Now that we’re all inextricably tethered to our smartphones, it’s especially frustrating when they break. Suddenly you’re cut off from the world, unable to talk, text, Google, and, perhaps worst of all, play Candy Crush Saga. So what happens when your iPhone hits the pavement and cracks like an egg? Or won’t turn on? Or goes for a swim? Maybe it’s something basic, or maybe not. Whatever the case, you might be thinking you can fix it yourself. After all, you’re handy with a screwdriver, and you’ve been known to pry open a malfunctioning PC. How hard could iPhone repair really be?
Let’s take a look at some common problems and whether or not it’s smart to try to fix them on your own.
The worn-out battery
It’s a sad truth that rechargeable batteries wear out over time. After about a year, you’ll probably notice that your iPhone doesn’t last as long between charges. At two years, average runtime plummets. Eventually, you’ll be lucky to get half a day out of it.
Unfortunately, Apple makes it extremely difficult for users to replace an iPhone battery, and attempting to do so will void your manufacturer warranty (because it involves opening up the phone). Of course, after the first year you’re out of warranty anyway, but it’s still a fairly tricky bit of electronics surgery.
Apple will replace an out-of-warranty iPhone battery for $79, and you can probably find a local repair shop that will do the same, possibly for a little less money. However, if you’re comfortable working with electronics, you can also hit up eBay for an inexpensive replacement battery and toolkit (usually around $15), then head to YouTube for how-to videos.
The busted screen
It’s not Apple’s fault that gravity attacked your iPhone, which is why a broken screen isn’t covered under warranty. Alas, statistics show that a cracked display is the number-one problem experienced by smartphone owners.
Is this something you can fix yourself? It’s a longshot. As with replacement batteries, you can usually find replacement screens on eBay and how-to repair videos on YouTube. But opening up your iPhone will void whatever warranty you have left, so it’s not a good idea unless that coverage has already expired.
What’s more, screen replacement makes battery replacement look like a day at the beach. It’s extremely complicated, often involving the extraction of tiny, cracked shards of glass. For most users, the smarter move is to hire a pro.
The all-wet iPhone
Did you drop your iPhone in the potty? Jump in the pool while it was still in your pocket? Obviously water is not a smartphone’s friend, though an inadvertent swim isn’t necessarily a death sentence.
Try this trick: immediately dry the phone as best you can, then submerge it in bowl of dry rice overnight. The grains will absorb much–perhaps most–of the moisture, potentially rescuing your drowned device after the fact.
If that doesn’t work, well, even a repair shop probably won’t be able to do much. You may have to pony up for a replacement.
The safety net
Truth be told, the DIY and repair-shop options both have their challenges–not the least of which are accurately estimating your own repair skills. The smarter option: an insurance plan which can cover the cost of any repairs (or, if needed, replacements). A good policy will protect you from nearly any kind of loss: a cracked screen, a total submersion, and more.
To learn more about the common dangers your devices face and what you can do to keep them safe, check out this infographic from Worth Ave Group.