If you break your iOS device screen, all hope is not lost.
First of all, that really stinks! I've broken screens before and it's never any fun. Fortunately, Apple has actually made it extremely easy to get a screen repaired or replaced. I'm writing this article because I want to get the word out there.
Here's my guide explaining what to do if you crack your screen.
1. Check Your Warranty Status
Head over to Apple's warranty checker to check your status. There are three possible outcomes:
- Out of warranty
- 1st year manufacturers warranty
- Covered by AppleCare+
Out Of Warranty
If you are out of warranty, don't freak out. You can still get a replacement at the Apple Store, and I strongly encourage you to let Apple handle it. I'll go into that more later.
1st Year Manufacturer's Warranty
If you're under the manufacturer's warranty, you still have to pay the same replacement cost as being out of warranty, as the 1st year warranty doesn't cover accidental damage. There is a replacement cost list below.
If you have AppleCare+, go you! You payed $99 with your device and can get a replacement at an Apple Store or through AppleCare for $50-80, depending on the device. I have a full list of repair costs listed below.
Note: Hairline Cracks Are Covered Under Warranty
One type of break is actually covered by warranty if you go to an Apple Store — a hairline crack. As of 2014, Apple considers a hairline crack to be a defect in the glass and will replace the device for free within the first year, or within the first two years if you purchased AppleCare+ (Apple's extended warranty plan).
The way you know if you have a hairline crack is that it is a single line. If there is any other sign of damage or an obvious place of impact, the Family Room Specialist (the guys/gals who service iOS devices in Apple Stores) will not cover it under warranty.
If your device has multiple cracks or a spider web crack, you will have to pay the full replacement cost.
2. Backup Your Device (If Possible)
Make sure that you are backed up to either iTunes or iCloud so that when you take the step to get your device replaced, you are also able to get your photos and personal data back as well.
To backup to iTunes, plug in your iOS device to a PC or Mac with iTunes installed and press "Backup" on the device summary screen.
Tip: If you encrypt your backup, you do not have to enter your passwords again. Just don't forget your encryption password, or you won't be able to get your information back!
To backup to iCloud, go to Settings > iCloud > Storage and Backup (iOS 7) or Backup (iOS 8) and press "Backup Now". If you don't have enough storage, you can always buy more storage, which Apple just recently made a lot more affordable.
Apple can replace your device all day long, but they can't replace your photos or memories.
3. Get It Replaced At An Apple Store
Please, for the love of all that is sacred, take it to an Apple store or call AppleCare.
Do not take it to the mall kiosk guy, the iRepairFixBreakYouFixit place, your local gas station that does iPhone repairs, or some whizz-kid that can do it in his lair. Here's why:
Apple will replace your device for a reasonable cost — while maintaining your current warranty status. If you are out of warranty, Apple will actually give you a 90 day warranty on the new device.
Tip — Mixed Warranty Repair
If you are still under AppleCare, AppleCare+, or the 1 year manufacturer's warranty and you have a broken screen AND another issue that is covered under warranty, Apple will actually replace your device for free — IF the other issue is not in any way connected to the screen break.
For example, if your lock button is jammed (top of device) and the bottom of your screen is cracked, it's up to the Family Room Specialist to make the call on whether or not the lock button issue is or is not related to the screen break. A good FRS likes to make customers happy, and will actually look for opportunities to do this. It's really fun to make someone's day. They just need to justify it.
There is no use in trying to push through to management or by throwing a fit and being a jerk to get your way. In a well-run Genius Bar, the management will always take the side of the technician unless the technician is acting outside of the spirit of Apple service, which is to do the best thing for the customer at all times.
Apple Washes Their Hands Of Your Device If You Go Somewhere Else
If you take it somewhere else to get it fixed, Apple sees that as you taking service of the device into your own hands and won't touch it anymore. Your only option, if anything else goes wrong, is to go back to the person who fixed it on the cheap, buy a brand new device (for $500-700 — ouch!), or buy a used one on eBay.
I saw countless customers who had their screen replaced somewhere else come in because it wouldn't turn on anymore, and had to tell them that we wouldn't repair it.
Another thing to note is that on the iPhone 5 and up, there is a semi-complex calibration process that must occur on the MultiTouch, Proximity Sensor, and Display that uses a highly specialized, custom array of equipment that ONLY an Apple store has. So getting your iPhone 5 and up screen replaced somewhere else can cause major problems down the road if you don't let Apple fix it.
It's SO Obvious You've Had It Fixed By Someone Else
You may think, "Oh, they'll never know I got it done somewhere else." You would be wrong :)
The Apple Store iOS technicians see hundreds of devices every week and can sniff out a third-party job a mile away.
Realistically, I'd say about 1 in every 1,000 would get through. Realistically.
So please, please, please — do not get it repaired anywhere else. Pony up and let Apple handle it. You will be much better off for it.
Don't Do It Yourself
You can literally die if you try to replace the screen of an iPhone or iPad yourself and you don't know what you're doing. I'm not kidding.
The battery is very soft and squishy and isn't protected by anything else besides the outer enclosure. If you so much as barely dent the battery or puncture it, it will burst into flames and spew poisonous gas into the room. Lithium-Ion batteries are extremely volatile when disturbed.
You can burn down your house, injure yourself, and/or die.
Don't do it.
4. Mail It In To AppleCare
If you are far away from an Apple Store, you can still get help. You can set up a mail-in repair through AppleCare by calling 1-800-APL-CARE (1-800-275-2273) or go to getsupport.apple.com .
Apple's GetSupport site just got revamped and it is amazing. I highly recommend going there for more information.
One thing to note is that if AppleCare sends you the device first, they will charge you the full cost of the device as collateral until they receive your broken device in return. It's kind of a bummer, but it's the way the world works.
Screen and Total Replacement Costs
These prices apply if you replace your device through an Apple Retail Store or mail it in through AppleCare. These prices are competitive with what the guy on the street can do it for.
Here's a breakdown of each device and its replacement cost.
As of September 2014.
Note: there is a $6.95 cost added for shipping if you mail it in.
Interesting Things to Note About Repairs and Pricing:
1. You can still get original iPads replaced, although it's not worth it.
2. As of Summer 2013, Apple was still replacing Original iPhones, but I think most of them have gone "Vintage" by now. (Vintage is Apple's way of saying that after 5 years they won't service it anymore. I may be wrong about this, somebody correct me).
3. It is cheaper to get an iPhone 6 display replaced than getting an iPhone 5, 5C, 5s, or 6 Plus display replaced. It's also only $10 more than getting a 3G or 3GS display replaced.
4. It costs $30 more to replace an iPhone 6 Plus than an iPad Air.
5. These repair costs are agnostic to storage models. For example, it's the same cost to replace a 128GB iPad Air as it is to replace an 16GB iPad Air. This also applies to iPhones.
6. Although the AppleCare+ is still $99, it costs $79 to do an AppleCare+ replacement for iPhones 5 and up, while it only costs $49 to replace all iPads. I think this speaks to the fact that the iPhone is often a more expensive device (a new iPad Air 16GB is $499 whereas a new iPhone 6 in 16GB is $650 at full price).
7. Apple has been known to bend rules when it comes to replacing devices. For example, there were a few months where our store was supply constrained for 3GSs and started replacing customers' 3GSs with iPhone 4s. Same thing happened with the 4 and 4S.
8. These prices do change rapidly, and I will do my best to keep them updated.