So you just dropped your iPhone 3G/3GS/4 and the glass shattered / cracked / broke? Take a deep breath, it’s fixable. I created this site after dropping my iPhone 3G and having the glass shatter. I will walk you through how to get it fixed and how much it will cost.
If your glass display is cracked / broken but your iPhone 3G/3GS/4 still functions properly and your LCD still works, then what you need is a new glass display and digitizer. You can either repair the glass display yourself or send it in for repair.
Quick Links:$179 - Have someone else repair my iPhone 4
$79 - Have someone else repair my iPhone (Original, 3G, 3GS)
$49 - Repair my iPhone 3G myself
Is my broken iPhone 3G/3GS/4 covered under warranty?
No, a broken glass display on the iPhone 3G/3GS/4 is not covered under the limited 1 year Apple warranty. Neither are you covered if bought the Apple Care Protection Plan for you iPhone 3G/3GS/4.
“Apple's Limited Warranty for iPhone excludes coverage for damage resulting from accident, disassembly, unauthorized service and unauthorized modifications. Please review the warranty for further details. An iPhone that has failed due to damage resulting from accident, disassembly, unauthorized service, or unauthorized modifications is not eligible for warranty service, however, your iPhone may be eligible for Out-of-Warranty (OOW) Service if the damage is repairable.” – iPhone Service FAQ
How much will it cost to fix my iPhone 3G/3GS?
Repairing your iPhone 3G/3GS broken glass is going to cost you between $49 to $299 dollars to fix, depending on how you go about it. Your options are:
$199 - $299: Have Apple fix it
$79 - $150: Have it fixed by a repair company
$49 - $99: Repair the iPhone 3G yourself
Have Apple fix your iPhone 3G ($199 - $299):
Since the glass is cracked, you will only qualify for Apple’s iPhone 3G Out-of-Warranty Service. This will cost you $199 to fix an 8GB iPhone, and $299 to fix a 16GB iPhone 3G. You may go into an Apple Store or call Apple Customer Support to initiate this service.
Have a repair company repair your iPhone 3G/3GS ($79 - $150):
There are a lot of companies that let you mail in your iPhone 3G for them to fix. You may even find someone in your area on Craigslist that will fix it while you wait. These services generally cost between $89 and $150. This is before shipping costs, which generally range from $10 to $30 depending on your desired turnaround time. If you don't feel confident in your ability to repair the phone yourself, I recommend having a third party repair it. Some familiar names in iPhone 3G repair are: Mission Repair, Rapid Repair, Milliamp LTD, Dropped My iPhone, iPodParts, PDA Smart, and iResQ.
Repair your iPhone 3G yourself ($49 - $99):
You can purchase a new glass display with digitizer online to do the repair yourself. Keep in mind, you need the glass display AND digitizer. You may see a glass display for sale for under $30, these do not come with digitizers and will be of no help to you. This repair is fairly advanced and should only be done by those who are confident in their techy, fix-it abilities.
You can buy the parts you need online. I bought my glass display with digitizer from Mission Repair. They include the adhesive strips you will need to attach the display to the frame. This is very important. Otherwise you would need to glue the piece to the frame yourself and risk damaging the LCD.
You can use a razor blade or guitar pick to pry the phone apart, but I would recommend getting a pry tool for iPhone repair. They go for pretty cheap (under $4) online. I picked mine up from PDA Parts. You may also try using a small suction cup to help you lift the glass off the frame.
UPDATE (12/4/08): You can view a rough draft of my iPhone 3G glass + digitizer repair tutorial below (No sound/narration, needs some touching up). I should have the finished version up as soon as I get my hands on a new mic and can add some narration and final editing. Some parts may be confusing without the narration. But if you have any specific questions, you can drop me an email by using the contact form here.
UPDATE (11/17/09): Mission Repair is offering their mail-in repair service for only $89 (normally $99).
UPDATE (4/14/10): 3gcrackedglass.com got mentioned by The New York Times!
Protecting your newly repaired iPhone 3G:
The pain of breaking the iPhone once is enough to give in to using a case. Originally, I refused to use a case as I don’t like anything bulky around my phone. My compromise is using a case which is extremely thin but still offers great protection, along with a screen shield.
I ended up going with the front coverage invisibleShield by ZAGG to protect the glass from scratches. I coupled this with the matte finish Slider Case by Incase. If you are known for giving your phone a really rough time, you may be better suited looking for a full enclosure or rubberized case. For me, the combination of the invisibleShield and the Slider Case offered me the best balance between slim/unobtrusive and protection.
UPDATE (11/17/09): After using the Incase Slider Case for about a year now (the one with the matte finish, not gloss), it is starting to show a little bit of wear. About a month ago the matte finish started chipping off in some spots showing a glossy surface underneath. That being said, it still looks decent, and I still haven't come across another case that I like better than that one. They have a bamboo version now, I may try that one and see how it goes.
Good luck repairing your iPhone 3G!
*The video and written repair tutorials are meant for educational purposes only and are Copyright (c) 2008 3G Cracked Glass All rights reserved. By viewing these videos and following the provided directions, 3G Cracked Glass is not responsible for any damage caused to yourself or your unit.