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How to Fix Your iPhone’s Screen

How to Fix Your iPhone's Screen -- Featured Image

updated by Rachel Gold
June 15, 2023 at 3:57 p.m. PST
  • Although newer iPhone models come equipped with Ceramic Shield-protected screens, it’s still possible to crack the display.
  • Even with AppleCare+, repairing a cracked iPhone screen costs at least $29.
  • Without AppleCare+, screen replacement costs $129 to $379.
  • It’s possible to fix your iPhone’s screen yourself; however, for the newest models, it’s cheaper to have Apple service your device.

How to Fix Your iPhone’s Screen

Your iPhone’s screen is one of the most essential parts of the device. Beyond displaying information, the screen serves as an input controller, registering every touch, flick, tap, and press. Without the screen, your iPhone is completely useless.

Maybe you have a cracked iPhone screen, but you can manage with it. This article shows you how to temporarily fix an iPhone screen until you can have it repaired. If it’s too damaged, however, it can pose a safety risk, and it’s best not to use your iPhone until you have the screen repaired.

How to Stop Your iPhone Screen From Cracking Further

Before we begin, it’s important to clarify that safety is paramount. A broken iPhone screen involves shards of glass that can embed in your skin, causing injury. If your iPhone’s screen cracks, stop using it immediately. Place it in a bag or wrap it in a hand towel or handkerchief until you can have it serviced.

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Unfortunately, some may need to use a damaged iPhone screen out of urgency or economics. I’ve seen plenty of people hobble on for years with broken screens because it’s an expensive repair.

If you absolutely must use your iPhone with a damaged screen, there are a few steps you can take to improve safety and usability. Nonetheless, it’s best to have your iPhone’s screen replaced immediately. If you can’t afford it or don’t have time to replace your screen, the following hacks will help you stop your screen from cracking further and assist you in using your damaged smartphone a little more safely.

Screen protectors are a great way to stop your iPhone’s screen from cracking further. These are essentially thin pieces of tempered glass with an adhesive on one side. Placing the screen protector on a cracked iPhone should prevent it from more damage, in addition to shielding your fingers from glass slivers.

Keep in mind, small pieces of glass can infiltrate the screen protector, causing damage. It all depends on how you cracked your iPhone’s screen and the precision with which you apply the protective glass film. For the most part, a screen protector should keep all the glass shards in place. Just be aware that, due to the uneven surface it’s applied to, your screen protector’s structural integrity may be compromised.

Screen protectors are inexpensive and easy to use. Most kits come with two films and stickers to help with alignment. Get one made specifically for your iPhone model to ensure a perfect fit and accommodate the notch, Touch ID button, or other features.

If your iPhone crack is minor or your screen protector is cracked along with the display, you may need an adhesive to prevent further cracking. It’s similar to repairing a crack in a car’s windshield but much less expensive.

Cyanoacrylate compounds are the best adhesives for minor, temporary iPhone screen repair. Super Glue and Crazy Glue are the most readily available bonding agents for this task. Simply apply a small amount of the adhesive directly into the crack until it’s filled. Wipe away the excess with toilet paper, kleenex, or any tissue paper, being careful not to get the adhesive on your hands.

You may be tempted to use latex or nitrile gloves while making this repair; however, sometimes, the glove can stick to the adhesive. Since most of these gloves don’t fit tightly, it’s easy for a little fold or extrusion in the glove to make contact with the bonding agent. If this happens, you now have a glove attached to the screen, so you’re in worse shape. You can cut the glove away and try to pull off the excess material, but it’s a real mess.

It’s best to use sufficient tissue paper so your hands do not contact the adhesive. Once the compound has dried, you can carefully rub off the extra glue and tissue fibers with a microfiber cloth.

Another route is to put the entire iPhone in a case. This strategy may work well, but glass shards could dislodge and slip out depending on the case. That probably wouldn’t feel nice in your pocket. It depends on how cracked your screen is and the case’s design.

All of these methods are hacks and aren’t intended as permanent solutions. It’s best to replace your iPhone’s screen or buy a new one.

iPhone Screen Replacement Costs

When your iPhone screen cracks, it’s best to take it to the Apple Store or a certified repair shop for service. If you have AppleCare+, the repair isn’t expensive. Don’t fool around with screen protectors, adhesives, and cases. Just take it in and pay the nominal fee for screen repair. That’s why you paid for AppleCare+, after all.

Those who don’t have AppleCare+ are in for an unfortunate surprise. Since many iPhone models feature advanced displays, repair costs have skyrocketed.

The following table displays iPhone screen replacement costs for popular models. We show the AppleCare+ price alongside the uncovered costs for your convenience.

iPhone Screen Replacment Costs

iPhone ModelAppleCare+No Protection Plan
iPhone 14 Pro Max$29$379
iPhone 14 Pro$29$329
iPhone 14 Plus$29$329
iPhone 14$29$279
iPhone 13 Pro Max$29$329
iPhone 13 Pro$29$279
iPhone 13$29$279
iPhone 13 mini$29$229
iPhone 12 Pro Max$29$329
iPhone 12 Pro$29$279
iPhone 12$29$279
iPhone 12 mini$29$229

As you can see, repairing your screen without AppleCare+ coverage is much more expensive. Apple’s extended warranty program isn’t cheap, however.

When considering AppleCare+, consider how you have damaged past iPhones. If you’ve cracked screens several times, AppleCare+ may prove cost-effective.

