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We’ve all been there before.
We are rushing around and we drop our smartphone.
Ideally, the case and even screen protector that we are using should limit the damage, but in some cases they do not.
We end up with a cracked smartphone screen.
What are your options? Fix it? Buy a new phone? Go online to buy a cheap used replacement?
In this post, I am going to walk you through how to fix a cracked phone screen.
I’ll even give you some tips on how to avoid a smashed screen in the first place.
Options For How To Fix A Cracked Phone Screen
Assess The Damage
The first thing you want to do after you freak out and calm down is to assess the damage to your phone.
Does the phone still turn on? Does the screen respond to your touch?
Most times the only thing that breaks after a drop is the screen itself, which is a simple and low cost repair.
But if your phone won’t turn on or doesn’t respond to your touch, then you have most likely damaged internal parts and need to take it to a repair shop or get a new phone.
The rest of this article assumes just the screen shattered and the phone is otherwise working.
Note that the solutions provided work for iPhones and Android phones.
Put On A Screen Protector
This might sound weird, but putting a screen protector on a cracked screen is a smart move.
This is because the screen is made of glass and the glass is broken.
There might be jagged glass cracks sticking out or pieces of glass might randomly fall off.
This can cause injury to you or others.
By putting a screen protector on, you seal all the broken glass in place and limit further damage.
This allows you to continue to use the phone until you can get it repaired.
Try Nail Polish
If you don’t have a screen protector on hand or have the time to run out and buy one, you can use nail polish instead.
Simply put the nail polish over the entire damaged screen and let it seep into the cracks.
Wipe away the excess and wait 10-15 minutes for the polish to dry.
This will hold the screen cracks in place, allowing you to use the phone.
Understand this is only a temporary solution.
Don’t fall for the YouTube video claims that this is a permanent solution of your phone screen.
And here is a cool trick you can try.
Use light colored nail polish.
It will seep into the cracks and you will have a unique and colorful art design on your phone.
Just make sure you use a light color so it doesn’t make it hard to see your screen.
Use Gorilla Tape
Another option instead of a screen protector or nail polish is to use packaging tape.
But not just any packaging tape.
This is the same company that makes Gorilla glue and their tape is much more adhesive than typical packing tape.
This means it will last a longer.
Simply cut pieces of tape to cover the screen from top to bottom.
It is OK to overlap the tape a little bit as this won’t affect using the phone.
Replace The Screen Yourself
To save some money, you can do a DIY fix.
Just know that this route is definitely not for everyone, but it will save you the most money.
- Related: Discover over 75 ways to save money
The biggest issue is that you will be dealing with very small parts.
This means you will need special tools as well as a ton of patience.
Take it from me, small screws suck.
I wear glasses and deal with small screws all of the time.
It usually takes me a good 10 tries to get the screw back into place. I dread the times when I have to make a repair.
The good news however is after you get over the issue of small parts, the repair itself is rather easy to do.
Many places sell the repair kit and replacement screen you will need.
Out of pocket costs will be around $100 depending on your model of phone.
There are even plenty of YouTube videos that will walk you through the repair process as well.
Take It To A Local Repair Shop
There are many places that will fix your smartphone screen for you.
Most are at kiosks in shopping malls or have stores in strip malls.
Take your phone in, they assess the damage and provide an estimate.
If you agree to it, they keep your phone for a couple hours and make the repairs.
The cost to repair your phone will vary, but usually will be around $100.
Another option is iCracked.
They offer in-person repairs at a place convenient to you.
This means they can come to your home, your office, or even meet you at a local coffee shop.
They make the repair in one hour and offer a lifetime guarantee on their work.
This is the best way to get your phone’s screen repaired quickly and at a reasonable cost.
Take It To The Manufacturer
If a DIY repair or taking it a third party leaves you nervous, you can take it back to the manufacturer to be repaired.
This means going to an Apple store for iPhone users.
For Android smartphones, like Samsung phones, you can try taking it back to where you bought it.
Otherwise you might have to settle for local repair shops.
Just know that in this case, most times you will be without your phone for an extended period of time as they mail the phone to a repair center.
Also, the price for the repair will be higher than the other options I listed.
Still, this option offers peace of mind of professional repair that some people need.
Use Glue (Seugru)
Sugru Moldable Glue is a cool repair that might even be a permanent fix depending on the size of the cracks.
Simply work the glue into the cracks on your screen and let it set for 12-24 hours.
If you only have a small crack, this glue could work well enough that you don’t need and entire screen replacement.
But if you have large cracks or the entire screen is cracked, this is a temporary fix and you will still need to replace the screen.
Trade In Or Sell
Finally, if you aren’t interested in repairing the screen yourself, you could sell it or trade it in for a new phone.
Just understand that you aren’t going to get much for your phone in this condition.
You are most times better off paying for the repair and then selling or trading it in.
Things That Do Not Work
There are a lot of urban legends out there of other products working like magic to fix your cracked cell phone screen.
The reality is all these are hype and don’t actually work.
You can still try them, but don’t get your hopes up.
Also, you run the risk of doing more harm than good to your phone.
This could mean a higher repair cost than if you just accepted the broken screen and paid to get it fixed.
Does toothpaste really work to fix a cracked phone screen?
The answer is no.
