7 Ways to Fix a Scratched Phone Screen
Looking for the best way to remove scratches from your phone screen? There are a lot of nonsense screen repair “solutions” floating around the net, so we’ve compiled a list of options that really work – plus a few that might work under the right circumstances. Here’s how to fix a scratched phone screen and how much it costs.
How to fix a scratched phone screen
A quick Google search will yield dozens of do-it-yourself scratched phone screen repairs, including car wax, paint scratch repair kits, Vaseline, toothpaste, bananas, sandpaper and even buffing your screen with a drill and cerium oxide. None of these “repair” methods work, and many can damage your device even more.
There are real remedies, however, and you can repair (or at least minimize) most cell phone screen scratches with one of the following seven methods (3 that work, 4 that might work). Let’s start with those that might work.
Scratched screen fixes that might work
Looking for at-home DIY ways to fix a scratched phone screen? These options might work. Scroll down for more proven solutions.
1. Screen polish/scratch remover ($10 to $20)
Phone screen polishes and scratch removers like PolyWatch, Displex and Podshop iDrops promise to buff out scratches and help return your phone to like-new condition. Displex and Podshop iDrops are one-step solutions: apply the product to a soft cloth and buff your screen for a few seconds. PolyWatch is a two-step polish-and-finish process. Phone screen polish and scratch remover reviews are mixed, so your success might depend on how deeply your screen is scratched. You can buy kits for $10 to $20.
WARNING: Polishes could remove the oleophobic coating from your screen, which prevents fingerprints and smudges plus makes it easy to slide your finger over touchscreen glass. If the coating is removed, you could apply a new oleophobic coating with a product like Nano Liquid (around $20) or simply use a screen protector that has an oleophobic coating.
Did you know? Many phones are worth $100+. Find the value of your phone.
2. Windshield scratch remover ($10)
Car windshield scratch removers use resin to fill in small cracks, so they’re a potential option if you can’t get a phone scratch remover locally and don’t want to wait for shipping (or if you already have windshield scratch remover in your garage). Like other polishes, reviews are mixed so best results aren’t guaranteed. Windshield scratch removers might be worth a try, however, since you can pick up a kit from brands like Rain-X, Permatex and Blue-Star for around $10 at your local automotive supply store.
WARNING: Like other polishes, windshield repair kits could remove your screen’s oleophobic coating (especially if they require buffing).
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3. Glue ($5)
Superglue, epoxy and other clear glues can fill in screen scratches and render them nearly undetectable. Coat scratches with glue and wipe away any excess; once it dries, scrape off any remaining residue with a flat edge (like a credit card). This method isn’t foolproof, as you’ll need a steady hand and you could risk gluing buttons down or causing additional damage, but it’s a quick and cheap fix for light scratches.
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4. Magic Eraser ($5)
Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and similar products are mildly abrasive, so they’re able to buff out and polish small screen scratches. Screen repair isn’t the stated purpose for these products, though, so even though many people have reported success your mileage may vary. You can pick up a 4-pack of Magic Erasers for around $5.
WARNING: Like polishes, Magic Erasers could remove your screen’s oleophobic coating.
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Scratched screen fixes that will work
The previous options might work, but they might also be more trouble than they’re worth. The following are typically better solutions for scratched screen repair.
5. Screen protector cover ($5 to $30)
A new protective screen cover might be all you need to mask the smallest scratches. Protective cell phone screen covers are cheap to buy and simple to apply. Though screen protectors won’t fix scratches, they can render them nearly invisible to the naked eye. That makes them a good option for hiding most light scratches, but not deep scratches. Screen protectors also help prevent additional scratches. You can buy one for $5 to $30.
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6. Screen replacement ($40 to $330)
If your phone screen has deep scratches or if you don’t want to mess with repair kits that might not achieve the best results, screen replacement is your best option (unless you have insurance – more on that below). Many phone manufacturers and third-party repair centers offer cell phone screen replacement. It’s more expensive than other options, and you might need to go without your phone for a few days if you mail it in for repair, but you’ll get a brand-new screen that’s completely free of scratches. Some repair services even offer warranties.
Depending on your model and selected repair option, you can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $330 for professional screen replacement. Note that in some cases, screen replacement can weaken phone water resistance.
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You can also attempt to replace your own cell phone screen, which could save you money. However, it’s a daunting task for anyone who isn’t tech savvy and will likely void any applicable warranties and insurance policies. The Flipsy blog has articles that help you decide whether to sell or fix your broken iPhone and show you how much cracked Galaxy note screen repair costs. DIY screen replacement can range from $40 to $300 or more, depending on your model and quality of parts.
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7. File an insurance claim ($29 to $99)
If you have phone insurance, this is likely your best option for deep scratches or if you don’t want to attempt DIY scratch repair. If you live near your carrier’s repair center, even better: you can get your screen replaced over your lunch break. Otherwise, you’ll need to mail your phone in for screen repair.
All major carrier and manufacturer insurance plans offer special screen repair pricing. Verizon Total Mobile Protection, Sprint Complete and AppleCare+ all have $29 screen replacement deductibles. AT&T Mobile Protection Pack charges $49, while T-Mobile charges $99 ($29 if you have an iPhone and you’re within the two-year AppleCare+ period). The Samsung Premium Care deductible is $99. If you have third-party insurance, you’ll pay $149 to file a claim through SquareTrade and around $50 through Worth Ave. Group, depending on your model.
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Selling your scratched cell phone
A final option is to sell your scratched phone and use the money toward the purchase of a new phone. Several companies are willing to purchased cell phones with scratched screens for a fair price. You can find Trust Verified Stores on Flipsy who offer free shipping and cash payouts within two days of receiving your phone.
Here are some example offers for phones with scratched screens:
|PHONE (with scratched screen)||FLIPSY CASH OFFER|
|iPhone 11||$205 (Sell Now)|
|iPhone XS||$218 (Sell Now)|
|iPhone X||$153 (Sell Now)|
|iPhone 8 Plus||$112 (Sell Now)|
|Galaxy Note 10||$110 (Sell Now)|
|Galaxy S10||$113 (Sell Now)|
|Galaxy S9 Plus||$62 (Sell Now)|
|Google Pixel 4||$153 (Sell Now)|
|Google Pixel 3a XL||$43 (Sell Now)|
|Google Pixel 3||$53 (Sell Now)|
|LG V50 ThinQ 5G||$50 (Sell Now)|
Retrieved 2/4/20. All phones base capacities on the Verizon network in “broken” condition
Selling your phone over a scratched screen might or might not be a good option for you; it could largely depend on whether you’re due for an upgrade or if you’re already thinking about buying a new phone. Always check current prices to determine whether selling your scratched cell phone is the right choice.
Prevention is the best “repair”
When you purchase a new cell phone, it’s a good idea to get a screen protector and case to ensure your investment remains scratch-free. Prevention is really the best repair; however, if your phone screen does get scratched you can either attempt to repair it yourself, opt to have the screen replaced altogether or simply sell your phone and use the funds toward the purchase of a new device – along with a new screen protector, of course.