We’ve all done it. You lose control of your phone and suddenly turn into a master juggler for a brief second. Everything is going well, you’ve almost caught it and prevented a crack, but then you launch into acrobatics trying to catch it, just to miss it completely – as you watch it fly in slow motion towards the ground – of course, it’s face down. 

You cringe and say a little prayer, “Please don’t let my screen be broken.” But deep down, you know this won’t be pretty. 

You pick it up slowly, turning it over with your eyes closed, and it’s ok. You let out a big sigh of relief. But that’s not always what happens. As we all know, this is the best-case scenario when you drop your phone. But, we are here to handle the worst-case scenario. What should you do when your screen cracks? 

Sometimes a crack appears, webbing spreads over the phone, or the screen starts to discolor. The worst-case scenario is when you can’t see anything but a collection of multi-colored pixels. 

In these situations, tons of questions come running through your head as you frantically realize you need this phone to do just about anything in the modern world, and that having a broken screen is a massive inconvenience to your daily routine. Undoubtedly, you start asking: 

  • So what should I do? 
  • How do you know how bad the damage really is? 
  • Is it worth repairing or should you chalk it up to a loss and replace the device?

In this guide, we will discuss everything you need to know about screen cracks, how to fix them, if it is worth it, and what steps to take next in your situation. But, before we do that, it is important that you have an understanding of what screen damage really is.  

First, a friendly PSA: Cracked phone screens happen to everyone. But most people don’t get their phone protected to account for this damage. At Glyde, we offer plans to protect the phone you already own. It won’t save your cracked phone, but it’s a smart purchase with your new phone to solve this problem in the future.

What Is Screen Damage? – The 3 Main Types of Damaged Screens

There are really three major types of screen damage:

  • Glass damage 
  • LCD damage
  • Component damage

1. Glass Damage 

Screens are a sandwich of glass with various functions between each layer. The top layer is a glass shield, protecting the components underneath, but allowing you to interface with the phone. When the screen is cracked or webbed, but the picture underneath is still active, you have probably only broken the top layer.

You do need to be careful when this happens. Even though the phone is usable and none of the internal components are damaged, the glass can be sharp and cut you. If you decide not fix the glass, you need to place a screen protector on the surface. This will hold the glass in place, as well as protecting your face and fingers from razor-sharp cuts.

If you have an iPhone, Apple does not cover physical damage to phones even if you have Apple Care. If you want it fixed, you will need to cover the cost, however having Apple Care will give you a discount on the repair.

2. LCD Damage 

You’ve probably heard the term before when talking about TVs or new phone screen features, but aren’t quite sure what it means. LCD means Liquid Crystal Display. This is where the electronics interface with the screen and projects the programs that run your phone to the screen. If the LCD stops working or is damaged, you probably won’t be able to interface with your phone. This can make strange color patterns or partial blackouts on your screen. 

3. Component Damage

There are underlying components in the phone itself, such as cables or chips that are damaged and don’t project properly to the screen. Often with this type of damage, a portion of the screen does not work, or you can see everything clearly but can not interact with the phone. Usually, this type of problem can be difficult to properly diagnose and fix, as it could be any number of things that are malfunctioning due to damage. More often than not, phones with component damage are not able to be repaired, or the costs to fix it are simply too expensive to justify it. 

What Kind of Phone Screen Damage Do I Have? Is It Worth Fixing? 

The best way to demonstrate the various types of screen breakage is to show examples of damaged phones. Unfortunately for all of us, these images may look too familiar, but they may help you decide what next steps to take with your phone.

You may be surprised that what appears to be serious damage is easily fixable at a low cost. But the opposite could be true as well. Minor issues may come with a major cost. These examples will help you make a good decision about the future of your device.

types of phone screen damage and how to fix it - spotted screen

1. The Spotted Screen

The Spotted Screen looks like an oil slick inside your phone. This damage usually happens by dropping the phone or by pressing your phone too hard. Whether you got too aggressive with a game you were playing, or you sent a frustrated text pushing the letters for emphasis, or possibly just leaned up against something too hard with your phone in your pocket. Either will do the trick. 

This type of damage is due to a broken LCD and not just the surface glass. The damage goes all the way through the screen. In order to fix this problem, you need to buy a brand new screen. Anytime you need to repair or replace the LCD, it is an expensive fix. The good news is that you have time. The phone may still work, but the damage will spread with use until the touchscreen stops responding to your commands. If this is something you have experienced, save yourself the large repair cost, and use the time you still have left with your phone to begin shopping for something new.

types of phone screen damage and how to fix it - broken corner

2. The Broken Corners

Do you see the damage? You might have to look real hard. The upper corner of the phone is damaged. Probably due to dropping the phone. This is just a glass break. The phone is still usable, and most consumers will just live with the damage. The full screen is still visible and in working order. You can replace the glass or seal it down with a screen protector. Even though the screen is slightly cracked, some customers may even think of this as cosmetic damage.

Although when you look to buy a used phone, make sure you understand how the vendor defines cosmetic damage. It could be screen damage. The important thing with a phone like this is to be sure to not expose it to too much moisture in the future. Because of the opening to the underlying components, moisture can easily get in your phone and begin doing long term damage to the components. Be sure that if you do not fix this type of screen break that you are careful to keep your phone away from moist environments. You may have to cancel your shower concerts until further notice.

types of phone screen damage and how to fix it - black spot

3. Little Black Dots

Toward the bottom of this phone there are little black dots right around the phone icon and the internet browser. The damage here is similar to example 1. The LCD is broken in a very small spot. Thankfully the phone is probably usable, but it is on its way out.

