Uh-oh. You Broke Your iPad Screen. Now What?

iPad broken screen

Today, 40Tech is pleased to present a guest post from Donal James.

An iPad without a functioning digitizer screen is pretty much worthless. Unfortunately the screen is a fragile component that is easily damaged. Even a fall of a few feet is usually enough to shatter the delicate glass.

Damaged or broken digitizer screens are one of the most common problems encountered by iPad users. According to warranty company SquareTrade, ten percent of iPad 2 owners reported damaging their iPads within the first 12 months of ownership, with the number increasing to 20% within the first two years of ownership. Many times when the touch screen becomes cracked or broken, the LCD screen beneath is unharmed. If that’s the case, you don’t need a new iPad – you just need to replace the digitizer screen.

There are several options when it comes to dealing with a broken digitizer screen:


Buy a new iPad

iPads aren’t cheap. And there really isn’t anything wrong with the one you’ve got, except that the screen is damaged. If you can afford this option fine, if not – read on!


Take your damaged iPad back to Apple

This is probably the easiest way to handle the problem – return the iPad to the Apple Store for a replacement. However, there seems to be no consistent policy from Apple in the case of a broken digitizer screen. According to Apple warranty information posted on their site, the following types of damage are not covered by their warranty: Damage caused by accident, abuse, misuse, liquid contact, fire, earthquake or other external cause; and defects caused by normal wear and tear or otherwise due to the normal aging of the Apple Product.

However, if you drop in on a few of the iPad forums you’ll see several different stories from posters about how Apple actually handles this issue, ranging from replacing the broken iPad with a new one for free, no questions asked, to charging several hundred dollars for a new screen. One poster even said they were told they had to buy a new iPad! The most common recommendation seemed to be: if you don’t like what they tell you at one Apple store, take it to another Apple store! (Editor’s note: when I had a non-screen related issue with my iPad, and took it to the Apple store, they did make a record of what was done, so I’m not sure whether shopping around would work or not).


Take your iPad to a third party repair shop

If you don’t want to deal with Apple, you can take your iPad to a third party repair shop. Since broken digitizer screens are a fairly common problem, you shouldn’t have any difficulty in locating a repair shop that can provide the service you need. There are local brick and mortar shops as well as online repair sites that can fix you screen good as new. A short online search will turn up the names of several repair shops that specialize in repairing broken digitizer screens.

Before you turn over your precious iPad to a complete stranger, do a little research. For instance, is the shop an Apple Authorized Service Provider? Even if your iPad isn’t under warranty, this is a good sign that the people working on your iPad know what they’re doing. Get an estimate before work begins. Also, prices for this service can vary greatly, especially when it comes to shipping costs. If you’re looking to save a little money on the bill, a local drop off shop may be your best choice.


Do it yourself

Many people don’t know it, but you can replace a digitizer screen yourself. There are many companies sell OEM replacement digitizer screens; you can usually get one for under a hundred dollars.

If you’re looking to save money this is the way to go. Replacing a damaged digitizer screen is a fairly straight forward DIY project requiring only a few simple tools and about forty five minutes to complete. Disconnecting the old screen and connecting the new one takes about ten seconds; most of the forty five minutes will be spent opening and resealing the iPad, which is the most difficult part of the procedure. Of course, if you screw up, you’ve got no one to blame but yourself.



It doesn’t matter how the digitizer screen became damaged; the important thing is getting it fixed, right? Whether you have a damaged screen or just lie awake nights trembling at the thought, isn’t it good to know you have several options available when it comes to dealing with this tragedy? Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages. You’ll have to decide which one is right for you. But the result will be the same: your iPad will be good as new!

Guest author Donal James is an internet content specialist working for ScreenTek Inc, a Houston based company that specializes in providing OEM replacement iPad, iPad 2 and iPad 3 digitizer touch screens.


  1. I vote for the Apple Store or a 3rd Party Repair person (I’ve even seen kiosks in the mall who do this.)

    Just last month I tried the “inexpensive” option of repairing my wife’s cracked screen myself. I bought a new digitizer thingy on ebay for about $15, watched a few videos on youtube showing me how to do it, and went to work. What they don’t mention is just how delicate some of the inside pieces are, and how sticky the glue holding it all together is. I ended up breaking a different, much more important piece in the process of fixing the cheap piece.

