Shattered Like My Heart
April 8, 2009 8:57 AM   Subscribe

My iPhone 3G screen is shattered but still works. I need to get the glass replaced pronto. What are my options?

--I'm about seven months away from my renewal period.
--Only the glass is shattered: the screen still displays and responds.
--There is no one local to do it.
--If I am to believe what others have told me, Apple won't do this, unless I want to pay full price for the phone.
--These guys come recommended. Any opinions?
--Would I be able to pop my SIM card out and stick it into a gas station phone while it's away?

So, Mefites, What would you do?
posted by sourwookie to Technology (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I had the exact same problem - my screen was shattered but the phone still worked. My fiance' did a ton of research on what to do and ended up ordering replacement parts from He ordered a replacement touch screen, adhesive strips, the case opener tool and a mini-phillips screwdriver (totalling around $100). I think he used the instructions on that website to replace the screen, but i'll double-check with him when he gets home and post if it was a different set. The parts came from Hong Kong, and in addition to the cost, we also had to pay an import duty here in the UK.

It took him a few hours and bits of the process were fiddly, but when he was done, the iPhone was like new. I'm not sure how it works in the States, but i think as long as your replacement phone isn't sim-locked to a particular provider, you should be okay to pop it into another phone in the meantime.
posted by ukdanae at 9:36 AM on April 8, 2009

The guy at the Genius Bar was nice about refusing to service my broken iPod; he gave me a card for a recommended repair show. So I sent my iPod Photo into iresq about 3 years ago. The free overnight shipping bit was a big attraction, they made a big deal about it over the phone, and granted it was cool getting the padded box the next day and sending it off. But they kept my iPod for a month just to 'replace the logic board' and when I finally called them about it they apologized and said they'd get right on it. Sure enough, two days later my iPod shows back up. Working exactly as well as it did when I sent it to iresq. So I called them up and they had me print out another overnight mailing slip. Back into the box, back into the mail, back to waiting. They assured me they would work on it right away, and have it back ASAP, which I guess was about two weeks later. I finally called and asked about it, the person who answered the phone took a minute before telling me they hadn't realized I'd sent it back, they'd get right on it, etc. The next day my iPod shows up at my house, still not working. I was sorta suspicious, so I looked at the box it came back in. Same box (not unusual) but it even had the same tape I used to secure it the last time I sent it in. I called them back and asked straight up if they'd even opened the box this time. They hadn't. So I asked for my money back and they balked. It took another week of phone negotiating to get them to mail me a check, which showed up I don't know how many months later.

In short, no, I do not recommend iresq.
posted by carsonb at 10:16 AM on April 8, 2009 [3 favorites]

I used and they did a great job on my son's ipod with a cracked screen. They did take quite a bit longer than promised though. They promise 24hr turn around. It was more like a week, which is still pretty quick.
posted by caddis at 11:16 AM on April 8, 2009

To answer the last question, you should be able to pop the SIM into an unlocked phone, as ukdanae suggests. I did so with my iPhone 3G SIM when testing a T-Mobile phone that I had just unlocked.
posted by cabingirl at 11:36 AM on April 8, 2009

Before you do anything, make SURE you back up your iPhone in iTunes first! I don't own an iPhone, but I was witness to someone last night who didn't back theirs up (exact same situation), and then balked when he had to turn it over and realized he might loose all his data.
posted by GJSchaller at 11:59 AM on April 8, 2009

I believe Apple will do the repair for $200, because a broken screen obviously isn't covered by warranty. But that is not much more than sending it off to be repaired. Call them and ask, no harm in finding out for sure.

You can definitely use your SIM in an replacement phone (if it is an AT&T Go phone, I know for certain it works - although I couldn't get internet to work, it didn't matter to me on that phone anyway).

My final advice is to be like me - wait it out if at all possible. The internet is full of more and more substantial rumors about the fourth generation iPhone not only being announced in June, but actually available in June. My 2G iPhone's touchscreen broke last month (way out of warranty) and I semi-repaired another 2G from a relative to use in the meantime (the power button was broken). I hope beyond all hope that in June they will announce the shiny new iPhone, and that they will have the same upgrade path as with the 3G (I used that 2G -> 3G upgrade to get my wife her the newer iPhone last year). It would just suck to spend $100 - $200 to get this one fixed if you could spend that money on a brand new, in-warranty, fancy new iPhone in two months.
posted by shinynewnick at 12:40 PM on April 8, 2009

And on the repair option from Apple, make sure you talk to Apple directly and not someone through AT&T. AT&T will tell you you have to pay full price for a new phone to replace the one you broke (I think $599?). Mind you, that new phone from AT&T for that price should come with a 1 year warranty, while a repaired phone from Apple will maybe come with 90 days warranty, I believe.
posted by shinynewnick at 12:42 PM on April 8, 2009

After watching a video like this, I ordered the screen and a toolkit from Rapid for about $100. The video makes it look like disassembling the phone is complicated, but I'm going to give it a shot.
posted by bendy at 2:02 PM on April 8, 2009

Here's an update to my attempt to repair my broken glass. First, the video I linked to doesn't actually tell you how to get the glass out of the iphone. Use this series of videos - start here. Basically, to get the glass out you have to use a hair dryer to heat up the cement and then pry it out piece by piece.

The next tricky part is getting the glass back in. Definitely order the adhesive strips ukdanae linked to above. I didn't have those and didn't want to wait for them to arrive in the mail so I've been using Plexi-Bond and it's really messy. There's glue everywhere, including on the glass. It comes off with nail polish remover but it's a huge pain.

Good luck!
posted by bendy at 2:09 PM on April 11, 2009

Further update: Be very careful when prying the case apart at the beginning of the process. A cracked LCD looks like this.
posted by bendy at 2:35 PM on April 11, 2009

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