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.