    Today, several hundred dollars later, my wife loves her new iphone 4s. Doh!

  2. “For instance, is the shop an Apple Authorized Service Provider? Even if your iPad isn’t under warranty, this is a good sign that the people working on your iPad know what they’re doing. ”

    AHEM, There are NO authorized service providers for iPads or iPhones.

  3. Truly speaking I had once faced this problem but I had done the insurance for it earlier and thankfully I could change it…

    Thanks for sharing the problem though….

  4. Only one thing id like to note, that if your dealing with apple after already buying the applecare protection plan, its only $50.00 to replace it with another. It is $50.00 everytime you break it, but thats another pheasable option that tends to be slightly economical in the long run.

  5. My question is if I take my Ipad to a third party to repair, will I loose all my apps? Just asking because I took my broken ipod a while back and they rebooted the ipod and I was wondering if they will do it to my ipad as well?

  6. Why can’t Apple just puck fricken’ Gorilla Glass on this thing? Why is it so delicate, that it breaks, even when it’s protected by a cover? You would think that such an expensive piece of hardware would be more durable, but no, it’s just Apple ripping you off with a piece of crap hardware.

    • Honestly that is so mature if you looked at different cases you would see there are pretty good ones out there and I know this sounds childish, but I would like to see you make something better.

      • Michael edwards

        They can make stronger glass this is just a comparison but look at stuff like a psp or a dsi they can be dropped for higher up and not break

    • Michael edwards

      They make the screen not ass strong because they want to make money. It’s built to be broken in a way because they know the can make money off it breaking.

    • They do have gorilla glass in it lol

  7. I think you make it sound too easy when it comes to DIY projects. The iPad is a very delicate device. Just a few searches on the internet reveals many problems independent repair shops are having where the digitizer replacement goes fine but something else goes wrong (most notably the backlight!).

    I would urge people to choose the right independent computer repair shop. Choosing someone with a good reputation and ideally someone local to you, so if you do have any issues, you can go back to them with no hassle.

    Oh, the iPad mini is definitely not a DIY project!

  8. How expensive will it prove if I take my iPad back to apple or a third party repair shop?

  9. My daughter took her iPad 3rd generation back to the apple store, and they said they would not fix it, and they would charge her $300 for a new one. I have seen the glass for $50 and I have seen repairs for about $90-$120 depending on who does it.

  10. i broke my iPad and went to the store and they gave me a brand new one for half the cost of a new one.

  11. I know apple charge £220 for a replacement iPad but i know of a place where you can get it done cheaper. Repairs UK offer iPad repairs at competitive prices.


  12. contact local repair service provider within your own area. this will be cheaper option for repairing service.

  13. Great info! BUT i found a local repair shop (www.elitetechrepairs.com) and they did an amazing job. I dont like the fact that apple gives me a refurbish unit once I paid for the replacement. Who knows what happened with those refurbished units. For those who are in Miami, FL you should check them out!

  14. Nice post . thanks for sharing with us . We are known as for iPad repair and replacement. If you want to repair your iPad so you can directly contact with us.

  15. AppStore remembers all your app purchases and will let you download everything again. Or you can back up your ipad on icloud or on your computer.

    • Th his a other problem wit my iPad air 3 it’s training to update and fix it because I forget my screen locker and now I connect tho iTunes there I sent space imouf for doling the backup on my device can you help me wiry that may by I am a rookie whit iPad jou now

  16. Thank you very much!! Im so grateful for the answer. I acidentally step on my brothers ipad and it broke and i dunt know what to do. Actually it gave me hope that the ipad can be fixed. Thanks

  17. I have a broken I-Pad. It goes into apps that a don’t like it. I go into a app and it writes down things it gets out of apps when I just got into them. I have tried to get someone to fix it. I went to the Apple Store in Adelaide and they said they couldn’t fix it.

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