How to find the best third party iPhone, iPad, and iPod repair company

How to find the best third party iPhone, iPad, and iPod repair company

Whether your AppleCare is expired or you opted not to extend it, out of warranty replacements through Apple can be expensive. If you aren't comfortable performing a DIY repair on your own, that may leave you looking for a repair company that's either local to you or accepts mail-ins that can perform the repair for you.

In the past few years, many repair companies have cropped up all over the world that specialize in iPhone, iPad, and iPod repair. Unfortunately, not all of them use quality parts and/or know exactly what they're doing. Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing a third party iPhone, iPad, and iPod repair company.

Research them online

This is somewhat common sense but it's absolutely the first thing you should do. If they aren't listed on Yelp! or Google Businesses, it may not be a good sign. Check for an official website, Facebook, or Twitter page and see what other people are saying about them. If you can't find an online presence, we'd recommend looking for another option. Any credible repair company should be more than forthcoming with their customers and gladly accept their feedback in a public forum where potential customers can find it.

Finding quality information about a company online is extremely important when you're looking at mailing in a device. Walk-ins allow you to gauge your level of comfort on a face to face basis but mail-ins take that factor away. If you're thinking about mailing your device off to a company, you should communicate with them on the phone or at the very least, via email, before doing so. If you can't find a contact phone number and/or physical address, find another service. There are many reputable companies out there that will talk to you.

Inquire about pricing

Pricing is a deciding factor for many when they're debating whether they should get a device fixed or use an upgrade, if available. A reputable repair shop should be open about their pricing. A good sign is if they actually list it online on their website or Facebook page.

When it comes to paying for a repair, prices will vary given where you live and your local market but the going rates should be pretty consistent across the board. For instance, iPhone 4/4S repairs typically range between $80 to $115 for a screen replacement depending on your location. This should include labor and parts.

Cheaper isn't always better!

We're talking about your iPhone, iPad, or iPod here. While it's always nice to snag a good deal on something, a repair isn't something we recommend compromising on. If someone is offering to perform a screen replacement or other repair that sounds too good to be true, it probably is. We have seen repair shops crop up that offer screen replacements for the iPhone 4/4S for as low as $40 to $50. This is a huge red flag that they're probably not using authentic or high quality parts. Knock-off and counterfeit parts on eBay and Amazon are cheaper for a reason, they have an extremely high defect rate. It's also less likely that the repair company is going to warranty or stand behind their work.

That leads us to our next topic...

Part quality

Don't ever be afraid to ask a repair company what kind of parts they use or where they come from. While you can find high quality parts from eBay and Amazon for a higher price tag, it's not normally a route that a reputable repair company would take.

Suppliers like eTech Parts offer repair companies great deals depending on how much they order in a given month. The more they order, the higher of a discount they'll get on their wholesaler account. Amazon and eBay sellers typically won't do this nor is either site set up for this. Any reputable repair company should be more concerned with providing a quality service over saving a few bucks per screen or component cable.

I am very open with customers that ask about where we acquire our parts and even give them links to some of our supplier sites if they ask. Not all repair companies will do this but some may and that may help set your mind at ease. If they won't tell you where they get their parts, at least make sure they warranty them for a reasonable amount of time.

Warranty

A very obvious question that you should always be asking is whether or not a repair company warranties their work. Any good one should absolutely be warrantying not only parts but defects in workmanship. I've found that 90 days is pretty typical across the board with some companies warrantying work a little longer. They should also be able to answer specifics on what exactly is covered under the warranty.

This typically comes into alignment with how a supplier will warranty parts for that company. For example, eTech Parts will warranty all the parts I buy for 90 days, so I pass that 90 days on to the customer. If they have a problem, we correct the issue and then deal with the part supplier on our own time.

For example, we typically warranty the repair they have performed and that particular part but if they come in with another issue, we'll always check and make sure another issue didn't arise from an error on our part. This requires a great level of trust between you and your customer.

Around here, we have a we break it, we bought it policy. If we break a device during the course of repair, we replace it with a brand new one. No, not a refurbished or repaired device we have laying around, a brand new in box device directly from Apple or another big box retailer, with an Apple warranty. If that device isn't sold anymore, they get an upgrade to the closest model. In three years, we have only had to use that policy once, but it shows that we stand behind our work and are honest with our customers.

It sucks to tell a customer you made a mistake, but everyone does, and it's how we learn. And let's face it, accidents happen. It just can't be at the expense of a customer and a repair company has to be willing to own up to their end of the deal.

So don't be afraid to ask what happens if they break your device during a repair. It can happen and a reputable repair company should have an answer that you're willing to accept.

Repair time frame

This is probably the biggest concern of any person that walks through our door and the question we hear most often:

How long will I be without my iPhone?

Any reputable repair company should be forthcoming about how long they'll have your device and give you a receipt for it when you drop it off. While repair times may vary from company to company, most knowledgeable companies can do almost any iPhone repair while you wait unless it involves heavy diagnostics. For example, a smashed iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S screen should take no longer than an hour from start to finish, meaning you can most likely wait for it. Just keep in mind that if there are people ahead of you, it can increase the wait time. For common repairs on iPhones, don't expect to leave your iPhone for more than a few hours. If they're telling you days, walk way.

