Most of us have experienced that unfortunate moment when your phone slips out of your hand and the screen is smashed to pieces. Not only is it unsightly, it can make your phone impossible to use – but fixing it doesn’t have to break the bank.
If you’ve got a cracked screen, first you should assess how bad the damage is. You might be able to live with small cracks that don’t block your view too much, but larger cracks should probably be dealt with immediately. If the colours on your screen are abnormal or some pixels are no longer displaying, the damage has gone much further than the glass on top and has affected the LCD panel beneath.
1. Back up your phone first
Before you consider any of these options, we recommend that you back up your phone so that precious photos and other files are not lost.
The damage to the screen could have a deeper impact you’re not aware of and some of these processes may require you to send your phone off, so it’s best to sort out copies right away.
2. Is my phone already covered?
Phone insurance policies cover accidental damage to smartphones and many typically include cracked screens.
You may have bought insurance from your network carrier with your phone, or you have coverage from a specialist such as Protect Your Bubble. From £7.99 per month, Protect Your Bubble not only covers damage but also theft, and has an excess of £50 for damage or £75 for theft or loss.
You may also have phone insurance as part of your bank account, such as Lloyds Bank Added Value Account which charges a monthly fee and includes phone insurance. Existing customers can apply to upgrade online. Check with your bank if you’re not sure.
However, it might be worth seeing how much it costs for a dedicated repair shop to fix the problem – it could actually be cheaper and won’t affect your insurance premiums.
3. Will the phone’s manufacturer fix the screen?
Warranties don’t typically cover accidental damage, so you’re unlikely to get a free repair under warranty for a cracked screen. However, your smartphone’s manufacturer may offer a paid repair instead.
Getting the manufacturer to look at your phone instead of a third party is preferable as it obviously knows what’s best for its own devices. Samsung has some support centres across the UK – find your nearest location on their website.
Check out your manufacturer’s website for details. Remember, if your manufacturer does offer repairs, they’ll probably cost more than an independent shop.
4. Can I go to a repair shop?
There are a host of stores who can fix your phone for you, but take care when going down this route, research first – ask friends and look for any comments online. Make sure you get a clear quote before handing over your phone and money.
It’s also important to note that some manufacturers void warranty if it is tampered with by a third-party repair outlet. This would mean that if you have serious problems in the future and try to send it back to the manufacturer, they will refuse to replace it.
Some stores will repair your phone while you wait. iSmash has 20 stores nationwide, many in railway stations and shopping centres, including Sheffield, Bristol and Manchester. Phone screens can be repaired within 30 minutes and start from £20. All repairs come with a lifetime warranty.
Lovefone is a good example if you are based London, offering on-the-spot repairs. If you are happy to send your phone away you can choose Fone Angels, while iCracked.com will come out to you at a time and location to suit you.
It’s a good idea to shop around, see which option offers the best services you need and the most reasonable price.
5. Can I fix it myself?
The DIY solution is a risky option but it can be done if you are confident and skilled enough to do repair work on electronics. It is not recommended to even attempt this if you have any doubts, because you could cause even more damage.
If you think you can do it, you’ll need to find a repair kit by searching on a site such as eBay first - always remember to check the seller is trustworthy.
You would then need to find instructions on how to proceed from a website like iFixit.
6. Should I just sell my phone?
If your phone is a bit older, it might not be worth paying for repairs. But don’t throw it away just yet, as you can sell damaged devices to get a bit of money back.
Technicians are happy to buy broken devices as they can use the spare parts. So you could list your phone on eBay and put the money towards a new phone.
7. Learn from your mistakes
Phone dropping is hard to avoid but you should consider giving your handset some extra protection in case it happens again.
A decent case that can cover the screen could save your phone next time round – see a selection we’ve handpicked here.