Blogs, Modeling

iPhone screen repair

In Broken phone! we tell the story of how Paula dropped her phone and shattered her screen.  In that post, we discussed how we could use this situation in order to create a story that would help get students’ attention before discussing a related topic.  The topic I was most interested in was the topic that was most relevant to me, what do I do now?


In order to determine what to do about the broken phone, I wanted to determine what my options were.  The first option I noted, was to ignore the problem and let Paula deal with it, or just let the screen go unrepaired.  However, I clearly could not do that, so I continued on with my plan of making a list.  These are the options I thought of

  • Leave the screen broken and let Paula use it as is. (This is distinct from above because I am going to at least consider other options.
  • Buy a new phone.
  • Take the phone to the Apple store to get it fixed.
  • Find another location to repair the screen.
  • Order a replacement screen and repair it myself.

Fore each of these, I’ll make a table listing the pros and cons of each and try to assign a value of each.

Leave Broken

No added cost for materials or time Have to deal with a broken screen equivalent cost of  $.50 per day.
Cost $180

Even though dealing with a broken phone wouldn’t have an actual monetary cost, it would stress Paula out having to look at a broken phone and being reminded of breaking it.  I chose the $.50 based off the idea that, if I had to choose between looking at a broken screen or paying a daily fee, what would the fee be that I would be indifferent to the choice.  This, of course, is subjective, so every individual would have their own value.  Now, since we bought Paula’s phone on an installment program, it would be another year before we would be likely to get a new phone.  This puts the total cost at approximately $180.

Buy a new phone

Here the benefits and costs are fairly straight forward.

Phone is no longer broken, little effort to replace. Have to pay for new phone  $250
Cost $250

Here, there would be little effort involved. I went on Amazon and found the lowest priced iPhone 6s (her current model) that was unlocked to ensure it worked with our carrier. We would have then had to wait less than 2 days.

Bring the phone to Apple to get fixed

Phone would be repaired. Don’t have to search for store that would fix it. Have to pay Apple’s repair cost \(\approx\) $200. Would have to wait around to get it fixed. 2 hours at $30/hour
Cost $260

Paula indeed called the Apple store near us, and the $200 in the price the quoted for repairing the screen. The $30/hour waiting is a subjective value. The thought process here is that I would have to sit around in a store and not do things I’d like to do. Namely, I’d like to be spending time with Paula and Artie. $30/hour is about what you’d have to pay me in order to make giving up this time even remotely worthwhile. The 2 hours is an approximation of time I’ve had to spend driving to and from the Apple store and waiting to get helped (with an appointment).

Bring the phone elsewhere to get fixed

Phone would be repaired. Need to find a reliable store to bring phone to, then pay their repair costs (unknown). Would have to wait around to get it fixed. 2 hours at $30/hour
Cost $140

I used the same time for repair and value of my time as I did when planning for going to the Apple store in order to make things convenient. On the other hand, I could spend a lot of time trying to find the store that has the lowest cost, or I could attempt to find something quickly. In each of these cases I have different time and repair costs associated. For this example, I will go with the first store I found was batteries plus. I’ve had good experiences with them when purchasing my motorcycle batteries, so I hoped this would work out fine. The cost for getting the repair done here is $90 (prices here). With the $10 off for scheduling online, I would have a cost of $80 for the repair. Since, it was the first place I found, the search took me under a minute, so I won’t include time cost for that part. This then puts my total cost at $140 including travel and wait time.

Fix it myself

I have never fixed a phone screen before, but it was an option to consider.

Save on repair cost. Get to learn something new. Have to spend time learning something new and repairing the phone, potentially break phone.
Cost $127.50

Since I hadn’t fixed a phone screen before, I really didn’t know how long it would take me or what the likelihood of me breaking the phone more and having to buy a new one would be. Therefore, I looked up what I could online to approximate this. While there are plenty of videos on Youtube of people doing this repair in under five-minutes, I made the more practical estimate of 2 hours. I also added in the hour I spent trying to watch such videos, find better guides and decipher what was going on. I decided that my favorite tutorial was on iFixit. While videos are great at showing everything, I don’t like having to watch everything that is done to the phone. In a write up, you can jump ahead, or look back, depending on the parts you need most help with. You may not feel this way, but it is my preference. I fairly quickly found a replacement screen on Amazon,

This gives us a total of 3 hours of time and $25 in parts costs. While, I have no idea to the actual likelihood I would break the phone in the process, I assumed a 5% chance of this, giving an expected cost of .05*250=12.50. That is the probability of having to buy a new phone multiplied by the cost of doing so.


In comparing the costs associated with each of the options, including assigning a monetary value to time, the best option ended up being that I should fix the phone myself.  Even those this was riskier than the other options (since I may break the phone) it was still the lowest cost accounting for the risk.  However, getting the phone repaired at Batteries Plus was a very close second.  If we would have been closer to being able to replace the phone, just leaving it could have worked out.  With a year left before we would want to replace the phone, however, this ended up not being a great option.  As a further note, buying a new phone or bringing the phone to Apple to get repaired where in the fact the worst options, by a significant amount.

I did indeed decide to attempt to fix the phone myself.  I didn’t immediately decide to, since bringing it to Batteries Plus was a pretty enticing option.  In the end, I was persuaded more by the fact that I would get to attempt to do something I haven’t done before.  Since I enjoy playing with computer and electronics, I thought it could turn out to be a fairly pleasant experience.  In case you are wondering, it took me about 2 hours to fix the phone.  However, most of this time was spent trying to get the tiny screws into place, or finding them when I dropped them on the floor.  The phone now works great, but it is missing a few of those tiny screws…

If you are facing this same situation, I would at least consider doing the repairs yourself.  The process isn’t that difficult, but the first time through is time consuming.  Any subsequent attempts should go much faster, so it will help even more if this is a common problem for you.  Even if you decide to go another route, I hope the analysis helped provide insight into the your decision making process and what types of things you can consider when making decisions.  If you enjoyed the post, make sure to like it below or share on Social Media.

As a further note, the screen replacement worked great. If you need one, follow the link above to get it. If you don’t have to worry about that yet, I would highly recommend getting a case and screen protector. I really like the Otterbox cases, and I have listed the one I use below (I have the iPhone 7).

We'd love to hear your thoughts!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.