Nothing strikes more fear into the hearts of every smartphone user than a cracked phone screen. How are you going to watch Netflix on your commute? How will you perfect that Insta feed? And, most importantly, what if you can no longer use emojis in your WhatsApp convos?! From DIY ideas to Three Rescue insurance, here's what to do when you've got a cracked phone screen. Instead of panicking.

Some of us look into our phones as much as we do a mirror (especially if we’re in selfie mode and have found some rather pleasing filters that make us resemble cute woodland creatures).

Now we’ve all heard a smashed mirror will allegedly bring you seven years of bad luck, but what about the cracked screen of your beloved smartphone? The ramifications must be far worse…

Like distorted smartphone pics. If – heaven forbid! – the cracks are in the touchscreen keyboard area, the resulting WhatsApps are sure to be interesting. And since so much of our phones are now about the massive screens (hello you beautiful infinity-pool inspired Samsung S8!) a cracked phone screen might mean we lose the ability… to connect… with the rest of the world. Help!

Now before you completely panic that your cracked screen is going to take away the superpower you most cherish – the ability to communicate solely via emoji – we have plenty of means to provide a temporary fix or long-term repair for your much-loved device. You’re going to need this advice as the fancy new iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X have glass on the front and the back. Yeah. it looks great, and it’s the strongest ever glass used on an iPhone, but even their insanely durable aerospace materials don’t stand a chance against your clumsiness.

How bad is it?

Is it a tiny splinter? Or has your phone exploded into billions of tiny shards of glass?

Before you investigate your phone repair options, it’s  worth assessing how bad it is. Small cracks in the screen may be OK to ignore for a bit. More substantial damage will have to be dealt with ASAP, and the reason for your smashed phone screen may affect what repair options are available to you.

Warranty and insurance: Are you covered?

The small print can be annoying and a bit of a pain to go through. But, if your phone’s under warranty, or you have insurance or a care support product, then you could be covered for a repair. So, it’s always worth checking.

If you bought a phone with us between 7 August 2017 and 6 March 2020 and took out our insurance, you’ll have  Three Rescue Cover. So your phone’s covered for accidental damage – cracked screens and liquid damage included, pet damage, malicious damage and out-of-warranty breakdown too. It also protects you if you’re abroad in one of our Go Roam destinations, or if a family member borrows your phone and wrecks it (so sure, let your toddler keep on playing around with your iPhone, then).

If you make a claim, we’ll send a replacement phone or tablet to you the next day. That means in a mere 24 hours, you can catch up with your WhatsApp groups, update your Facebook status and upload an Instagram selfie of you with your shiny new phone. #blessed.

If  your cracked screen was caused by a manufacturing defect, and you’re still under warranty, then check your terms as defects are covered in these policies, and under consumer law.

Holders of mobile phone/insurance policies should dig out their paperwork and look for the all-important text on accidental damage. AppleCare, for example, offers up to two years’ insurance, expert support, and up to two incidents of accidental damage.


DIY phone repair hacks

Whether your phone took a nosedive from pocket to pavement or accidentally got into the hands of your favourite clumsy little person, you might be able to temporarily remedy your smashed screen with a DIY fix. If your phone still works OK, but you can’t get a repair straight away, or you need time to investigate the best options for your screen repair, then there are a few tips you can try that might help.

If the damage is in small areas and not extensive, you could try Sugru Mouldable Glue. It takes some patience to smooth the small pieces of Sugru into the cracks, but with the help of a how-to guide, this could be an affordable way to change your phone’s status back to ‘almost as good as new’.

Remember to check the fine-print of your warranty before going all Blue Peter with sticky-back plastic and yoghurt pots. The last thing you want to do is invalidate your warranty.

We’d recommend using a screen protector to help stop any scratches or cracks. But, if your screen’s already been damaged, it’s not too late! A screen protector can stop damage from getting any worse.


Go window shopping for repair quotes

Time to take your phone into the shops, or send it off for a screen repair. That’s not without its challenges, so it’s best to go window shopping before you book.

Head into your local Three shop or and ask about repair options – someone will be able to advise you on manufacturer-based options.

Prices will vary depending on the phone. So, you can expect a variation in cost for a Samsung Galaxy S20 screen repair, compared with a trusted-but-tired older version.

If your phone’s under warranty, but you decide to get it repaired by someone other than the manufacturer, then remember to check the small-print first. Getting it repaired by a third party and/or without official components may void your warranty.

If you’re worried about losing your stuff when you send your phone for repair – don’t sweat it. Just back up your phone before you send or take your phone in for repair.

Repair or replacement?

Upgrade time is always a highlight of the year, whether we’re on contract or Pay As You Go. If the timing is right, or your phone has more extensive damage than just top-layer cracks and an iPhone screen repair is too costly, then maybe it’s worth digging out your ‘spare’ phone and holding out for contract upgrades or going for a new Pay As You Go model.

Ever heard the saying ‘don’t spend it all at once’?

Well, with Three’s trade-in you absolutely can, whether you use the extra funds for a new phone, or maybe a funky phone case and screen protection. Trade-in is an easy step-by-step process that will enable you to sell your phone, and the best part is, you can get some money even if the handset is damaged (don’t miss our article on 8 reasons a phone trade-in can solve all of your phone problems). You can quickly search for your device, select its condition and receive a quote. When your phone is received, checked, and approved, your payment will be sent. Which means that photo editing app you’ve been lusting over but haven’t been able to justify can soon be yours…

And in terms of upgrades, if your phone screen happens to crack this month on holiday, then September could bring you good fortune: perhaps a new iPhone release that you can upgrade to? Watch this space.

Latest status update? Phone woes be gone.