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Technology

Best Ways to Fix a Cracked Screen on Your Mobile Device

Cracked screen? We found the most reliable ways to get your phone fixed.

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The screen on your mobile device may be its most fragile component. “More than 90% of the repairs we do are screen replacements,” says Jack Murphy, vice-president of communications for iCracked, which repairs mobile devices.

See Also: Do You Need Insurance for Your Smart Phone?

So how do you get your phone fixed? You can hire a professional, usually the phone’s manufacturer or a third-party repairer. Or you can buy the necessary parts and tools, take a deep breath, and do it yourself.

The easiest solution is to go back to the manufacturer. For example, Apple charges about $130 for the iPhone 5 and iPhone 6 Plus models, and $110 for the iPhone 6. Start by taking the phone to an Apple Store or authorized repairer to see how quickly it can be fixed. (For a list of authorized repair shops, go to https://locate.apple.com.) Otherwise, you will have to mail it in, which means you will be separated from your phone for three to five business days. Can’t live without your phone that long? With Apple’s Express Replacement Service ($29 extra), the company will mail you a loaner.

HTC, which makes Android smartphones, offers one free cracked-screen replacement in the first six months post-purchase. Samsung’s mail-in screen-replacement service takes seven business days and costs $150 for a Galaxy S4 or S5. But Samsung is rolling out a chain of walk-in centers where you will be able to get a screen replaced in an hour or less for the same price. Two stores are open in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and a third in Los Angeles, with more locations expected soon. (For other authorized repair shops, call Samsung’s support line, 800-726-7864.)

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Third-party repairers. Alternatively, you could take your phone to a third party. Werx, which does RadioShack’s repairs, promises a 72-hour turnaround and offers a limited lifetime warranty. It charges $120 to $130 to repair an iPhone 5 model, $50 to $250 for an HTC phone, and a whopping $300 to $350 for a Samsung Galaxy S4 or S5. If you go with a third party, make sure it guarantees its work, says Ed Kuhner, vice-president of customer experience for HTC Americas.

ICracked specializes in on-site repair of Apple mobile devices and Samsung Galaxy series phones. Its 800-plus “iTechs” are scattered across the U.S. and will come to you. They can usually swap out a screen in less than an hour, says Murphy. The majority of iCracked’s repairs cost $100 to $110, and the parts come with a lifetime warranty.

Beware of anyone who offers to replace the screen for $50 or less. The odds are good you’ll get substandard parts, says Kuhner. “It may be a new piece of glass, but you don’t know what kind of glass it is.”

The DIY approach. You could save a few bucks by doing the repair yourself. IFixit, a maker of do-it-yourself tech-repair kits and guides, sells an iPhone 5S screen-repair kit for $90, which is $20 to $40 less than Apple’s repair fee. But screen-replacement surgery is not for everyone; it is a delicate procedure involving numerous tiny screws and parts.

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And if your handset is several years old, it may be cost-efficient to skip the repair and buy a new phone. “It may not just be the screen that was damaged. There could be other problems that you weren’t aware of,” says Laura Estepan, general manager at the Best Buy Mobile Specialty Store in Manhattan’s Union Square.