To repair this damage would require a full LCD change. This is very expensive. The phone may last some time with this issue, but the damage will spread over time. With an LCD weakened in one spot, each point of pressure has the potential for spreading the issue. Eventually, without careful use, the bottom part of the phone will become unusable. It is time to start shopping for a new phone.  

types of phone screen damage and how to fix it - age spot

4. Age Spots

The long pink line is you see here is called an age spot. We all get them as we grow older. Phones are no exception. Samsung devices are much more susceptible to this type of damage, while iPhones tend not to age this way. However, the iPhone X is beginning to see this issue with some older models. 

As the LCD ages, degradation in the product occurs. Lines in the screen is how it manifests. Treat this as a warning sign that a phone purchase is in your near future.

This issue requires a full LCD replacement. If you have a Samsung device, it can be very expensive. Samsung LCD’s cost more than an iPhone, and are harder to acquire. Overall it is a much harder repair and very costly. You are better off beginning your search for used or premium pre-owned Samsung phones at a very steep discount.

types of phone screen damage and how to fix it - large black spot

5. The Bleeder

There’s a good chance this phone fell down a few flights of stairs. The LCD has turned black in places because of the damage and appears to be bleeding into the rest of the phone. The black areas are completely unusable. The screen will not respond to touch in those areas.

The background screen has started to fade as well. Much of the phone is probably unusable, and will require and completely new LCD. Again, because the LCD is bad, a new one must be installed, and this is an expensive fix.

types of phone screen damage and how to fix it - screen webbings

6. Screen Webbing

Of all the examples we’ve seen, this phone looks the most beat up. Cracks are everywhere, and they’ve spread all over the phone in a weblike pattern. 

Even though it looks worse than the other phones, the damage here is minimal. The touch screen still works and the phone is usable. There are no LCD issues. The surface glass is broken, which is really a very cheap fix compared to our other screen examples. 

Some consumers won’t mind the damage. They will place a plastic LCD protector on the glass to prevent further damage and protect your face and fingers from scratches. 

It looks really bad, but it’s the cheapest fix of them all. Consumers expect the worse here because of the visual mess, but it’s the easiest of all to fix.

What Do You Do When Your Screen Is Damaged Or Stops Working?

Despite the complex nature of screen damage and the various types of damage your phone may have, you really have three main options for fixing your cracked or broken screen:

  • Repair your phone
  • Trade it in or sell it
  • Keep it and ignore the damage

Let’s go a bit more in-depth to give you an idea of the cost of each option, the pros and cons that come with each, and which option may be best for you.

1. Repair Your Phone Screen

As you saw in the examples above, as long as the LCD is not damaged, you can repair a phone much cheaper than you can buy a used or new phone.  

The LCD is the only real expensive repair. To replace an LCD screen will cost you around $250+, depending on your phone model. When you consider you could pay $500 – $1,000 for a new model phone, you have to wonder if a repair is really worth it. This is especially true when you consider the fact that even with LCD damage, you may still be able to get money for trading in your used phone. 

If money is an issue, rather than buying the latest model phone, you could easily find an affordable used or refurbished phone online.

If the glass has cracked, this is a simple fix that will cost anywhere from $50-$100. That’s a small price to pay compared to a new phone.

2. Trade In or Sell the Phone

No matter the condition of your phone, there is usually more trade-in value than you realize. Even with a broken LCD, the phone still has value. 

If you are not happy with the condition of your phone, even if it is cosmetic, consider selling or trading in your phone. We think the easiest way to sell your phone is by selling through the Glyde Marketplace!

The amount you receive will help you purchase a new or used phone, and keep the phone from a landfill or hiding forever in your junk drawer.  

Don’t underestimate the value of your “scratched and dented” phone. If you are interested in learning how much your used phone is worth, check out our trade-in program! 

3. Keep Your Damaged Phone

As we’ve seen in the examples above, many phones are still usable even with a cracked screen. The damage may be superficial with no loss of usability. 

Even if there is LCD damage, it could be so minor that the use of the phone is not impaired. At most, the lifespan is shortened. Knowing the lifespan is shortened, you can begin comparing new and used phone prices online to find the best deal.

find affordable used phones and sell old phones 4

Is Your Phone Damaged Beyond Repair? Let Glyde Help! 

You are finally tired of living with your broken screen. Or now you know the LCD is starting to go, and it’s only a matter of time before the phone stops working completely.

We advise that you begin think about trading up your phone now before it doesn’t work, and while it still has some high resale value. 

On the Glyde Marketplace, we’ve created the most honest way to buy and sell used phones online. Plus, you can filter by everything from storage capacity to carrier to help you find the perfect phone.

You can even sell your old phone if you’re looking to make some extra change or upgrade! As long as the phone turns on and off and can hold a charge, it has value.

If your phone is damaged, and you are considering your options for selling it and purchasing a new one, don’t worry! Even damaged phones have value. On the Glyde Marketplace, you can tell us about you’re phone and we’ll give you a Recommended price – so you and the buyer know what’s fair.