Other repairs that require more diagnostics such as liquid damage could take longer and are harder to estimate exact time frames. This will typically depend on the repair company and how many technicians they have at their disposal. We typically know within 1-3 days whether or not we can fix a device but that number may vary given the extent of the damage. If a hold up is caused by special ordering parts, that should be something the repair company communicates with you. We always try and keep in contact with our customers to let them know the status of their device as often as we can.

Smashed screens on other devices such as an iPad or iPod touch can vary greatly. Newer iPads can be more challenging but common repairs should still be able to be done same day or with a 24 hour turnaround time. Same thing for iPods. If you think a turnaround time estimate doesn't sound right, don't be afraid to ask why or call around to other places, even if they aren't in your area, and ask them what they estimate.

The bottom line

There are lots of repair companies out there who do exceptional work and treat iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch repairs as an art form. They love what they do and are genuinely good at it. Many of them may even service other kinds of devices such as Android and BlackBerry. Unfortunately, this is an industry that for every one reputable company that stands behind their work, you'll find three guys on the corner using sketchy parts off eBay to make a quick buck. It's something quality repair companies have been fighting since the beginning and still continue to fight today.

If you do your homework and voice your concerns to a prospective repair company, you'll know within seconds whether or not you trust them. If you don't, walk away and look for another option.

Recommendations

Depending on where you're located geographically, here are some suggestions based on personal experiences and/or customer feedback we have heard over the years.

  • Cracked Mac Screen - Washington DC area, accepts mail-in repairs - Link to site
  • ReTech - Gainesville and Ocala, FL - Link to site
  • Shatter Buggy - services Colorada, Arizona, Nevada, Texas areas - Link to site
  • Mission Repair - Olathe, KS, accepts mail-in repairs - Link to site
  • mendmyi - UK based, offers mail-ins with quick turnaround times to most of Europe - Link to site
  • iPhone repair search - Search for repair companies across the US, call to verify and use your own judgement - Link to site

Have you had any experience with any of the above companies or do you have another you'd like to recommend? Drop it in the comments below!

Allyson Kazmucha

Help and how to editor for iMore. I can take apart an iPhone in less than 6 minutes. I also like coffee and Harry Potter more than anyone really should.

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Reader comments

How to find the best third party iPhone, iPad, and iPod repair company

28 Comments

uBreakiFix has over 50 locations nationwide. They offer a 90 Day Warranty on their work and even work on water damaged phones. Most iPhone repairs have about a 30-45 minute turn around. Check them out at ubreakifix.com

UnbreakMobile does corporate iPhone repair. Lots of individuals work for companies who have employee phones and when they break its up to the IT or Telecom people to get them fixed.

This article says it all!!! we have been a reliable source for iphone, ipod, ipad and laptop repairs in the Lafayette la area for over 4 years now. Over the time we have been doing this we have seen and dealt with everything this article talks about, from the stand by your product to dealing with low quality competitors. We thank you for sharing this information and hope everyone follows this advice when looking for a reputable repair shop near you!!

I loved RepairZoom for my recent iPad Screen repair. They include the UPS shipping in the cost of the repair which is one reason they have such a great value. They are also one of the largest Apple repair companies as well - NOT someone working out of their car or something. They fixed my broken iPad screen the same day they got it - really impressive!!

Want to get your iDevice Repair at an price no one can beat!! Look up these guys iMaster Repair they charged me only $115 for a full service ipad screen repair! They do good work and offer 1 year of warranty too!!

There are hundreds of online repair sites. Always look for a company that has qualified, experienced techs with good reviews.
There are alot of fly-by night repair companies out to make a quick buck and perform sloppy repairs with cheap parts. Don't be a victim, contact iRefresh if you need a repair.

iRefresh LTD. has been around since 2007 and has all the experience with customer service be #1 on our list.

Check us out at http://www.ipodrefresh.com

I was fixing electronic devices for over 4 years -mainly iPhones and iPods and I was always having problems with getting good quality parts for a good price. I started buying parts on ebay and various websites but you never know what you get until you install it - that was so frustrating! I finally decided to start my own website where I would offer good quality parts for the best possible price. See if you can find something you need www.cellbodyshop.com

IPhone 5 screen is composed of three layers. The first part is the glass that your fingers touch. The next layer is called the digitizer that senses your touch gestures. And the inner layer display that is supported by the backlight. These three sheets are packed together to make an outstanding resolution that most reviewers admired. Whenever the screen is broken not all of these three layers are damaged. In order to mend it, some repair centers just replace one of these three components that often resulted to an unsatisfactory screen resolution. website http://premieriphonerepair.com/iphone-5-repairs/

If you are going to try and do it yourself (and with a little education and getting over the fear you can) know that QualityRepairParts.com are NOT quality parts. They are inexpensive but, my experience after spending about a thousand dollars, is that they are low end parts that are just slightly out of tolerance (size) and have a tendency to break (one iPad, one Mini, one 4 screen with one 5 screen assembly that literally fell apart in my hands).

What my ipad screen cracked due to a fall I decided to use Radio Shack - it was more expensive than some but I had good experiences with Radio Shack and their store was nearby my home. What a mistake that was! The screen lifted off the corner numerous times and eventually cracked again under normal use. I expected them to stand behind their repair - they did not. AVOID RADIO SHACK!!