iPhone and Cell Phone Glass Replacement

Tech Tips

iPhone and Cell Phone Glass Replacement Intorduction


Are you in need of an iPhone, iPod, iPad, or cell phone glass repair? Join the thousands who have already discovered how easy it is to bring your device to one of our many retail locations for a glass replacement service. Our glass replacement services are by far our most popular repairs for each respective device. We care replacement glass in stock for all popular iPhone, iPod, iPad and cell phone models at all of our locations and many glass replacement services can be completed while you wait.  On this page you will find useful information on broken glass and our many glass repair services. So let’s start at the beginning. How does glass break in the first place?

How Does The Glass On My Device Break?

Shattered glass is, unfortunately, a very common problem for almost all popular cell phones and tablets. For the purposes of this article we will spot light the iPhone, however, broken glass is an an issued that is not unique to the iPhone.  In fact, it is perhaps the most common issue that modern cell phone owners face related to accidental damage. So how does the glass on an iPhone or cell phone usually break?

The outer glass on the device can break for a number of reasons, but broken glass is most commonly caused by the impact from a drop or fall. Even though broken glass is generally caused by a drop, a drop does not always result in broken glass. If you are an iPhone owner, you have likely dropped your iPhone dozens of times and not suffered any damage at all. So what specifically causes the glass to break? Well, as you might imagine there are several factors that influence an impact resulting in broken glass.

The obvious influencing factors are the height of the fall and the surface of impact. The higher the fall, the greater the force of impact, the more likely the glass is to break. Similarly, the harder the surface of impact, the more likely the glass is to break. Of course this is common sense; anyone would rather drop their iPhone from 2 feet onto carpet than from 10 feet onto concrete. But what are the other not-so-common-sense factors that affect glass breaking on the iPhone? This is the exact question we took to a South Florida drop test lab. Armed with several iPhones and a high speed video camera capable of recording at up to 15,000 frames per second, we hoped to find out exactly what kind of impact causes broken glass on an iPhone.

After a day spent breaking iPhones, we reached two important conclusions. First, a face down drop is the best way to break the glass on an iPhone. Second, glass breaking in high speed makes for very entertaining video. To see some of our drop tests in high speed,  check  the video below. Unfortunately, is it difficult to watch the glass break in a face down drop test, so only corner drops were recorded.

It was surprisingly difficult to break the glass in a non-face down drop orientation. The corner drops seen in the video would only cause a break at high velocity (simulating a 15ft + drop). Also recorded in the video above is a direct glass impact. Test 4 shows a 1.25″ steal ball being dropped directly on the screen of the iPhone. This simulates direct impact from a corner of a table or other object if you were to bump it while your iPhone is in your pocket. During this simulation, the glass clearly shatters, however amazingly, the LCD remains completely intact and functional.

It was concluded that drop orientation plays a key role in glass failure on an iPhone. Though we had a difficult time reproducing consistent glass failures in the lab, we admit that our brief tests were far from comprehensive and we have heard from hundreds of customers who have broken their glass from as little as two feet. Glass break is somewhat illusive.  Glass does not like to bend, or be contacted by sharp objects. Often the worst impacts are when the phone hits on the front but first contact is on a corner or side.  These types of impacts are subtle but cause the phone to twist during impact and bend and often break the glass.

Type of Broken Glass

There are two typically multiple layers in a modern cell phone glass assembly.  The outer layer is the glass that is physically touched on the phone’s screen, another layer that is prone to damage is called the digitizer and is responsible for the functionality of the touch screen.  The digitizer senses where on the screen the user has touched and responds accordingly. Both of these layers are susceptible to damage, however, it is far more common for the outer layer of glass to break. Generally, after the glass has broken on the iPhone or other device, the touch screen continues to function properly as the digitizer layer remains intact. Below are some of the most common kinds of cracked glass on the iPhone.

Cracks are straight or crooked lines extending across the glass. Cracks can extend through the front and back of the device or just exist on one side of the device. Cracks can grow, so they should be repaired as soon as possible.

Starbreaks are long cracks extending from a central point of damage. Starbreaks are usually the result of impact with a blunt object like the corner of a table or desk.

Chips are usually small indentations in the glass. Chips do not extend completely through the glass and are generally caused by sharp objects. Chips weaken the glass and can predispose glass to cracking. Unfortunately chips can not be “filled” and the glass will need to be replaced.

Total Shatters occur when the entire surface of the glass has been broken. This is the most serious kind of break and can occur from high velocity impact or other high stress situations. Generally, shards of glass will begin to fall out of the phone during use if the glass in not replaced.

Shattered glass on the lower portion of an iphone 3GS screen due to a face down impact on hard tile

Completely shattered front face: Much of the glass has chipped away around the upper area of the screen exposing the orange digitizer.

Severe cracking in the upper portion of the screen has caused pieces of the glass to chip off. The upper portion of the digitizer has been exposed (orange)

A severely shattered iPhone that was dropped face down onto asphalt.

It is important to note that once the glass on your iPhone or cell phone is cracked or chipped it is not as strong as it was when it was intact. Any kind of blemish or chip seriously compromises the integrity of the glass. This is because any type of crack in the glass serves as a point of stress concentration  Instead of the stress of an impact being spread out over the surface of the glass, it is now concentrated at the crack making the crack very likely to propagate throughout the glass or for the entire glass to shatter. If the glass on your iPhone, iPod, iPad, or cell phone has begun to crack, is it recommended that you replace the glass immediately to avoid further damage. Cracked glass not only provides a hazard to the user, it also allows foreign material to enter the phone and compromise the electrical function.

The Glass Repair Process

Once the glass on your iPhone or other electronics device has broken, you have three options. You can live with the damage and attempt to use the phone normally, you can attempt to replace the glass yourself or you can bring your device in for one of our our glass replacement service. Glass replacement on an iPhone or modern cell phone can be a difficult and tedious task and we do not generally recommend attempting it yourself unless you have had experience working on these devices in the past. Inexperienced users often purchase the a glass replacement kit online and attempt the repair themselves only to cause further damage to the device and create a more costly repair.

If you are not comfortable attempting the repair yourself, consider bringing your device to one of our many walk-in repair locations. Find a location near you hear. We offer a low price guarantee, a 90-day parts and labor warranty, and industry leading turn-around time at all of our locations.

Our Replacement Glass

We pride ourselves in providing the highest quality parts and repairs to our customers. This is why we use only the highest quality glass available and back all our repairs with a full 90-day warranty. What most users don’t know is that several versions of most replacement glass are manufactured. This glass ranges in quality and price. To save money and provide the cheapest repair possible, some cell phone repair providers use low quality glass. This low quality glass often leaves users experiencing touch screen issues and can even cause other software issues in the device.  At uBreakiFix, we believe that the slightly higher cost associated with high quality glass is well worth a higher quality glass and a higher quality repair.

Do you get your glass directly from manufactures like Apple? This is a question that we receive from many of our customers. It is important to understand that Apple does not manufacture any parts themselves. Apple is purely a design and engineering company. Once the design for the iPhone is complete, Apple sources the manufacturing and assembly of the iPhone to companies in China. These Chinese companies in turn source the manufacturing of individual parts, like the glass, to other Chinese companies. So no, we do not get our glass directly from Apple. We do, however, ensure that the replacement glass we used is on par with strict OEM specification. This ensures the highest quality glass repair available.



Leave a Reply