iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch DIY repair: Ultimate guide to replacing broken screens
Everything you need to know to do-it-yourself (DIY) replace a broken screen on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
The most common DIY repair anyone will ever have to do on their iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch is a screen replacement. Most likely, you've cracked the screen accidentally and you need to just replace it with a new, unbroken one. While some iDevice screens are extremely easy to change out, others aren't quite that simple.
Regardless, iMore is here to help and we can walk you through screen repairs on almost all models of iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Not only that, we'll give you links to the parts and tools you need from suppliers we trust. From start to finish and component to component, this is your go-to guide for everything screen repair.
Not comfortable with DIY repair? Leave it to the pros
If you aren't comfortable performing a DIY repair on your own, don't. It is possible to cause more damage or run into issues you aren't ready for. In this case, it's probably better to either pay the money for a replacement device from Apple or use a local or mail-in service that will handle the repair and any issues that may arise for you.
The Pod Drop has many locations in the midwest and is a rapidly growing company. You can check for a Pod Drop location near you, mail it in, or use another third party repair service. For more information on mail-in repairs or possible Pod Drop locations near you, you can visit their website.
How to replace a cracked screen on an iPhone 5
While the iPhone 5 hasn't been out for that long, there are folks out there already breaking them. Hey, accidents happen. Luckily, an iPhone 5 screen repair is one of the easier screen repairs to perform on your own. While the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S require the entire phone to be disassembled in order to replace the screen, the iPhone 5 opens from the front, making it much easier to replace a cracked screen with less room for error.
We broke one in the name of science just so we could show you how to fix it. So if you've got moderate ninja DIY skills, you should be able to tackle this one on your own.
How to replace a cracked screen on an iPhone 4S
The iPhone 4S features some design revisions that improved the quality over the iPhone 4. Unfortunately, that design revision didn't make it much easier to fix in terms of screen repair. Nonetheless, it isn't an impossible repair and it'll cost you a heck of a lot less than paying for an out-of-warranty replacement from Apple.
To help you along, we've got videos and lots of pictures to guide you through the process. Due to the construction of the iPhone 4S' retina display, you'll need to replace both the glass and LCD. They're bonded together and the replacement screen will come with both. Take your time, breathe, and we're confident you'll come out with an iPhone 4S that looks brand new again.
How to replace a cracked screen on an iPhone 4
The iPhone 4 comes in two flavors, GSM and CDMA. AT&T, Rogers, and most international users will have the GSM variant of the iPhone 4 while Verizon and Sprint customers that are state-side will have the CDMA version. We have guides for both variants and can assist you with a screen repair on your iPhone 4 regardless of your carrier. Just remember that the guides are different as are the internal differences between the models.
Just like the iPhone 4S, the iPhone 4 screen assembly is fused together and contains both the glass digitizer and the LCD. You'll need to replace both regardless of whether or not the LCD is discolored or broken. Either way, a replacement screen and some tools will still net you a lot more savings than an out-of-warranty replacement.
How to replace a cracked screen on an iPhone 3G or iPhone 3GS
The iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS feature the same front opening assembly as the iPhone 5. This means a screen repair is super simple. Given the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS are now considered older devices, many users don't want to put in too much effort when it comes to DIY repair. We don't blame you. Luckily the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS are super simple to fix when it comes to broken screens and can be done so on the cheap.
Even if you've already upgraded to a newer model iPhone, a 3G or 3GS can still make a great backup phone or a good iPod touch substitute for a younger child in the house. If you're up to it, follow along with our guide and we'll get it back to brand new condition in no time.
How to replace a cracked screen on a 4th generation iPod touch
iPod touches by their very nature love to slip out of children's hands. The screens are also very susceptible to breaking. It's also common that the LCD gets damaged when the screen breaks more often than it does on iPhone models. The good news is that a screen repair really isn't that difficult and it'll replace both the glass and the LCD. Just like its siblings, the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, the glass and LCD are bonded together. Replacing the screen can take care of issues with either.
This repair will also cost you a lot less than a brand new iPod.
How to replace a cracked screen on an iPad 2 or iPad 3
The iPad 2 is where Apple's fascination with adhesive really started. Every iPad since then and even additional devices have contained screens that are held in with a super strong adhesive. While fixing an iPad 2 or iPad 3 is not an easy feat, it is possible and costs less than replacing it.
Our guide covers a screen replacement for an iPad 3rd generation but most iPad 2 users will be able to follow it just fine as well. The only difference will be the connector placement for the LCD and digitizer. As long as you're careful lifting up the LCD, you'll be just fine. The hardest part is getting the broken glass panel off, after that, you're pretty much good to go.
Note: Some drops cause the aluminum corners of the iPad to bend in towards the screen. This will make it impossible to lay a flat piece of glass down without bending these corners out properly again. Sometimes this can even require power tools. If that scares you, we here at iMore recommend using a professional service such as The Pod Drop who can perform the repair for you as a walk-in or mail-in. This will also cost less than a replacement but will come with a warranty and the peace of mind that your device is in good hands.
If you feel comfortable repairing your iPad on your own or you don't have any bent corners, we've got the guide to help you do just.
Even more DIY help
Run into an issue with a DIY repair or need more help? Our DIY and mod forums are a good place to start. We've got lots of members that are willing to lend a hand in the form of advice. Hey, many of them may have been in your exact same situation at some point.
Looking for more repairs that aren't covered in this guide? Check out our guides below as this is only a small portion of what we've already covered. If you still can't find the answers you're looking for or want us to cover a guide we haven't yet, you can email us directly and we'll try and help however we can.