If you one hop your iPhone or Touch, you will most likely pick up a device that is fine. I have actually been amazed at some of the bounces our devices have survived. One time in the line to put my things in the airport security bins my iPhone tumbled out and walked all the way past the security scanner. On the other side we had a phone drop from knee hight and we picked up it up with a broken screen.
If a break happens in your future, there are a few options. Best Buy has a Warranty option. Apple offers replacement on manufacture defects. Otherwise, you can buy a remanufactured device with trade in for a little off of buying a new. You could always buy a new device and extend your ATT service contract.
In the case of a broken screen… you could replace it yourself. The parts, the tools and the instructions are all readily available. You will be working with sharp little pieces of broken glass, little connectors, little screws, tight rubber gaskets, and… well, you get the idea. Apple wont be accepting the device back as a trade in if they think you opened the device. All these negatives, why would anyone risk it? Apple previously loved replacement units are around $250 vs a replacement screen is $69.
Because of this, many folks I know on a budget come knocking on my door for help when they back their car over their iPhone and end up with a spidered screen.
I will list tools (the good ones and ones that I have had issues with), tips and things to watch out for, online instructions and finally a few places to get parts from.
Step one… buy a Spudger. Their three bucks, use the right tools for the job!! You may have read that people use a putty knife, while those work great for opening your MacMini, they don’t work for iPhones.
There are Spudger options. All of the tools I list can be found from many different sources if you search a little – the sources I have listed here are the ones I have bought from so their links are handy for me.
Professional fiber units are readily available – this one is from over at iFixIt.
Metal versions are also available. These may last longer but they also raise your risk of scratching the hardware or cutting the outer rubber screen seal… also available at iFixIt.
Very popular are the plastic spudger… I have had good luck with these when working on a iPod music player but they have proven to fold or break when working on the tight fit of an iPhone / Touch.
These are available via iFitIt… but I have found most people buy these in a kit made it China via eBay or directly from Brando.
Different from the music/video iPod line, the iPhone and Touch need a philips screwdriver too. You do not need anything fancy, there are only two screws. If you want a stand alone high quality one, iFixIt again has the upper end for $5.
I have found more than a dozen quickie instructions online. Back to iFixIt… they have instructions with many images to replace just about anything in your iPhone or Touch (well, actually they have instructions for just about anything Apple produces). Here is a link to the 3G iPhone guide.
A few tips for you to concider…
After you remove the lower screws,start the prying at the bottom edge of the screen. Understand that you are fighting agains a seal around the outer edge of the screen assembly that fits under the outer edge of the iPhone face. When you do succeed and start lifting up the screen, be mindful of the connectors along the upper edge of the screen and how they connect to the circuit boards. These may just pop off, but are very easy to connect (snap into place) when your finished – in the beginning your watching for which one goes where.
When removing the screen from the outer lip assembly (assuming your replacing a broken screen), use a hair dryer to heat up the double sided take between the screen and frame (around the ear piece and Home button). Repalcement special cut adhesive tape is available online for $6 – find it and buy it… trying to reuse is not the best use of your time!!
When your putting the unit back together again, watch out that you don’t pinch the screen outer lip rubber seal – it is very easy to do. Resulting in either the face not seating all the way flush or a small part of the seal poking out.
Parts? Oh yes… several places that I have purchased parts from: