DIY iPhone Screen Replacement
Hello $wanigans! Welcome back. If you are part of the FIRE community or believe in a frugal life, then you no doubt are ready to pick up a hammer and a screwdriver to a do a little DIY when the situation calls for it. But what if the screwdriver is so tiny you can hardly tell if it is a Phillips or a Torx (star shaped)? That was the case for me when I most recently tried my hand at a DIY project: replacing my cracked iPhone 6 screen!
You might think I’m a bit crazy for trying my hand at such a cautionary DIY project, but just like most other DIY projects, there were good YouTube videos available to walk me through the project and other good step-by-step guides online. I read a lot about the process and felt comfortable with the risks, so I figured why not?!
Let me first give a little background. No, I do not believe in phone cases, but I’m starting to come around to the idea. I mean what is the purpose of having a skinny and pretty looking phone if you throw a big, fat ugly case on it, right? I guess the answer is because the manufacturers make them in a way they are super fragile and breakable…I mean is glass a necessity? How about a durable plastic screen or something?!
Anyway, even though I’ve never had a case in the last 5+ years of owning a smart phone, I also have never had a problem until 2016. What happened in 2016? My son is now a perfect age where he has learned to throw things…including my cell phone when I place it within his reach! ‘Nuf said.
So what solution do I have but to go to the repair shop down my street to get a replacement screen? As a matter of fact, that is just what I did back in April when the first accident happened. Cost…~$120 for the replacement and I talked them into a free tempered glass shield (huge win for me, I know…not).
Now that I still haven’t learned my lesson after the first incident, I now need a second replacement screen. This broken screen wasn’t as bad as the first, see pic below. But I figured I might as well replace it now since I’m going to at some point anyway (prior to a trade in or re-sale).
At some point along the way I heard or read about someone replacing the screen themselves so I looked into it more myself. After all, I don’t need the repair shop to get to know me by name. The solution…Amazon and YouTube!
Surprise surprise, replacing my own screen is doable. I found my iphone screen replacement for about $30 which offers significant savings over the local repair store. Although nerve wracking at times, I was successful! I followed YouTube videos very closely, took my time, I had Lucy watch over my shoulder for help and encouragement, and took pictures every step along the way (with her iPhone…) in case I needed to revert back.
After about 20 minutes and sweating through my shirt, I came out victorious! But allow me to give fair warning and some very key and must read advice that I found while researching this process before you try this yourself…
First, unless the screen replacement product you buy says it is manufactured by Apple or an OEM, then it is not going to be exactly the same. You may notice a slight yellowish tinge to the image, or so I’ve read. I didn’t notice anything with mine.
Second, be very meticulous in knowing which screws go where. Even if they look the same, do not interchange them. For example, there are five screws you need to take out of this part…
The two at the bottom are the same length, the one in the middle and upper left are ever so slightly longer, and the upper right is noticeably longer yet. A common mistake is replacing the bottom short screws with any of the longer screws and incurring what is known as “long screw damage” which can mess up the backlight and required a $100+ in incremental damage to the phone.
So while this is definitely a doable DIY project and saves a meaningful amount of money, it isn’t without risks. Having done it once though, I do feel more comfortable and confident if I ever need to do it again…
What will I do if it happens again? Well, if my wife doesn’t kill me, I think I’ll be forced to just scrap the phone and go with a cheaper alternative smart phone. At that point, I will be force to admit that I am not responsible enough to have one :).
Perhaps I research less popular smart phone brands like Blue or Sky? Are they compatible with Verizon? What about group text messaging which is big for me? Many group messages are with other iPhone owners and so they are imessages. Is there an app that allows a non-iPhone user to seamlessly interact on group imessages? I know this had been an issue historically for Samsung users.
I’m definitely sick and tired of expensive Apple or Samsung phones where it seems like most of what you are buying is the brand name. Based on limited research, I think there are quality alternative options (Sky, Blu, etc.) to these expensive brands. One of these may be my next smart phone…
Have you ever tried replacing your own screen? Any tips or words of wisdom before I drop Apple for Sky or Blu? Let me know in the comments below.
Thanks for taking a look!
The Green Swan
Work Harder, Work Smarter, Retire Earlier and Find Your Beach