We’ve all cracked our phone’s screen. Whether your headphones got caught on a train terminal, you forgot your phone was in your pocket or dropped a weight on it at the gym (yes, these all happened to me) it’s going to happen at some point! Phones are just getting more and more crucial to our way of life – and they’re only getting more expensive. This means it has never been more important to know how to handle it if you’re unlucky enough to find a crack in your screen.
This guide will teach you how to handle any damage to your screen, no matter the level. Whether you’re a chronic dropper looking for repair tips, searching for the toughest phones on the market or you’re just preparing for your inevitable first crack, everything you need is here.
Screen Protector kit
Before you even read this guide (make sure to come back!), your first step is to go and back up your phone! There is a reason insurance companies account for ‘acts of God’ because crazy things happen all the time that there is no rhyme or reason. You never know when something will happen, leaving your phone unusable – losing all your precious photos and memories in the ether.
If you have an iPhone, it couldn’t be simpler. Plug your phone into your Mac or PC, open iTunes and select back up. Once it is complete, all the data on your phone is now available on that device. If your phone ever breaks or you get a new one, you can restore that data quickly onto your new phone.
For other phones, the precise procedure to back up your phone varies. Be sure to follow the instructions on your phone. It will be as simple as tapping into your phone settings, heading to ‘accounts and back up’ and selecting ‘Back up and restore’.
It couldn’t be easier and makes your life much more pleasant in a disaster.
There are four different levels of damage to a phone. While this guide holds valuable information, no crack is the same.
Before moving on with the rest of your day, take a good look at your phone and assess what care your cracked screen needs.
1. Minor Damage
- A small crack
- The phone and screen still work fine
- Mostly an aesthetic issue
2. Moderate Damage
- Multiple cracks or one large one
- Phone and screen still work fine, but you may have trouble reading or viewing things
3 . Severe Damage
- Cracks across most/all of the screen
- Screen still lights up, but it doesn’t respond to touch as it should
4. Critical Damage
- Significant cracking
- The phone doesn’t turn on, OR
- The screen is static/unreadable
Minor Damage - Repair Options
If this is where your phone is, then take a breath. It isn’t so bad. While you might want to hide your phone from your parents if they bought it for you, your phone is still in pretty good nick.
A crack of this severity might only affect how pretty your phone is, but it can be the impetus for a much more severe issue. A small crack can quickly spread across your screen if not taken care of properly. The best option is to grab a tempered glass screen protector to best take care of your phone and make the screen last as long as possible. This will protect the screen from any outside forces and means your fingers won’t be pressing directly on the fragile screen.
You can purchase screen protectors nearly everywhere these days. Here are some of the best deals for Australian Amazon Prime subscribers.
|iPhone||Jtech Screen Protector||From $10.19|
|Tersely Screen Protector||From 10:99|
|Samsung||T Tersely Tempered Glass Screen Protector||From 12.95|
|Huawei||amFilm Screen Protector||From 12.99|
Moderate Damage - Repair Options
If your cracked phone screen fits the bill of ‘moderate’ damage, you’re in for a tough time. Your number one enemy at this stage is the possibility of water or dust seeping into your phone through the open crack. Even if it looks like nothing could get in, it can.
Luckily for you and your cracked screen, a screen protector is still your number one bet.
Eventually, though, it will get worse, and you will need to either get your cracked screen repaired or purchase a new phone.
Total Screen Repair
If money isn’t tight or using the phone while the screen is cracked is too debilitating for your phone use, getting the screen repaired is your next option.
If your cracked screen has turned into more than that – struggling to turn on, cracked camera lens or anything else, the repair is your best bet.
Both have their benefits, whether you elect to get it repaired through your manufacturer or a third party. If you have AppleCare+ or SamsungCare+ insurance, it would be silly for you to go to a third party. But, if you don’t, the extra cost of getting it repaired at the manufacturer may be a deterrent; thus, third-party repairs exist for a reason.
Unfortunately, third-party repairs usually void any warranty over your phone, so make sure you weigh up your options and make an informed decision.
