October 10, 2011 1:32 PM   Subscribe

I've pretty much ruined the glass on my iPad 2. Assuming I'm not going to immediately pay the price of getting the glass replaced, should I try to fix the scratches somehow?

I dropped (or more accurately, threw) my iPad 2 yesterday. It's not broken, but the cover detatched itself and the tablet skidded face-down across the floor. And lo, two little bits of grit decided to etch their trails right across the middle of the screen.

The scratches are just deep enough to feel with a fingernail, and have resulted in two lovely rainbow lines whenever I'm looking at something white, like a browser page. I find it a bit distracting.

I'll probably get the glass replaced. But right now I don't want to spend the money.

So for the sake of a few months' use, is it worth trying to remove the scratches from the glass using an abrasive/polishing method, or with some kind of acrylic scratch filler? I don't mind sacrificing whatever coatings there are on the glass. Any recommendations? Anyone have any experience with this sort of thing?
posted by le morte de bea arthur to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
From what I've heard, the Apple Store can be surprisingly nice about replacing dropped/thrown/whatever iPads, even outside warranty. Go in, be honest about what happened, and see if you get lucky.
posted by vorfeed at 1:36 PM on October 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

I can't vouch for this company personally, but I've heard of good results from friends using a hardening liquid scratch remover. I'm guessing its some kind of epoxy-resin that you would have to buff out. I would look around for a good product review however...iDrop was the first one I came across on a google search.
posted by samsara at 1:46 PM on October 10, 2011

You could try a automotive glass polish like Diamonite. I've successfully removed slight pitting and scratches from an old Toyota Camry with a rotary using it. Not sure if it will on gorilla glass

Or you could try going to a auto detailing shop to see if they could do it for you.
posted by wongcorgi at 2:58 PM on October 10, 2011

samsara-- liquid scratch-removers are the sorts of things are what one finds when repairing CDs/DVDs, and so they should be good as long as the polishing method is good. A DVD laser is far more sensitive than an iPad user (though a DVD probably has error correction), but I know that plenty of people repair DVDs with the likes of DVD Doctor.
posted by Sunburnt at 5:41 PM on October 10, 2011

I once took polishing compound and a buffing wheel to the plastic screen of a cell phone (one of those old Nokia bricks). Turns out the screen was coated with a scratch-resistant coating, and my attempts made the screen worse (hazy) instead of better.
posted by itheearl at 5:58 PM on October 10, 2011

I had two different (obviously dropped) iPhones replaced at Apple stores for free, too, so at least give vorfeed's advice a shot.

(Pick the clerk with the most charitable looking piercings.)
posted by rokusan at 6:21 PM on October 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Use whatever they use on car windshield to fill in the scratches if Apple won't take pity on you. And, maybe some anger management strategies?
posted by theora55 at 8:46 PM on October 10, 2011

Fom my own personal experience, tell the people at the Genius Bar that your pet inflicted the aforementioned damage. Bonus points if you can actually produce said pet.

"Oops, Smooky stepped on/knocked over/caused me to step on my Ipad/Iphone/Macbook Air, can we fix this?" has worked for so many people ahead of me in line that I'm totally befuddled on just what service the GB produces.
posted by Sphinx at 8:50 PM on October 10, 2011


And stop throwing your equipment. Throw a book instead.
posted by Sphinx at 8:51 PM on October 10, 2011

Response by poster: To clarify a bit, 'throw' describes the manner in which it slipped from my hand, and wasn't meant to imply the red fog of rage.

I might try an Apple store if I'm ever in a city that has one. Failing that, I'll invest in a car windscreen (windshield) scratch repair kit and take my chances.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 3:35 AM on October 11, 2011

Best answer: If you're feeling up to it, you can buy the replacement screen for $61.

Replacing it doesn't seem too daunting.
posted by chazlarson at 10:29 AM on October 11, 2011

Best answer: Well, this week I took the plunge and replaced the glass/digitiser myself. Cost me less than £30 ($50). Bought the part from a highly-rated seller on eBay, borrowed an adjustable heat gun and a scalpel, and with a bit of patience it all turned out reasonably well.

The best source of information I could find was this YouTube video, from which I learned a few important things.

Here's a quick summary:

1. You definitely need a heat gun, adjusted to approx 120C. There's no way you'll open an iPad 2 successfully without softening the glue.

2. Use a scalpel. I used an x-acto knife, and although it worked, a scalpel, kept tightly against the glass, is narrower and would have done a neater job.

3. As the video explains, go around at a depth of about 4mm, then go around again at 6-7mm, avoiding the area around the button. Keeping to these depths prevents any risk of damage. Marking lines on the blade helps a lot.

4. Watch out for the wifi antenna to the right of the home button. Soften the glue thoroughly and run the scalpel along flush against the glass to free the antenna. Check as you lift the glass and make sure the antenna doesn't get pulled up by with the glass.

5. If your experience is anything like mine, you'll need to replace the glue - my replacement glass came with pre-cut strips of double-sided tape. There's a video on YouTube by the same people showing where to stick these strips if you have them.

6. Getting the LCD completely free of dust before closing the iPad is tricky. Try to work somewhere dust-free (maybe vacuum and do the dusting first). I used an anti-static glass cleaning cloth and one of those camera lens brushes to get rid of dust and fingerprints on the LCD. I still managed to trap a few specks under the new glass, but it's barely noticeable.

7. Don't blame me if you wreck your iPad. But I didn't find the process too traumatic, and would happily do it again for a friend.

8. Buy a screen protector. I just bought 6, and won't be dropping my iPad without one.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 6:43 AM on April 20, 2012

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