Smashing the screen on your iPhone (or iPad or iPod, for that matter) is sadly a common issue. We've all been there: you drop your beloved phone or tablet, reach down and pick it up - of course it landed screen down - and inspect the damage, only to have your worst fears confirmed. The screen is shattered.
Well, chin up. It's bad, but it's not disastrous. You have options. In this article we round up the five best ways of repairing a damaged iPhone or iPad display, and explain the pros and cons of each. We'll have that screen repaired in no time, don't you worry.
The tips in this article, by the way, are all about mending iPhone displays that are visibly broken. If your iPhone's screen just isn't working or responding to your touch, try How to fix a frozen iPhone screen. If the glass back of your iPhone 8 has broken, on the other hand, our advice will be broadly similar but it will be more expensive than getting the screen fixed, with an excess fee of £79/$99 even if you've got AppleCare+.
Get Apple to repair the screen
Apple will come to the rescue and repair your cracked screen, but it won't do this for free, even if you're still in the warranty period, as accidental damage isn't covered by the standard warranty.
If you went the extra mile and paid for AppleCare+ - read about AppleCare+ for iPhone here, and AppleCare+ for iPad here - then the cost won't be too high. AppleCare+ includes repairs for up to two cases of accidental damage. But there's still an excess fee. Users need to pay £25/$29 to fix their iPhone display no matter what model it is, with all other repairs costing a flat rate of £79/$99.
Assuming you haven't got AppleCare+, the cost of your screen repair will be much higher - particularly in the case of the iPhone X. It's best to get in touch with Apple and see what they'd charge in your case, but the company quotes the following prices for screen repairs. (Note that other damage will carry higher fees - around twice as much. See here for more details.)
- iPhone X: £286.44/$279
- iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6s Plus: £176.44/$169
- iPhone 8, iPhone 7, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6 Plus: £156.44/$149
- iPhone SE, iPhone 6, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5: £136.44/$129
Here are the non-AppleCare costs for iPad screen repairs:
- iPad mini, iPad mini 2: £196.44/$199
- iPad mini 3, iPad mini 4: £296.44/$299
- iPad 2, iPad Air, iPad 9.7in (2017): £246.44/$249
- iPad Air 2, iPad 3, iPad 4: £296.44/$299
- iPad Pro 9.7in: £356.44/$379
- iPad Pro 10.5in: £426.44/$449
- iPad Pro 12.9in (2015), iPad Pro 12.9in (2017): £566.44/$599
If this appeals you can read about Apple's policies on iPhone screen repairs here, and on iPad screen repairs here, but many of us will be looking for a cheaper repair than this. So, what other options are available?
Go to a high-street retailer
The high street. The one-stop shop for all your needs - including iPhone or iPad screen repairs.
The high street is where most of us will go when we break our phone or tablet screen because, generally speaking, people like the personal touch, which is something you tend not to get when using online repair services. Another point for the 'high street vs online' argument is that if anything goes wrong with a high-street repair then you know where to go to complain (unlike with most online services).
While we recommend some high street repair shops, you should be aware that there have been cases of iPhones that have been repaired with certain replacement screens becoming unresponsive to touch. This issue appears to have been exacerbated by an update to iOS - iOS 11.3 is thought to have rendered some iPhone 8 models that were repaired with non-Apple displays unresponsive to touch.
Apparently, some people who have had the screen on their iPhone replaced are experiencing issues since updating their iPhone to iOS 11.3. We cover this issue in more detail here: iOS 11 problems and fixes.
There are also reports that iOS 11.3 is also causing problems with some genuine Apple displays that have been used to repair broken iPhones.
According to an Engadget report, iPhone 8, 8 Plus and iPhone X models that have been repaired with official Apple display, are unable to adjust brightness automatically. This problem is actually affecting devices running iOS 11.1, iOS 11.2, and iOS 11.3, according to that report.
