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Should You Repair or Replace Your Cracked Screen iPhone?

Few things can be as instantly devastating to your business and social life as a cracked iPhone screen, which can render your iPhone useless and disconnect you from work and play. If you have a cracked screen iPhone, you might be uncertain what to do next: repair your iPhone or replace it altogether? The following examines what options are available to you so you can quickly recover from a cracked iPhone screen.

Cracked screen iPhone repair versus replacement



The three most important factors to consider when deciding whether to repair your cracked iPhone screen or simply replace your iPhone are cost, quality, and turnaround time. If you’re tech-savvy, you can attempt to repair your iPhone screen yourself.


DIY iPhone screen repair options



You can purchase new iPhone 5 screens for around $59, plus $10 for a repair kit that contains the tools you need to perform a screen replacement. You’ll have to order your kit online unless you live near an electronic parts supply store that carries them. That means you’ll likely have to wait three to five business days to get your new screen (unless you’re to pay extra for overnight or two-day shipping). You’ll also void your warranty and risk permanently damaging your iPhone.

You might have seen a couple of “easy” cracked iPhone screen repair products, such as Displex screen polish, but such products are only effective for light scratches and will not repair cracked screens. Nor will toothpaste, Vaseline, tape, or any other quick homemade “fixes.” In fact, trying to repair your cracked iPhone screen with such methods can damage your screen even more.
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Repairing your own iPhone screen can be relatively inexpensive, but it will likely require hours of frustration – especially if you’re not a trained Apple technician. And in that case, you’ll void your iPhone warranty – which could ultimately prove far costlier than alternative repair and replacement methods.


Professional iPhone cracked screen repair options



If you don’t have the know-how or desire to repair your cracked screen iPhone yourself, you can have professional repair services swap in a new screen for you. It’s important to double-check that any given repair service will not void your warranty (many of the cheaper services will). Pricing can range anywhere from around $100 to $200, and turnaround times can vary from several weeks for manufacturer repair to several days for private party repair to just a few hours for local and kiosk repair.

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Replacing your cracked screen iPhone



A third option is to sell or trade in your cracked screen iPhone and use the proceeds toward the purchase of a new iPhone. Many companies want to buy broken iPhones, and will offer either cash, gift cards, or store credit payouts for cracked screen iPhones.

For example, a cracked screen iPhone 5S (16GB/gray/Verizon) can be traded in for $165. An iPhone 5C (16GB/white/Verizon) can be traded in for $100, while an iPhone 5 (16GB/black/Verizon) is worth up to $121 via trade-in.

If you’re due to renew your wireless plan, trading in your cracked screen iPhone makes sense because the payout will cover all or most of the cost of a new iPhone – from $99 to $199 on contract service plans. Even if you want to purchase an unlocked, non-contract iPhone, trade-in payouts account for a nice chunk of the retail price tag ($549 to $649). Some wireless providers have also introduced faster trade-in cycles; you might be able to take advantage of such programs even if your current contract doesn’t expire anytime soon.
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You can also consider selling your cracked screen iPhone on the private market, which can net even higher payouts than trade-ins. Based on our previous specifications, a broken iPhone 5S is worth $231 on the private market. An iPhone 5C is worth $140, and an iPhone 5 is worth $239. Such payouts might seem attractive, but they’re based on market value and you’ll have to wait to find a buyer. Moreover, there is no guarantee of safety or security measures that prevent you from being ripped off when dealing with private party buyers.

Other considerations



Apple’s standard warranty does not cover accidental damage such as cracked iPhone screens. However, if you’re enrolled in AppleCare you’re entitled to up to two accidental damage repairs; new screens cost $79 each. The process can take two to three weeks or more. You might have additionally purchased a third-party extended warranty when you bought your iPhone; if so, check to see if accidental damage is covered and what cracked screen repairs cost.

Insurance is another consideration; if you have iPhone insurance, check to see if accidental damage is covered and what your deductible is for screen replacement several insurers charge anywhere from $79 to $199.


Comparing cracked screen iPhone repair versus replacement



The following table will help you determine whether it makes financial sense to have your cracked screen iPhone repaired or whether you should replace it with a brand-new iPhone instead (based on a cracked screen iPhone 5 and cost of new iPhone 5S). You can see what your specific iPhone model is worth and compare real-time trade-in offers on Flipsy.

Replacement TypeRepair qualityWarrantyTurnaround TimeSafety/SecurityCost/PayoutNet cost/new phone (contract)Net cost/new phone (no contract)
DIYPoor for average personVoids warranty3 to 5 daysSafe and secure$69.00N/AN/A
Pro repairGoodDepends on serviceHours to weeksShould be safe/secure$100 to $200N/AN/A
Trade-inN/AN/AA few daysSafe and secure$165.00 payout$34.00$484.00
Private saleN/AN/AUnknownPotential issues$239 payout$41 leftover$409.00

As the table clearly demonstrates, it is cheaper to sell or trade in a cracked screen iPhone 5 and purchase a new iPhone 5S under contract than it is to repair the screen. Even without a contract, trading in your iPhone 5 can help you justify the purchase of a new iPhone – especially given the fact that doing so renews your warranty and presents the opportunity to enroll in AppleCare (which must be done within 30 days of purchase).

One final consideration: if you don’t want to buy a new phone or you’re locked into a prohibitive wireless service contract, you can always purchase a used iPhone. For example, $400 would purchase a used iPhone 5S at the time of this writing; thus, your net cost would be $235 after trade-in and $161 after private party sale – not much higher than what you would pay for professional iPhone screen replacement.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to determine which repair or replacement method is best for your cracked screen iPhone. Unless you’ve very recently purchased your iPhone or you’re under a lengthy wireless contract that prevents you from buying a new phone at subsidized prices, it often makes more financial sense to trade in your broken iPhone and purchase a new model.

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