Cracks in phone screens are fairly common, even though newer models come in tougher materials. Most people carry their phones with them all day long, so accidents are often unavoidable. If you use an expensive iPhone, then a screen crack can be incredibly disheartening. Fortunately, it's unlikely that a cracked screen means the end of your phone.
Understanding Your Phone's Screen
Smartphone designers try to ensure that your phone feels like a single, cohesive device, but the screen contains several separate elements. The top glass surface provides the smooth tactile experience you've come to love, but it's a largely cosmetic element. Below the glass is the digitizer. This electronic component reads and translates input from your touches. The lowest layer is the display itself.
The LCD panel works just like a computer monitor, and it can technically function even if the glass and digitizer are damaged. On many older phones, each layer was distinct and replaceable on its own. Newer iPhones use a laminated display to reduce the device's overall thickness and improve the screen's appearance.
While laminated displays offer numerous advantages, it's rarely possible to replace a single component. A crack in the phone's glass often means you'll need to replace the digitizer and display panel, even if they still seem to function fine. Although some shops can refurbish broken screens by removing the damaged glass, this is rarely part of a typical repair process.
Repairing a Laminated Screen
Although you usually cannot replace just the glass on your phone, you can still salvage the device. First, make sure that the device still seems to operate correctly. In most cases, the digitizer will still function even with a cracked glass layer, but be careful not to cut your fingers. Check to ensure that your phone isn't suffering from any other odd behavior, as this may indicate damage to the internal electronics.
If your phone seems to be working, then a qualified repair shop can replace the glass, digitizer, and LCD panel as a single unit. Prices for this procedure can vary, but you can expect to spend more to replace the screen on more recent models due to the larger size and more advanced touchscreens. Since most shops will replace the screen as one unit, they will also repair any damage to the digitizer or display.
In most cases, consider working with iPhone repair services. Modern phones are delicate devices, and disassembly often involves using a heat gun to pry apart glued parts. Mistakes in this process can result in additional and potentially much more costly damage. Trusting experts can help you return your phone to flawless condition.