Companies who perform third-party repairs are suspicious that Apple is disabling functionality on purpose to stop third-party repairs.
Aakshay Kripalani, CEO of Injured Gadgets, a repair shop, told Motherboard: "Customers are annoyed and it seems like Apple is doing this to prevent customers from doing 3rd party repair." The right-to-repair using a third-party is protected by law.
Team Knowhow (Carphone Warehouse)
At Macworld UK we highly recommend Team Knowhow (found within certain Carphone Warehouse and Currys PC World stores). It offers Apple certified screen repairs, a rarity on the UK high street. This means it's preferable to cheaper options like iSmash as repairs with Team Knowhow don't void your Apple warranty.
Team Knowhow sends your iPhone direct to Apple, yet prices also undercut Apple's themselves, so you're getting a repair for cheaper from Apple itself. The company only uses genuine Apple parts, meaning your iPhone warranty won't become void by using the service, and it provides all customers with a 90-day guarantee following any repairs.
The company offers standard screen replacements from £89, but that's not all - as a fully approved iPhone repair provider, Team Knowhow can carry out any warranty repairs just like the Apple Store, completely free of charge.
We tested the service with a smashed iPhone 7 Plus and received excellent same-day service - it was ready in under three hours, and you drop off and pick up yourself.
The catch? It's only available in a handful of stores at this time. Check if there's one near you here. Those interested should head straight into a store, no appointment required.
iSmash has made a name for itself as a quick, accessible and cheap iPhone repair service. And from our personal experience, it does an adequate job. But you should be aware that using the service voids Apple warranty, and they don't use Apple-approved parts.
We recommend Team Knowhow - it's more expensive but you have peace of mind.
High-street chain Timpsons has noticed the growing demand for a local repair service and have added screen repair services at a number of stores - last year they told us that 412 of their 1,409 stores offer this service. To avoid disappointment we strongly recommend either calling your local branch to see if they can help, or using the firm's store locator with the filter set to 'Phone and Tablet Repairs'.
This should be a far cheaper option than Apple. We've been quoted a pretty reasonable £49.99 for older iPhone models, rising to around £80-90 for newer phones; the service starts at £39.99. Speak to Timpsons and get a quote for your device. The firm says it can repair screens on all models of iPhone and iPad.
Screen repairs on iPhones should be carried out the same day, but Timpsons warns that tablet repairs take longer: seven days. In both cases there may be additional delays if the staff have to order in a part, but we imagine that Apple devices are sufficiently mainstream that this would be unusual.
If all this sounds good, read about Timpsons' screen repair services here.
Down sides of high-street screen repairs
High-street retailers are an obvious option, and Timpsons is a well-known brand, but what of the lesser known high-street shops promising to fix your iPhone? Using a high-street retailer could be a risky process because when you leave the store, you don't know who's handling your iPhone or what they're doing to it.
People like to keep their private lives private - and what is at the centre of most people's lives? Smartphones. From email to texts to photos, our digital world revolves primarily around smartphones. When you take your iPhone to a high-street retailer, you're handing over your central hub, so to speak, and there's a small risk that your data could be browsed and even remotely stored. A lack of security regulation in smaller, independent shops could be risky, especially for business users.
Replacement screen parts are fairly easy to come across and can be bought fairly cheaply online. The issue with this is that cheap screens and parts seem to have a tendency to break more often than official Apple parts. What does that result in? More trips to the shop to get it repaired and more money spent. If a high-street retailer charges as little as £40 to replace an iPhone 6s screen, say, you should start questioning how that's possible.
Send your device to an online repair service
The next option to consider is an online repair service, such as MendMyi. Such businesses are becoming ever more popular, with people becoming too busy to take a damaged iPad or iPhone to a shop themselves. MendMyi have become a household name for UK iDevice repairs and customisation over the past few years - even customising Stephen Fry's iPhone with their Colour Lab service.
