Screens crack too easily on most smartphones. A three foot drop screen first is usually all it takes to cause the screen to shatter. Even with insurance, replacing a phone with a cracked screen can cost more than one hundred and fifty dollars, about as much as it costs to have a phone replaced somewhere else. For those with a little bit of time and hacking experience on their hands, however, there is another option—replacing the screen by hand.
Please note that this is a risky process that can cause additional damage to the phone, as well as void warranties. Neither Geeksays nor its authors can be held responsible for resulting damages. One wrong move with the phone’s screen off spells game over.
If we cannot talk you out of taking this risk, however, here are the general steps one must take in replacing a cracked smartphone screen. First and foremost buy a replacement screen off an online auction site. They are relatively inexpensive and are usually shipped from overseas. They are not name brand replacement parts, which makes them all the better. Most replacement screens are made of Plexiglas, a highly crack resistant material. Some screen replacements come with included tools, such as guitar picks and flat head screwdrivers. They may or may not be helpful in replacing screens.
Be sure to check videos of people replacing screens on your smartphone’s model. Although every screen replacement is generally the same, there may be some slight variation. To remove your cracked screen, first wrap the top of the phone in saran wrap (or an alternative thin plastic). This will help you be able to wedge under the screen, as well as hold the cracks together to prevent further shattering. Once the top of the phone has a singular layer of wrap on top, use either a heat gun or blow dryer to loosen up the glue holding the cracked screen in place. Don’t get to close to the phone, however, as the heat may discolor the LCD screen and/or ruin the touch sensors. Once the glue is partially pliable from the heat, very carefully take a flat head screwdriver and gently pry the screen up (in section first, then take a larger flat tool and pry it open all at once). Again, gentleness is key. Be very careful to not leave behind broken glass, and be even more careful to not damage the phone’s LCD.
Once the phone’s screen is off, you can simply push the replacement screen back on. Glue may or may not be necessary. However, if you use glue allow the phone to sit for a while before use. Also, using too little is better than using too much.
If you damage your phone in this process, however, there are several routs to go. You can tap out and send the phone to a professional to be fixed, or sell the phone on eBay. Alternatively, you can continue with the DIY repair and purchase a new touch sensor and/or LCD. Keep in mind that repairing these will be much more difficult, however.