I’m a big fan of the iPhone. I’ve had one, although not the same one, for about three years. So I’ve seen a broken iPhone screen or two (or five). Personally I’ve broken two screens myself, one of which I completely smashed. The feeling is just terrible. While you may think life for your iPhone is over, there are plenty of options. There are some great posts and even videos which go over how to fix a broken iPhone screen, but that isn’t what I am going to do here. This article will outline the many options (including fixing your iPhone) you have after you’ve broken your iPhone screen.

First things first

By this point you have already noticed your screen is broken and probably even lined up the cracks with key points of use on your iPhone. Cracks in the middle and bottom where the keyboard appears certainly hinder use the most. If you haven’t already, you should check to see if the digitizer (aka the thing that recognizes your finger touching the screen) is damaged. This can be done simply by touching different points on the screen and watching to see if your iPhone recognizes the command.

  • If your iPhone recognizes touch that's great! This means you’ll have no problems (except poor visibility) using your iPhone until you decide what the next step to take is.
  • If your iPhone doesn’t recognize touch commands, that stinks for you. If the entire screen isn’t affected, you can manage with a little creativity (shifting views to type on keys that otherwise do not recognize touch, etc.).

Temporary Fixes for a Broken iPhone Screen

Once you’ve determined that your iPhone still recognizes touch (if it doesn’t this section won’t do you any good), you can continue to use it. If the crack is very minor the iPhone can be used as is with little threat of the crack getting worse or a piece of the screen falling off. Minor cracks include a single crack or two small cracks in the far corners of the screen.

On the other hand if you’ve got a gaping spider crack that is as intricate as one of Charlotte's webs you’ll need to cover your screen with something or you face the risk of little shards of glass falling out everywhere. A really easy fix is to slap on an iPhone screen protector. If you have one on already leave it on. If you don’t have a screen protector, you can use Scotch tape. The trick here is to have as little overlay as possible and to turn up your brightness to counteract the glare you’ll receive from the tape.

I’ve had both types of broken iPhone screens...

My minor crack was in the top right hand corner and only ventured in far enough to cut through the top right app if I was on the home screen. I used that iPhone for quite a while. Inevitably its old age caught up to it (iPhone 2g) and a section of the digitizer opposite to the break stopped recognizing touch about six months after I had originally broken it.

More recently I had broken an iPhone 3g screen when I closed a car door on my coat pocket (with phone inside). Needless to say the screen was demolished, but the iPhone was completely functional. Since I didn’t have a screen protector, I covered it with tape and turned the brightness up. While this wasn’t a complete fix, it did get me through a couple of months before I got a new one. The phone continues to work and I plan to fix the screen myself (more on that later).

What can you do if you don’t want to fix a broken screen?

Welcome back readers with an iPhone that doesn’t recognize touch! If your iPhone works and you can handle it as is, you’ve escaped, but with a reminder that will last as long as you have your phone. If you don’t want to fix it and you can’t handle the crack (you are buying/bought a new phone already) you can sell the iPhone as is. The important details to keep in mind are:

  1. Does the screen still recognize touch?
  2. What generation iPhone is it? (iPhone 3g, 3gs, etc.)
  3. How many gigs is your iPhone? (8GB, 16GB, etc.)

Regardless of the way you sell it (eBay, local forums, newspaper ad, etc.), these are the most important details to know and list. To get an idea of what your iPhone is worth on eBay, simply use the advanced search to look for completed listings of broken iPhones that are similar to yours.

If fixing the iPhone is for you

You really have two options here: You can either fix it yourself or find someone to fix it for you. Finding someone to fix a broken iPhone screen can be as simple as finding a tech savvy friend. If that doesn’t work, you can either call your local Apple/gadget store(s) or search online. If you go with a business to fix your iPhone screen, chances are they'll be the ones ordering the screen.

Fixing an iPhone screen yourself can be a bit challenging if you are doing it for the first time. This is what I’ll be doing with my shattered iPhone 3g. I suggest you do your homework and look around on blogs as well as video sites for how to’s. From my research it looks like the pre installed screen kits are the easiest for first timers which is why I recently purchased one (waiting for it to come to fix my iPhone). This includes a new digitizer and additional parts already assembled so there isn’t as much to do once you have your iPhone opened up. I think it is worth the extra couple bucks but I won’t know for sure until once I get it installed (check back for an update!).

As you can see you have plenty of options after you’ve broken your screen. While fixing a broken iPhone screen may not be for everyone, this is the path I’ve chosen. Whether you plan on getting a new phone or not, repairing the screen will insure you get the most out of your iPhone.