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When your iPhone screen cracks, are DIY repair kits worth it?

Posted May 17, 2018 6:30 a.m. EDT
Updated July 13, 2018 11:13 a.m. EDT

— Testers at Consumer Reports tried several "DIY" screen repair kits to see if they actually repair cracked phone screens.

For many people, paying to get their screens repaired just isn't worth it.

Cracked screen? Find out if those 'DIY' repair kits really work

"It would have cost me $129 to get the screen of an iPhone 6 repaired at the Apple store," said Bree Fowler, a tech editor at Consumer Reports.

Instead, Fowler rounded up some cracked iPhone 6's and fixed them for about $50 each using repair kits -- but she warns it takes a lot of patience and some skill to fix your own screen. "It was actually really hard," said Fowler.

First, users have to remove the screen and disconnect the home button, camera, sensors and microphone. DIY kits also ask users to melt adhesive with a hair dryer without damaging the phone.

Cracked screen? Find out if those 'DIY' repair kits really work

According to Fowler, the worst part was dealing with tiny screws.

"They were stripped," said Fowler. "I mean, anyone who's built anything or taken anything apart knows how aggravating stripped screws can be, but imagine having to deal with those screws and having them be nearly microscopic size."

After the fix, Fowler's phone worked -- but it now has a dark, shadowy image in the upper left corner of the screen. "To me, the hours that I put into this -- the aggravation and the stress -- it just wasn't worth it," said Fowler.

The take-home message? Fix your screen at your own risk! It can save you money if you're up for a challenge.

The kits Consumer Reports used cost between $40 and $50 and are available online.