In my experience, I’ve never shattered an iPhone screen, so I don’t use a case or have an extended warranty. I put a screen protector on the back of my iPhone, but not the front, as Ceramic Sheild has proven abundantly protective.

I dropped my iPhone 13 Pro Max right onto the metal leg of a table. It hit a sharp corner from three feet without a crack. I’ve been much more careful with my iPhone 14 Pro Max. I have to admit, Ceramic Shield is miraculous. Well done, Apple!

How to Fix Your iPhone’s Screen Yourself

If you have an older iPhone and nothing to lose, you may want to attempt iPhone screen repair yourself. It’s a risky practice, as spare parts are hard to come by and are often counterfeit and of substandard quality. Nonetheless, we’ll take a quick overview of how it’s done, so you can determine if it’s right for you.

First, you need to purchase a replacement screen. This can prove challenging for newer models, and with older iPhones, you may get a poor-quality, third-party replacement part. For example, an iPhone 13 Pro Max replacement screen costs much more than having Apple perform the service.

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It’s utterly irrational to spend more money on a replacement part than having it serviced by a professional. Unless you’re stuck in some remote area and have no choice, the Apple Store is your best bet.

Assuming you’re lucky enough to find a replacement screen, the repair is complex and requires tools and manual dexterity. You can rent the tools, and Apple even offers some manuals and parts to fix select iPhone models, but its self-repair program is primarily a ruse to please the right-to-repair movement.

With almost 40 different models of iPhone, Apple only provides parts for nine. They don’t even offer components for the newest iPhone 14 Pro Max; however, since all units are still under warranty, this isn’t a problem.

Of the nine models covered, only a few offer replacement screens. With only nine iPhone models covered by the program and inconsistent component availability, it’s more of a sham than a self-service repair program conducted in earnest.

Just getting started with self-service screen repair is an extensive task. Finding the parts and renting tools to do it right isn’t even half the battle. It’s a complicated project, best left to experts.

Apple provides a manual for proper screen repair and other self-service projects. The following is an overview of what’s involved.

The first step is to remove the old display. This involves removing screws at the base of your iPhone and using a (usually rented) universal display removal fixture. It’s a tool with two suction cups to remove the display panel. In Apple’s repair documentation, simply removing the front panel involves 13 steps and multiple tools.

Once the front panel is off, you must remove multiple cables and adhesive. After checking the replacement part, glue you must reapply glue to iPhone’s inside edges. At this point, you can re-attach the wires, including the display cable. Carefully position the screen back on top of the device and secure it with screws. Finally, you put the whole assembly in a display press (an expensive machine used to pressurize the adhesive), which you can rent from Apple.

If this sounds simple, it’s not. I left out many steps, because the purpose of this section is to provide a brief overview of the process. The entire project is complicated, and lots of things can go wrong. Most people won’t find much value in repairing it themselves. Unless you’re running a repair shop, you’re spending more time, money, and effort to do it yourself.

I know people who love to do these repairs as a hobby or a way to postpone more critical priorities. I once had a manager who fiddled with PCs instead of managing because it was a way to avoid his assigned duties. He didn’t last long. If you’re looking for a massive time-suck or distraction, repairing your iPhone display is the way to go. It’s probably better to do something more useful with your time.

How to Fix an Unresponsive iPhone Screen

Sometimes your screen’s integrity is intact, yet other display problems persist, such as unresponsiveness. For example, if you touch your iPhone’s screen and nothing happens, it’s almost unusable. You may be able to use Siri to operate your iPhone, but you’ll need to fix it at some point.

A frozen operating system is the most common cause of an unresponsive iPhone screen. Software isn’t perfect, and sometimes an iPhone can freeze. I haven’t had this happen to me, but I suspect some apps, such as games developed by semi-professionals, are prone to crashes and freezes.

If your iPhone’s screen is unresponsive and your app appears to do nothing, the good news is that it’s easy to fix. Simply press and release the top volume button, then the bottom volume button. Next, press and hold the side button until you see the Apple logo. This may take approximately ten seconds.

There are known cases of Lightning accessories causing an iPhone to freeze, particularly with cheap thumb drives. If so, remove the peripheral and perform the soft reset process described above.

Some guides instruct iPhone users to remove cases or screen protectors. This fix probably won’t work because your iPhone has previously worked with these protective devices. It’s worth a shot, but I wouldn’t expect this to fix an unresponsive iPhone screen.

Dirt or moisture can render an iPhone screen unresponsive. I have experienced this personally. A drop of water can register as a touch, blocking out your fingers. Sometimes dirt can do the same thing. It’s easy to fix. Simply clean your iPhone. We wrote the best guide on safely cleaning and disinfecting your iPhone without damaging the screen’s oleophobic coating.

If all of these measures fail, all is not lost. It means there’s likely a deeper internal issue. Perhaps the display connector loosened with a jolt or shock. The display itself may have succumbed to internal damage that’s not visible.

If you were comfortable with the self-service screen repair process outlined previously, you could open your iPhone and check the display cable’s connectivity. Even this is a fairly involved task, as adhesive holds the iPhone together.

If you’ve tried the above steps and your iPhone screen is still unresponsive, your best move is to take it to the Apple Store. If you can’t go to the Apple Store directly, you can book an appointment online and even have a safe and secure pre-paid mailing box sent to you. Booking a service appointment for your iPhone before heading to the Apple Store is also a great idea. They may even be able to fix your iPhone within a few hours.

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