There are a lot of claims on the internet about toothpaste fixing phones.
It does fix scratches on your screen, but not cracks.
And that is a big difference.
The toothpaste will fill in tiny scratches and make them invisible.
But it won’t do much of anything for cracks.
To repair scratches, simply take a small amount of toothpaste and work it into the scratches using circular motions.
Wipe away the excess toothpaste with a paper towel or soft cloth and the scratches will be gone.
Same idea here as with toothpaste.
It seems people online confuse scratch and crack a lot.
Vegetable oil will hide small scratches, but it will only be temporary.
It will not fix a crack.
How does baking soda fix a cracked screen?
Just like with toothpaste and vegetable oil, baking soda is only good for hiding small scratches in the glass screen.
It will not repair a shattered screen.
There is zero evidence that WD 40 will fix the cracked glass of your phone screen.
Most videos and articles on the internet that show up as a result of searching for this fix don’t even show you how this could work.
In other words, don’t fall for this scam.
How To Protect Your New Screen
Of course, before you even get to the point of needing to repair your broken phone screen, there are some simple things you can do to limit accidental damage in the first place.
Here are some simple things you can do right now to protect your mobile device.
#1. Buy A Protective Case
Dropping your phone is a part of life.
I don’t care how safe you are, drops happen.
By investing a few dollars into a good case, you can limit any screen damage to your phone.
This is because a good case will absorb the impact of the drop and not your phone.
And as you might have guessed, when it comes to cases, you get what you pay for.
So don’t think that getting a flimsy rubber case from Five Below or the dollar store is going to provide good protection.
While these are better than absolutely nothing, there are much better options out there.
What you need to look for is a case that is taller than the side of your phone.
This will protect the screen if you drop it on its face because the screen will never contact the ground.
So when looking at new cases, be mindful of ones with a lip.
The next thing to look for is something more than just rubber.
I like a case to have some hard plastic to further take the impact of the drop.
You might be thinking you need a case that will make your phone 10 times its current size.
This isn’t true.
You can easily find some thin cases that protect your device well.
Below is my favorite.
#2. Buy A Screen Protector
As important as a good case is, you also need a screen protector.
A screen protector does the same job as the case. It takes the impact of a drop.
Many times if you drop your phone and it has a screen protector, the protector will shatter but not your screen.
Screen protectors also help against scratches.
To be fair, most new smartphones use one of the tougher kinds of glass called Corning’s Gorilla Glass.
This material is very hard and doesn’t scratch easily.
In fact, many people skip the screen protector for this reason.
Your smartphone screen will not be scratched by your keys or other sharp objects you carry with you.
But if you drop your phone on concrete or stone and it lands on its face, there is a good chance the screen will shatter.
And surprisingly, sand can also scratch your screen.
Because of these reasons, I encourage you to spend the money on a good glass screen protector.
They are inexpensive and knowing you are protected is great peace of mind.
The one I use and recommend is the JETech Tempered Glass Screen Protector.
They have a 9H hardness and are ultra clear. They also don’t impact the responsiveness of your touch screen.
The best price is from Amazon.
#3. Consider Insurance
If you are on the clumsy side or are risk averse, then paying for phone insurance might be a smart option for you.
If you decide to go this route, there are two options for you.
- Insurance from the cell phone carrier
- Third party insurance
Understand that when you buy insurance from the carrier, you are not buying directly from them.
They all outsource this service to a company called Asurion who handles claims.
The monthly fee for protection varies by carrier, but is usually between $5-$20 per month.
There is also a deductible as well.
This is the amount you are responsible for.
This could range between $25-$300 depending on the device.
The other option is using a third party to offer insurance.
A popular one is SquareTrade.
They offer protection for $9 a month for a single phone or $20 a month for a family plan.
All plans do have a $149 deductible, so you need to keep that in mind.
Finally, understand that if your phone is a total loss and cannot be repaired, it doesn’t mean you will get a brand new phone.
Depending on the insurance policy you take out, you could receive a refurbished phone.
You might also get a different color as well.
So be sure to ask what happens in the event of a total loss.
#4. Be Present
The final tip to keeping your phone save and protected is to be more present or aware.
Think before you lay your phone down next to the pool.
Or if you are going for a walk, where is the best place to keep my phone so it won’t drop?
And if you are coming home with groceries, instead of carrying everything in one trip and your phone in your mouth, leave your phone for last.
Or take it inside first.
By taking a few moments to think ahead, you can drastically reduce the chances of dropping your phone.
There are a handful of ways to fix a cracked phone screen.
Some work better than others.
And some tips you see online don’t work at all.
If you cracked your screen, your best solution is to protect the screen so that the broken glass shards don’t fall off or injure you as you try to use the phone.
Either tape, glue, nail polish, or a screen protector will work for the time being.
After that, spending the money for screen repair it is a smart move.
You can even do this first if you think you don’t have the skill to do it yourself.
Finally, don’t make the mistake of trying to save a few bucks fixing it by having a friend of a friend repair it.
While it sounds great to only spend $20, the chances of something going wrong are high and you will end up having to spend hundreds more on a new phone.
In other words, it might be annoying to spend $150 to get your phone screen fixed by a pro, but it is less money and less of a hassle than trying to cut corners.
And once your phone is back to optimal condition, spend the money on a quality case and screen protector.