Both the iPad and iPad 2 are sophisticated pieces of technology, capable of doing great things. It’s also worth noting, however, that they’re both somewhat fragile. If you’re not careful, the glass touch screen can easily be broken, whether it’s dropped, thrown or whether someone happens to take a round of Angry Birds a little too seriously.
So what should be done when the iPad screen is cracked or broken? If it still responds to touch, you might decide to soldier on and keep using it, or you could try to replace or repair it yourself. There are numerous options for doing this, so let’s explore each one and determine which is the best.
Replacing it yourself
Unless you’re an absolute electronics whiz who lives and breathes Apple tech (or works at the Genius Bar), repairs are best left to those who know how to do them. There are a few shops online that offer replacement iPad and iPad 2 parts, such as iFixit.com. This company specializes in extra parts, and for $149.99, provides a kit that includes a new touch screen glass, a metal frame, clips, home button and integrated digitizer.
While this sounds like an affordable option, it’s risky. It’s very easy to do the wrong thing while disassembling an iPad, which could result in doing even worse damage to internal components. Again, we simply cannot advise it unless you’re really brushed up on tech -- and even then, we’re against it.
So let’s look at the next option…
Having an outside service replace the screen
Several online retailers provide cheap repair options. We recommend shops such as iPad Screen Repair (http://www.iscreenrepair.co) and Rocky Mountain Mac Repair (http://rmmr.us). Typical screen repair through the first site runs about $150 for general screen replacement (depending on the model) or less to replace other problems, such as a faulty Home Button or a broken Charging Port. Rocky Mountain, meanwhile, charges $129 for general screen repair, or $220 if the entire screen needs to be reassembled.
So who can be trusted when it comes to screen repair? You’ll want to keep an eye out for two things. The first is Apple certification, as some third party companies come recommended by the company when it comes to quick device repair. Rocky Mountain Mac Repair proudly boasts such a certification.
Another thing to watch out for is Better Business Bureau partnership. A couple of shops we came across, including Kansas City-based Mission Repair (http://www.missionrepair.com) come with BBB approval. It doesn’t hurt to call the company beforehand as well, just to see how they sound and how confident they are in their services.
Dealing with a third party beats plunking down $500 to $700 for a new device. However, there are a few things to consider. First, you’ll need to send your iPad or iPad 2 to them for repair, which could take a week or two (or maybe longer) to get back. Secondly, they provide an in-house warranty should anything go wrong, and while that beats nothing, that also means you need to send it directly back to them, for another period of time, if something does go wrong.
Finally, some of you may feel that personal information is at risk sending the iPad in for repair. (Fortunately, all that needs to be done is a device restoration, though you’ll want to make sure it’s backed up on a computer with iTunes so it can be properly restored upon return.)
So what’s the best option then? Though it’s the most expensive one, it’s also the most reliable.
Take the iPad To Apple
Really, in this situation, it’s best to leave iPad and iPad 2 repair to the pros. Apple knows its own technology inside and out, and backs its work with a 30 to 90 day warranty, depending on the situation.
Users can send their broken iPads to Apple for repair, but your best bet is to make an appointment with a store’s Genius Bar and stop in with it. From there, you’ll be given a price estimate -- and time frame -- for repair. iPad screen replacement usually goes for around $299, and only takes a matter of days to be completed.
While that may seem like a steep price compared to other third-party shops, understand that you’ll be getting the most value for your money. Apple handles the repair of its devices quite thoroughly and, again, backs them with a warranty should anything “act up” or not work properly. It also respects your private information, and you can re-sync the device via computer once it comes back, since the original operating system will be in place.
It may sound like we’re catering to Apple, but in the end, it’s best to leave the device in the hands of who know it best.