Here are some comparisons between the manufacturer and third-party costs for popular phones:
|Phone||Manufacturer Repair Cost (without warranty)||Third-Party Repair Cost|
|iPhone SE (2nd Gen)||$219||From $109|
|iPhone 11||$309||From $125|
|iPhone XR||$309||From $115|
|iPhone 8||$249||From $75|
|Galaxy S10||$395||From $349|
|Galaxy S21||$415||From $379|
|Google Pixel 5||Google allocates authorised repairers on their behalf||From $329|
*If you hold either SamsungCare+ or AppleCare+ or an equivalent, you may receive repair through your manufacturer at a reduced cost. Make sure to look at all your options, and it isn’t cheap!*
Severe Damage - Repair Options
If your cracked screen is at this point, it’s time to take it out of its misery. You don’t want it to suffer anymore, right?
The issue is no longer just a severely cracked screen at this stage. Whether you can’t turn it on, the home button no longer works, or the battery barely lasts an hour before screaming at your to charge your phone – it’s time to move on. That doesn’t necessarily mean it can’t be fixed.
If your phone’s screen is severely damaged, your first point of call is your manufacturer. It could be as simple as replacing the screen and the battery. Depending on the cost, it could save you a pretty penny compared to a new phone’s price. Whatever the case, you’ll have to call to know your options.
If your manufacturer explains what’s wrong with it and repair is a solid option, hooray! Take a look above, decide what route you want to go to get it repaired and enjoy a phone screen with a new lease on life! If the diagnosis isn’t as positive, or the repair price rivals the cost of a new phone, trading it in might be the next step.
Sell your broken Phone
No matter what state your phone is in, do not just let it sit in your draw! Phones are anything but cheap these days, and every little bit helps. Even if your phone is an unrecognisable hunk of metal and broken glass, it could still have value.
Companies can sell your phone at a reduced price, refurbished, or, if it is destroyed, even the gold used on the inside can be scrapped and used in the manufacturing of other phones.
You’re in no rush – your phone is dead. So take your time, shop around, and see what deal you can get for yourself.
Instead of getting your phone repaired, be prepared!
This guide has explained the ins and outs of every kind of scenario your cracked phone screen could go through, but this is the last resort. In a perfect world, your phone’s screen would be as pristine as the day you bought it after three years of use. While that might not be realistic, there are a few things you can do.
Put a case on your phone.
I know. You got the beautiful blue iPhone, and it looks great – you don’t want to cover it in a case. I get it. However, it’s not worth the superficial beauty of your uncovered phone if it means it’s severely damaged by one drop.
Here are a few recommendations for iPhone and Samsung users
|Pelican Shield Case (iPhone)||
|Lifeproof Wake (iPhone)||
|Otterbox Galaxy S21 Defender Series Pro Case||
|Samsung Galaxy S21 5G LED Wallet Cover||
Consider a tougher phone
If cracked phone screens are standard and you don’t trust yourself, even with a screen protector and phone case, it might be worth purchasing a phone that is made to hold up, even after being dropped.
The iPhone 12 is the toughest iPhone on the market at the moment. The phone is marketed to be able to be dropped 2.7m onto concrete without the screen cracking.
If you don’t trust mainstream phone brands with your slippery fingers or dangerous work environment, here are some of the strongest phones on the market.
|Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro||
|Doogee S97 Pro||
While it won’t heal your phone and certainly shouldn’t be used in place of a screen protector, phone case or repair, yes, you can. The sticking tape will slow down its decay if your phone screen is cracked to a minor or moderate level.
While it is a good option while you wait for a screen protector, sticky tape is not a long-term fix for a cracked phone screen, and it will wear on the glass and leave a sticky residue.
Use it as a last (and temporary) resort only.
Surprisingly, yes, you can. Don’t stop reading, though.
Toothpaste should only be used for the most minor and shallow cracks. If you sense any depth in your cracked phone screen, toothpaste could do more harm than good. Imagine what toothpaste could do if the biggest threat to a cracked screen is dust or water finding its way. Toothpaste could, in theory, buff out the smallest of screen cracks. Be sure to assess your phone, and if in doubt, go for the safest option.