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iPhone 5 repairs won't come cheap

Fixing a busted iPhone screen can cost a pretty penny. And, it appears that repairs for each iteration of the device are getting more expensive.

iPhone 5 repairs can cost more than other models of the device.
Bill Detwiler/CNET

It's happened to a lot of people -- their iPhone drops from their hands, falls off their lap, plunks into a toilet, or gets knocked off a table.

Showing off a cracked iPhone screen is sometimes almost a point of pride. I have one friend who lovingly calls his damaged phone "The Hurt Locker," referring to the 2008 movie about a bomb disposal team working during the Iraq War.

But, many of these damaged iPhones cease to work after going through various mishaps. That's when repairs come into play -- and, they're not cheap.

Currently, Apple charges up to $229 to replace a broken screen on an iPhone 5, according to MarketWatch. That's quite a lot considering a new phone on contract goes for $200 and without contract $650. If iPhone 5 owners have the $99 AppleCare warranty, a screen replacement is $49.

It seems that repair prices are on the rise. Two years ago Apple charged $199 to fix a busted screen. Since the device was first introduced in 2007, damaged iPhones have cost Americans $5.9 billion -- with one third of owners breaking their devices every year, according to a survey last September by gadget warranty firm SquareTrade.

Despite Apple now charging more to repair the iPhone 5, several teardown and repair sites have said that this iteration of the device is the easiest to repair.

The iPhone 5 is opened front-to-back so "replacing a cracked screen is going to be easier than ever," said UMB TechInsights when the device debuted last September. "Compare this to the iPhone 4S, where it took 38 steps to isolate the display assembly."

So, what gives for the high cost of repairs?

Apparently, the replacement parts for the iPhone 5 are far more expensive than earlier models. In fact, they're so costly that some independent fix-it shops refuse to do iPhone 5 repairs, according to MarketWatch.

"Apple controls everything from the manufacturing to the gear for the iPhone 5," editor at deal site Jeff Haynes told MarketWatch. "Apple is trying to get people to sign up for Apple Care for $99 and to rely on their services at the Apple store. If you don't, that cracked screen could cost you at least $230."

CNET contacted Apple for comment. We'll update the story when we get more information.

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