We've all been there. Most of us have experienced the gut-wrenching reality of losing control of our smartphone for a split-second before watching it crashing to the floor. Sometimes it escapes unscathed, but a cracked smartphone screen is all too often the result. The important thing is not to panic - there are plenty of options available for smashed phone displays, so it doesn't necessarily mean having to say goodbye to your beloved mobile.
Check the warranty
It's entirely possible that a cracked smartphone screen may result in you having to splash some cash. But before being too hasty, always check the warranty first. Do some research on the manufacturer and find out their terms on repairs. While they're unlikely to offer free repairs on accidental damage, they will probably offer a set rate for repairs and you know that your phone will be in safe hands. Obviously if you have gadgets insurance, or you took out phone insurance with the retailer when you first you got your handset, you may also be covered.
Pay the manufacturer to fix it
If you're not covered by any warranties, then you will have to pay for a new screen from your own pocket. Again, do your research and see what the manufacturer offers. For example, Apple will fix an iPhone 7 screen for £25 if you have AppleCare+ cover, otherwise it will cost you £136.44. Sometimes paying the fee for a repair will be well worth the money, but if your phone is older it may be economical to consider buying a new one.
While you figure out what you're going to do about your damaged smartphone screen, investing in a screen protector could buy you a little extra time. Applying one of these protective layers will help to keep things in place and prevent any further damage in the short term. And if you want to arm yourself against cracked screens in future, a screen protector might be a good idea for your new handset as well.
Taking a chance and heading to an independent repair shop will almost certainly cost less than paying a manufacturer to fix your phone, and many will carry out on-the-spot repairs. However, it's harder to guarantee that they'll do a good job. Ask around and check out reviews before making a decision. It's also worth noting that getting your phone fixed by a third party may void any warranty you have with the manufacturer.
Another option for frugal phone owners is to attempt a DIY repair job. It's probably not worth the risk of a costly mistake if you have no experience of working with electronics, but it could save some serious cash for tech-savvy phone owners. Screen replacement kits can be picked up online and iFixit offers instructions for most handsets.
Sell or trade for parts
If none of the repair options are suitable, then it might be time to bite the bullet and sell your broken handset. While you won't get anything like full price for a damaged phone, there are plenty of buyers on eBay who are willing to pick up damaged phones for parts. Likewise, companies such as Geek Squad offer money for used mobiles and will also take damaged handsets. Just make sure you backup your phone and carry out a reset before sending it off.
Check out the sales
For those that don't have the time or inclination to sort out a repair job, or if the repair turns out to be too costly to make it a sensible option, a brand new phone might be the answer. Flagship handsets can be picked up for less than the full retail price simply by hunting for a bargain in the sales. Indeed, check out O2's Summer Sale for slashed prices on top-tier phones including the iPhone 7, LG G6 and Huawei P10.