Apple iPads aren't cheap, and neither is getting one's screen repaired. Apple's one-year warranty doesn't cover accidental damage, so unless your iPad's screen has a hairline crack due to defective glass (and no obvious sign of drop impact), get ready to bust out your credit card.
Here's everything you need to know about getting an Apple iPad screen fixed.
Have Apple fix it
Getting your screen replaced by Apple is pretty cheap -- if you have AppleCare.
AppleCare costs $99 dollars for two years and it covers two incidents of accidental damage for a $49 service fee. It's available upon purchase, but you also have 60 days after purchase to buy it.
If you don't have AppleCare, it will cost about the price of a new (refurbished) iPad to fix your screen. Apple charges anywhere from $199 to $599 (plus tax) to fix a broken iPad screen, depending on the model. That's a lot, especially compared to $129 to $149 to.
If you can't get to an Apple store, you can mail your device to Apple for a shipping fee of $6.95.
Have a third party fix it
There are other places to get your iPad screen fixed, but choosing a non-Apple repair shop will void your warranty. And yes, Apple can tell if a non-Apple employee has opened up your iPad. But if you're out of warranty anyway, there's a number of third-party Apple repair places that can fix your iPad's shattered screen.
When you're shopping around for a good repair company, there are a few questions you'll want to ask before handing over your device:
- How much will it cost?
- How long will it take?
- What type of warranty do you offer?
- Where do they get their replacement parts from?
Since the third-party company will be voiding your Apple warranty, you want to make sure they'll stand behind their work and parts -- the last thing you want is a crack-free but defective screen.
Local mom-and-pop computer repair stores (yes, they still exist) are often a good place to try for a third-party repair. Just check for reviews and get a solid quote up-front. We recently profiled a handful of independent computer shops in New York, many of which specialize in Apple repairs.
You can find glass replacement kits and dense DIY tutorials online that show you how to fix your iPad screen yourself, but trust us, you don't want to do this yourself.
Replacing the glass is much more difficult than replacing the entire touchscreen, because you will need to separate the glass from the touchscreen and then glue the new piece of glass onto the old touchscreen. That's something you should leave to professionals.
If you really want to give it a shot, keep in mind that a touchscreen replacement kit, including the LCD screen and digitizer, can cost between $30 and $400, depending on which components you need and the model. We haven't tested these replacement parts ourselves and do not recommend it.
Plus, with the DIY approach, you will void your warranty and have nobody but yourself to blame if something goes wrong. Replacing the screen will cost you as much, if not more, than simply taking your device to the Apple store.
Deal with it
If you're short on cash, or are simply dealing with a small crack, you can also try to make the best of what you got.
It won't look pretty, but you don't need to replace your screen when it cracks. If the cracks are around the edges of the screen and don't interfere with actually using the phone, or if you have one or two large cracks that run across the screen, a glass screen protector such as Zagg's glass screen protector ($30-$50) so you don't cut your fingers as you swipe.
(If your screen is absolutely shattered, a glass screen protector will keep you from getting cut, but your iPad may still be unusable.)