It used to be that parents would encourage their kids to do arts and crafts projects. Now they're making them fix their cracked iPhone screens.
Just ask Brett, who you last saw. He's my 10-year-old nephew, and his father put him to work recently to fix his cracked iPhone 3GS screen, which was apparently caused by an encounter with a set of keys. To be clear, the cracked portion you're looking at--see photos below--is only the protective layer of glass that sits on top of the LCD, not the LCD itself (replacing a cracked LCD is a much bigger problem). In this case, the iPhone was working perfectly fine, it was just blemished.
As some of you may already be aware, even if it is just the top layer of glass, fixing a cracked screen at an Apple store starts at $200, which seems rather outrageous. But if you're adventurous, you can fix it yourself for a lot less. Is it easy? I wouldn't call it dead simple, but if a 10-year-old can do it, you can, and there are lots of how-to videos available that show you step-by-step how to do it. A good place to start is 3gcrackedglass.com; and our own Donald Bell (pun intended).
Brett did the whole thing for a little more than $20, but you can do it for even cheaper, depending on where and from whom you buy your kit. The five small tools in the first photo with Brett were all sent with the replacement screen, as was the replacement precut double-stick 3M tape to affix the new screen to the body of the iPhone. Total cost of screen, with tools and tape plus shipping and handling, was $21.95. Brett's father notes that he chose the seller because he had "very good comments and was in New York, so I knew I would get it quick."
The only missing tool was the all-important suction cup to lift the front section of the iPhone out of the back once you remove the first two screws on the bottom. Most any suction cup will do, though you don't want one that extends over the sides of the iPhone (the suction cup that was used was requisitioned from a mount that affixes a Bluetooth speakerphone to a car windshield).
The whole operation took about 40 minutes. Brett's father pocketed the $178.05 in savings, and claims he'll put it toward the boy's future college tuition. A likely story.
As always, feel free to comment.
Disclaimer: The Shanghai Mahjong game on the screen in one of the slides is made by MobileAge, which makes iPhone and iPad games. Brett's father is the founder of MobileAge.