With MendMyi being a primarily online service, you have to rely on the postal service. People are often wary about sending their phone off in the post to a company that they've found online. What if it breaks? MendMyi offers an additional 'Express Pickup' service that insures your iPhone in transit. MendMyi is very active on social media and you can chat to the guys on Twitter before sending your phone off, or alternatively drop it off at one of their branches in Haverhill, Cambridge or Sudbury.
MendMyi only uses official Apple parts in the repair so you can be sure that your screen replacement is genuine. The firm also runs a diagnostics test on your phone while it's being repaired to make sure there's nothing else wrong with it - a great extra that you won't find with many phone repair services.
So, what's the down side? When it comes to pricing, MendMyi isn't the cheapest - while an iPhone 5s screen repair costs a reasonable £79, an iPhone 6 screen repair jumps up to £127 and the iPhone 6s Plus is £359. Ouch. iPad pricing is generally in the £100 to £150 range, but the most recent models are absent - the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 are the most up-to-date iPads on offer.
While it may be more expensive than competitors, MendMyi aims to have your phone diagnosed & repaired within 1-3 days and it is couriered back to you shortly afterwards.
Another online repair and customisation service to think about is iSmash, based in London. Similarly to MendMyi, you can select the repairs you need on their website along with your choice of postage, whether it be them sending you a "Post in Pack" for £5.99 or you directly organising a courier. Their pricing is also similar, with an iPhone 6 screen repair costing a little less than MendMyi at £99. Interestingly, iSmash only charges £149 for an iPhone 6s Plus screen repair - less than half the price of the same service at MendMyi. Like MendMyi, at time of writing iSmash hadn't updated its site to include the iPhone SE.
One advantage of iSmash, if you're based in the capital, is that the firm has walk-in shops all around London - on the King's Road, High Street Kensington, Canary Wharf and Victoria Station. That means that you can book an appointment, take your Apple device into the store and get it repaired on the same day.
Get your device repaired at your home
Some people can't - and won't - wait for days for their iPhone screen to be fixed. What alternatives are there? Depending on your location, there are companies that can come to you and repair your phone or tablet. One such company is Repairly - they will come to you anywhere in central London and hope to expand further soon. They'll take your iPhone and repair it within two to three hours and bring it right back to you when it's done. They can also repair tablets, Samsung phones and laptops.
Repairly fixed our iPhone 6s within two hours, and we've been using it for months since with absolutely no problems. Communication and emails were great fun and the friendly Repairly representative arrived on a push scooter with a padded box ready to whisk our iPhone away. It was fast and brilliantly hassle-free if a little more expensive than going to some high-street options (but we thought it was worth it).
An alternative is Phone Dudes. Amazingly, Phone Dudes claim that once the engineer arrives, your iPhone will be ready to use again within just 10 minutes. That means that you don't have to be away from your iPhone for too long and it destroys any issues with phone security - the repair is done in front of you, so you can see exactly what is happening. The downside is that the company can't yet fix Apple's newest phones and it doesn't offer fixes for iPads or laptops.
If your screen damage is more cosmetic than anything, there are other DIY options available. With the internet being the internet, there are a variety of home remedies for scratches (not cracks) on your screen - including, weirdly enough, toothpaste. Other options include car scratch removal creams, such as the 3M Scratch and Swirl remover that apparently works wonders on a scratched screen. Make sure that all ports are sealed before attempting to use creams, as you don't want to add liquid damage to your list of problems.
There's one more option - but it's not for the faint-hearted. iFixit provides tutorials on how to repair any part of any iPhone (and similar articles for the iPad). They give clear and easy-to-follow steps with high-resolution images highlighting exactly what you need to do. They're also a one-stop shop - once you've found the tutorial you need, you can buy all the parts directly from them, making it far less likely that you'll buy the wrong parts.
Do pay attention to the difficulty rating of each tutorial, however. You need to be fairly confident with your technical ability, as any unauthorised repairs of your iPhone will void the warranty and Apple won't touch it.