Last week, our parenting tip provided you with advice about protecting your iPhone or iPad from a damaging fall. Though helpful, these tips are not foolproof, and there may be a time when you find yourself staring at a broken iOS device. My iPad 2, which was housed in a rugged case, suffered this fate recently when the screen cracked after my five-year-old stepped on it. A week later my iPad 1 screen cracked when it landed corner first on the floor.
Once you have come to terms with the harsh reality that your iOS device is broken, you then need to decide what you are going to do with it. Read on for some suggestions that'll help you decide whether you should fix your device or replace it. We'll also include some tips on how to repair, replace or sell a broken device.
The First Question: Repair or Replace?
The first question you must ask yourself is whether you want to repair your device or replace it. You'll have to weigh factors like the cost of the repair, the cost of a replacement and the age of the device. It is hard to justify spending $200 to fix an iPad 1 when you can grab a new iPad mini for a little over $300.
I've crunched these numbers and concluded that, in general, it's cost effective to fix a newer, more expensive device and dump an older device that is slower and may not run the latest version of iOS. This isn't a hard and fast rule as there are times you may want to keep the older device because it has data on it that you don't want to lose. This happened to me earlier this year when my original iPad stopped charging. It cost me $50 in parts and my own labor to fix the three-year-old tablet, but I didn't want to lose the photos stored on it.
Another factor to consider is the warranty status of the device. You can't add an accidental damage warranty to a used device that you buy off of Craigslist, but you can add a plan to a new device within the first 30 days. If you think your children are prone to breaking devices, you may want to cut your loss on the the old device and replace it with a new one that has an AppleCare+ or SquareTrade warranty.
What Are Your Options for Repair?
If you decide to fix your iPhone or iPad, the least expensive option to get your device operational again is to fix it yourself. Many replacement parts are inexpensive and can be purchased online from places like iFixit. iFixit also has a great set of tutorials for the iPhone and iPad that'll walk you through the repair process. YouTube is another good source for repair videos, especially if you like to watch the repair before you actually start doing it.
Depending on what is wrong with your device and your skill level, self repair can be a daunting task, though. I'm pretty handy when it comes to devices and tried to fix the charging port on my iPad -- it didn't turn out as well as I had hoped. I was able to replace the charging cable, but getting the display off the iPad was much more difficult than I expected. I ended up damaging the soft aluminum shell of the iPad when I pried off the screen and likely ruined any reasonable chance to resell the device.
If you prefer not to crack open your iPhone or iPad, then you can travel down to your local Apple Store and get a repair quote. Depending on the problem, Apple may have to send out the device for repair. There is also a chance Apple may not be able to fix the device, as was the case with my broken charging port. It is worth noting that Apple Stores are supposedly adding tools and supplemental training so Geniuses can repair a broken iPhone screen and other common ailments right in the store.
Besides Apple, there are also third-party companies like IFixYourI and eBay sellers that'll repair your iOS device for a fee. Prices vary, but most places charge just under a $100 to repair a broken screen, around $70 to replace a headphone jack and about $60 to replace a power button. Most of these services require you to send in your device for repair, and they will send it back to you when it is fixed. If you have local computer repair shops, check with them, too, as many offer repair services for the iPad and iPhone.
Repairing broken hardware like a screen or a button is pretty straightforward -- buy the broken part and replace it. Water damage, though, is handled a bit differently as it can affect multiple parts of your device and critical components like the motherboard. Most repair companies will try to fix a water damaged device, but they won't charge you when you send in your device. The technicians will examine the device and determine if they can fix it before talking to you about repair costs. Be prepared as water damage can be expensive to fix.
What if You Want to Replace Your Device?
If you want to replace your device instead of repair it, you have several options to buy new or used gear. The easiest and cheapest way to get a replacement device is to exercise the replacement clause on your warranty. If you purchased an AppleCare+ warranty for your iPhone or iPad, then you can go to an Apple Store and get a replacement for $50. You are allowed two replacements while the plan is in effect. SquareTrade offers a similar replacement plan that includes a $50 deductible for each replacement. With SquareTrade, you can get up to four replacements over the life of the plan.
Apple also offers an Out-of-Warranty Service option that lets you trade-in your broken device and purchase a replacement device at a reduced cost. Accidental damage is covered by this service, with the exception of catastrophic damage like your iPad being cut in half. Apple will replace your iPad with a similar, new or like new iPad model for a fee. The cost varies by device with an iPad mini costing $219, an iPad 3/4 costing $299 and an iPad 1/2 costing $249 to replace. Similar terms exist for the iPhone with a replacement cost of $229 for an iPhone 5, $199 for an iPhone 4S and $149 for an iPhone 4 or older model device. If you have a newer model iPad or iPhone without an accidental damage warranty, this replacement option is less expensive than buying a brand new device.
You can also choose to buy a replacement device on eBay or Craigslist. You will save some cash by purchasing from a third-party seller, but you run the risk of buying a stolen device or one that has a hidden problem. If you want to buy a replacement and don't mind spending the money, I would recommend buying new from Apple or another authorized reseller. With a new device, you can purchase a warranty with accidental damage coverage and not have to worry about losing your $500 investment the next time your device hits the pavement.
Where to Sell Your Broken iOS Device?
If you decided to buy a new iOS device, you likely still have the broken one sitting on your shelf, collecting dust. Don't let it just sit there and decay, do something with it. You can either recycle it through Apple's recycle program or sell it to someone who can fix it.
Resellers like Gazelle and uSell are two of the few services that'll pay you money for your broken devices. Prices are good but not great. Gazelle will pay you $125 for a broken 16GB iPhone 5, while uSell located a buyer who would pay $160. Apple also will take your broken device, but it won't pay you for it. Amazon doesn't even have an option for a broken device.
Last but not least, you can always sell your broken iOS device on eBay or Craigslist. You may get more money going this route, but you will have to take the time to accurately describe the damage to your device so you won't disappoint your buyers.