Fixing a cracked iPod Touch screen

CNET's Donald Bell shares his experience replacing a cracked screen on an Apple iPod Touch.

The iPod Touch is one of the sleekest, most advanced portable media players on the planet. Unfortunately, it's also one of the most fragile. With one side covered entirely by a thin pane of glass, a single careless drop is enough to turn the iPod Touch into nothing more than an expensive paperweight.

To protect your investment, Apple offers a one-year, limited warranty on its iPods, with the option to buy an extended Apple Care warranty. But on the day CNET Associate Editor Antuan Goodwin dropped his first-generation iPod Touch face-down in a parking lot, he was out of warranty and out of luck.

A cracked iPod or iPhone screen is really a lose-lose proposition: you either pay someone upwards of $100 to repair it, or shell out for a new one. To Antuan's relief, I offered a third, less-expensive option: DIY repair.

I had some experience replacing iPod batteries and messing with electronics, so I offered to do the iPod repair myself, so long as Antuan understood there was a good chance I would irreparably mangle his iPod. I found the replacement glass on iFixit.com for $50, along with detailed, step-by-step instructions on the repair.

I won't lie to you: the repair wasn't easy. iFixit correctly cautions that the repair is "Very Difficult," involving lots of delicate parts, and, at one stage, requiring a hair dryer and an oven mitt to remove adhesive from the iPod's metal frame. What iFixit doesn't tell you is how fascinating it is to crack open this remarkable and densely packed little gadget, or the satisfaction of repairing your own stuff.

To inspire others who may be considering a similar repair, I've put together a video and slideshow featuring some highlights of the repair.

 

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