Should my iPad stay or should it go nowwww
August 3, 2017 7:25 PM   Subscribe

My good old iPad mini suddenly has cracks in its screen. Should I drop a little money on fixing it (which may not work) or should I drop a lot of money on a new one? There's no warranty.

I have an original model iPad Mini. I got it for free from a friend who was upgrading. So I'm not sure how old it actually is but at least 3 or 4 years old. I mostly use it for watching Netflix, reading books, checking emails, playing games etc. It works great. Not fast or fancy, but totally serviceable.

Then this past weekend, it clanged against a bottle in my bag and got a long crack down the middle. And then yesterday, it got another long vertical crack. So I guess the cracks will multiply until it's unusable. This is the first/only iThing I've ever had so I've never dealt with cracked screens before. I'm constantly on this thing, so I'm devastated.

My question is, should I try to get it fixed somewhere, or just spring for a brand new swanky one? I'm in nyc and most places I've checked range in price from $80-$120 to fix it. There are groupons available that would bring it down to $50ish. But every place has mixed reviews as to how effective the repair was. OR i could buy a new iPad mini, but they're like $350. If I'm going to get a new one, I might as well get a good one.

If the repair was guaranteed to work, I would definitely do that and just run this one into the ground. But i don't want to waste money on a failed repair and THEN have to rip out $300. People with iPads... what do you think? $350 is a lot of money for me, but I will spend it, if that's the right move. I have to decide fast because I have an upcoming trip and I really need my iPad while I'm gone.

*Bonus question - if you've had a screen repaired in nyc, can you recommend a place?
posted by silverstatue to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
I'd honestly buy a new one. The iPad Mini has the same tier/age guts as my old iPad 2 which I'm about to replace. The thing is nearly useless to me at this point, due to the capabilities of the newer iOS versions that have been installed wanting more hardware than it's got. On top of that, I'm pretty sure Apple doesn't supply software updates to our old devices anymore so eventually you won't be able to download apps that even work.

That said, if you've got an older version of iOS still installed and it feels fine and useful to you, and you can't envision needing any more apps in the future, $50 doesn't seem too bad to get it working again. Maybe check and see if any of these repair places have a guarantee?
posted by destructive cactus at 7:31 PM on August 3, 2017 [3 favorites]

Ask Apple Store about it - you can book a "Genius Bar" appointment to run diagnostics on any Apple product, warranty or not. I think if you bring in an older iPad, they might let you buy a shiny new one at reduced cost. Worth asking.
posted by metaseeker at 8:03 PM on August 3, 2017

I recently upgraded my ancient Mini for a number of reasons, a compelling one being that the email, etc. software it could run was no longer considered secure.

Buy refurbished from the Apple Store; it's basically as good as new and will save you fifty bucks or more.
posted by praemunire at 8:09 PM on August 3, 2017 [3 favorites]

I'm constantly on this thing, so I'm devastated.

I was about to tell you to repair because replacing a screen is something that works fine 98% of the time. But if you love it and use it a ton and got it cheap in the first place and plan to love and use an iPad for many years...

Sure, get a new one, unless that is an economic hardship. And if it is, don't replace the screen, just tape/superglue/google other DIY fixes and live with a cracked glass. It's fine, you can get used to it, and it won't affect the computer inside... and then save up and buy a new one in a few months or year or whenever makes sense for your budget. But for the record any reliable shop should be able to replace the screen with very high likelihood of success.
posted by SaltySalticid at 8:18 PM on August 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

These days it's really hard to ignore the fact that Amazon is selling a really solid tablet for $80. I wouldn't put any money into a tablet that's a couple of years old.
posted by gregr at 8:23 PM on August 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

The Android to iPad question involves a sunk cost in apps. It cost me about $70 to get apps when I moved to android, and I had been very light on games. I lost almost all my iTunes media because of the hassle moving them over, and just went and repurchased what I really needed, and I'm on a mac.

I would btw go for a new iPad. You're a heavy user so you'll wear through a fix fast, and you'll get a lot of value out of a replacement, that's sensible upgrading.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 8:41 PM on August 3, 2017

The original iPad mini is past its supported lifetime, and if you take it to Apple they will recommend you buy a newer model. So do I.

I have an iPad mini 2 (the first one with a Retina™ screen) and an iPad mini 4 (the current model) that I bought solely because the storage in the 2 was inadequate for me. The iPad mini 4 is a little bit thinner and a little bit lighter, it has better color accuracy (and the screen is a little better in the sun), and it has TouchID. If I use them back to back I notice that the iPad mini 4 is faster, but when I used the iPad mini 2 again for two days recently the main thing I noticed was how much I'd gotten used to having TouchID. I can't say the better color has made any difference at all for me.

So what I'm saying is don't repair the one you have, but if you can get a deal on literally any newer model (2, 3, or 4) you'll be happy with it. The step from the original iPad mini to the Retina™ model was a big deal (it also came with a much better processor) but the differences between the 2, 3, and 4 have been evolutionary. I missed TouchID when I didn't have it, but if I'd had enough storage in my iPad mini 2 I'd probably still be using it.
posted by fedward at 9:13 PM on August 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

Also, there are rumors that Apple may discontinue the Mini, so if you like that size, you might want to buy a new one. Best Buy was (and may still be) having a great deal on them ($100-$125 off).
posted by elphaba at 6:42 AM on August 4, 2017

Thanks everyone. I think I'm gonna go for a new one, but it's good to know that the Mini 2 is still a decent machine.
posted by silverstatue at 7:36 AM on August 4, 2017

The scotch tape I put on the cracked screen of my old iPad 2 (not mini) has been going strong for 2 years now, without additional cracking, so I would wait until you actually can't use yours anymore before buying a new one.
Then when you do want to put down $, buy the latest version but refurbished from Apple.
posted by rmless at 1:36 PM on August 4, 2017

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