Note: This post was written by Illini Gadget Garage staff member Madeleine Wolske.
The easiest thing one can do to a smartphone is accidentally dropping it and cracking the screen. The process in repairing a cracked screen is relatively easy to follow, but before purchasing any components, tinkerers need to be aware of what they’re buying online.
Before purchasing a new part, examine your device and try to determine what part is broken. I needed to repair my iPhone 5c’s cracked screen and did some research online to fix it. Using a Google search for “cheap iPhone 5c screen replacement,” I found an inexpensive eBay link.
For the low price of $6.99, I can receive not only the screen, but tools and adhesive as well! This is a great deal, but is it what I want? In order to make sure I’m purchasing the right product, I need to refer back to my device. Make sure you check the physical attributes of the problem:
- Is there a large crack on the glass?
- Is that crack accompanied by blue stripes on the screen?
- Are you able to see everything displayed?
- Does your touch screen still work?
My crack was external, and no damage was done to the display or digitizer (touch screen capabilities). It’s important to analyze the problem fully, because the screen on your phone isn’t just one component. It’s one part, compromised of three main pieces: the outer glass protective screen, the thin digitizer, and the LCD display. These parts are also usually encased in a heat shield of some kind, protecting the LCD from the other parts of the phone.
The part from eBay was only for the external glass screen, not the other parts of the screen. Here’s where I need to make a decision on what my repair commitment is. Questions to ask yourself:
- How much time do you want to put in to your repair?
- What are you comfortable with? Do you want to tackle a difficult repair?
- Do you have the tools necessary?
- Check out similar tear down videos of your device online (here’s a repair of just the external glass screen from YouTube) and look at repair forms, like at iFixIt.com.
Looking at tear downs and repair videos, I did not want to fix just the outer glass screen. I wanted a less invasive, simpler repair, and ordered the fully assembled screen from iFixIt, which contained all three aspects of the iPhone 5c screen already put together. When ordering a part, be aware of the seller you’re purchasing the part from. Questions to ask yourself:
- Does this seller have good reviews?
- What is the return policy? Is there a return policy?
- Are buyers able to review the product? What’re they saying?
I chose to order my part from iFixIt because I’ve ordered parts from them in the past and was happy with my order. After I received the new part, I was able to replace my whole screen in under 30 minutes–an easy fix!
NOTE: All links provided in this blog post are for informational purposes only, the Illini Gadget Garage does not endorse any of the companies listed, nor does any affiliated departments or the University of Illinois.