Cracked screens are a common ailment for the modern-day smartphone user, whether you've dropped your handset on the sidewalk or someone else smacked it out of your hands. Here's what you need to do to get around the problem and to get it permanently fixed.
WHAT TO DO RIGHT AWAYSmashed screens come in many different levels of severity and you could be dealing with anything from a completely shattered display and a non-working phone, to a small crack in one corner of the screen and a device that still works fine. Not all of these solutions are applicable to every scenario but we'll try and guide you as best we can.First of all, assess the damage, and that means getting your phone on a solid surface and in a good light, not just giving it a quick once-over before stuffing it back in your pocket.With a little bit of stress testing and careful prodding you should be able to work out whether the screen is about to fall off or fail completely. In a lot of cases it will stay in place, cracks and all, so you can at least keep tweeting, so long as the screen is still visible and functioning.
YOU CAN AT LEAST KEEP TWEETING, SO LONG AS THE SCREEN IS STILL VISIBLE AND FUNCTIONING.Aside from just being the part that you touch, your screen is also a protective measure that protects the expensive electronics underneath, and the longer you leave a crack exposed the worse the damage can get: a good-quality screen protector or at a pinch some sticky tape is a good idea while you work on a more permanent fix.If the phone is seriously damaged, get it backed up as quickly as you can, making sure all your photos and videos and important files are saved somewhere else just in case it dies completely and you can't get it working again. If it's already stopped functioning, then a professional repair is probably your best bet, which brings us on to...
WHAT TO DO AFTER THATIf your phone is covered by an insurance program then check up on the details and see if you can get the screen fixed — double-check the fine print first though, like how long it's going to take, and whether you're covered for any data recovery too.You can have a go at fixing a broken screen yourself, although that doesn't mean you should. The process isn't particularly difficult, but it requires patience, a steady hand, a screwdriver and a good knowledge of how your phone is put together. the consistently outstanding iFixit has guides for Android and iOS devices, so have a browse through the steps to get an idea of the process.
You'll have to source a replacement screen yourself in this case, but don't be afraid to admit it's a job beyond your capabilities. You don't want to mess up the repair after all, as that'll cost you more in the long run.Ultimately, you might be best going direct to the manufacturer or a local repair shop, even if it's going to cost you more money. They know what they're doing, they do the same replacement jobs all the time, and you can get on with something more interesting while it's getting fixed.
If you know a recommended, local firm that does a good job, see if they can help you. Otherwise Apple will repair your iPhone screen, for a price, and so do some Android manufacturers, so check the official repair channels in your part of the world.WHAT TO DO IN THE FUTUREIt's difficult to completely eliminate the risk of smashing your phone screen, no matter how careful you are with it. Leaving it at home in a desk drawer kind of defeats the point of having a mobile phone in the first place.
DON'T JUST THROW YOUR OLD PHONE AWAY.If you find you've developed a habit of cracking screens, then taking out some gadget insurance might be a good idea, as is investing in a solid protective case for your handset. There's a huge choice of cases out there, particularly for popular models, so find something rubberized and rugged and you don't have to worry the next time your phone drops to the floor.
You typically have to sacrifice some thinness and lightness along the way but it's worth it if you don't have to pay for another repair job.
Should a smashed screen prompt you to go for an upgrade, don't just throw your old phone away. Send it to a local (or nationwide) recycling scheme, or try and sell it through eBay—there are plenty of people who'll be willing to buy a smashed phone, because they'll do the repairs themselves, then sell it for a profit.The good news for clumsy (or unlucky) smartphone users is that manufacturers are working on ways to stop the problem from happening, whether that's by installing tougher glass in the screens or by having the phones take emergency action when they sense they've been dropped.
Until phones become unbreakable, though, you can still recover from a smashed screen without too much drama. It just might cost you a buck or two.