A cracked smart phone or tablet device is an all too common occurrence these days. The gorgeous iPad Retina that I got for my mom last year got well acquainted with Mr. Pavement several months back. She had dropped her bag where she had the iPad and screen cracked. The damage was bad but not so bad that it rendered the device unusable. The LCD was undamaged, and it seemed only the screen (i.e. the digitizer screen) was affected. Having applied some scotch tape, she was able to continue to use it, albeit it was quite ugly and the cracks gradually expanded over time.
As with anything, there are several options when one looks to get something like this fixed. Option 1) Go to the Apple store and spend close to $300 to get it repaired. (Yikes!); Option 2) Go to a specialist (either local or mail it in) and have it repaired for $120-$250… for option 3) get the parts and DIY. Guess which route I took? :)
Here’s a run through of how it was done. Here you see the cracks before the repair. iPad took a hit on the corner and you can see the screen crack was quite bad.
This happened to be an iPad 3rd generation Retina. iFixit had a very good guide and they sell an excellent iPad screen repair kit but it’s quite high end and is around $100. Another vendor call iPadscreenrepair.com (http://www.ipadscreenrepair.com/) was less expensive and they were kind enough to sell a similar but less convenient repair kit for $69. They also give their customers a repair guide as well as a video for showing how it’s done. Alternatively, if you rather have them do it, you could also send it to them and they would do it for $120. I opted for their repair kit. Now you can go even cheaper, I’ve seen repair kits on Amazon for as low as $28 or less, but they are going to be crappy (poor screen quality). Another vendor I would recommend is eParts for iPads (http://www.etechparts.com/Parts-for-iPad-s/312.htm) They have a different quality screen digitizers. Their premium one is the iBic series (higher quality screen) and I actually highly recommend that. Even though I went with one level cheaper, if I had to do it all over again I go with the iBic screen with all the parts and adhesive already applied. Nonetheless, the middle of the road screen I got was decent enough and one can’t tell the difference under normal use.
Open sesame, old cracked digitizer screen is removed revealing the LCD. LCD screen is then removed to reveal the batteries and components (exciting stuff here). I felt a bit like a surgeon here.
Detach the old digitizer screen cable. Attach the new digitizer screen cable. Test, test, test, test, test, and test… Okay everything works. Put it back together with the new adhesive. I won’t bore you with the details. You can get that out of iFixit or the repair guide that I used with iPadscreenrepair. I had to use some vices and the hair dryer again to activate the new adhesive and to get to bond to the new screen better.
And there you have it the finished result. It’s not perfect like the original (if you really scrutinize it, I wasn’t able to repair the scratch/damage on the aluminum body on the lower right corner)… but it’s 97%. It did take me a while (~3.5 hours). Let me know what you think.