here. Best Buy will work on iPhones and Samsung phones. And finally, UBreakIFix has more than 400 locations across the country.