My wife's iPhone 3G screen shattered a couple weeks ago. It was still usable, but tough to read the screen.
I set out to fix / get it fixed. What I found was so much misinformation that I just want to set the record straight.
Here are your current options for fixing a screen:
- iPhone screen repair by Apple costs $199.
- A myriad of 3rd party vendors who will replace it for $100-$150.
- A do-it-yourself replacement kit from iFixit costs $65
- A do-it-yourself kit on Amazon costs $11.95.
Whoa! Why such a difference in price? With such a massive array of choices, I was sure I was missing something. I googled, read blogs, watched YouTube videos. I eventually decided I would be able to repair it myself with a kit, but the kit prices were very confusing. What's the difference between the $65 kit and the $12 one? Clearly something is awry…
I read all the Amazon comments about the $12 kit and they were all very positive reviews. Except for one that said "yes, you get exactly what is advertised but you probably don't want what is advertised." It went on to explain that there are necessary parts that aren't included in the cheaper kit. This was enough to scare me off so I went with the $65 kit from iFixit, knowing it would definitely be correct and not wanting Arin to wait any longer to get her phone repaired.
Well, I ordered the wrong part, which was my own fault. Another tip: the 3G and 3Gs screens are different - the physical size is the same but the electronics connectors are not compatible.
Having taken the phone apart already, when I went to order another one, I was an educated shopper. I could now see exactly what the $12 kit contained and ordered that instead. And it worked perfectly! Complete with all the parts, tools, etc.
In summary: the expensive iPhone screen repair kits from iFixit and similar vendors are a total rip-off; you can get the same exact thing for $12 on Amazon. I've seen lots of shattered screens around the city and at this price, there's absolutely no reason to be walking around with one.
Just some other notes:
- Lots of reviews may scare you off from doing the repair work yourself. It's tough to gauge the difficulty / skill level from strangers because you have no standard of comparison. Put it this way: if you've ever replaced RAM in your laptop or swapped out a hard drive, you'll be able to replace your screen without much trouble. It does take a while (1-2 hours) because the parts are small and unfamiliar, but it's not very difficult. There's no soldering or anything like that.
- The iPhone "screen" is really 3 layers: a glass front panel, a digitizer which is attached to the glass panel, and an LCD which sits behind the top 2 layers. The glass panel and digitizer come as a single part from the OEM. They are never separate and this is what you are buying. In this post I am referring to cracked glass but with a working LCD. How can you tell? If your iPhone still works or mostly works, this information is for you. If the LCD isn't working at all, you've got bigger problems…
- Keep this YouTube video by your side when doing the repair. It's very helpful.
I hope this post helps and good luck!
Photo: Kyle Saric via Flickr