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Phone Repairs: When To DIY, When To Bring It In, And When To Replace It

Naturally, when an issue develops with your phone, you want to spend the least amount of money possible in fixing it. The assumption is always that a DIY method will be the quickest and cheapest fix, but when you factor in the cost of failed repair attempts and collateral damage to other phone parts, the cheap phone repair can turn into the expensive mistake in a hurry.

Likewise, there are occasions where a phone is going to be so far gone there’s no point in even attempting a repair. This guide will help you to determine what the best choice is for your particular problem: do it yourself, bring it in, or just start shopping for a new phone. DIY


  • Battery Replacement (Android phones)

If a phone isn’t dropped or smashed in some way, the most likely repair you’ll be looking at is a battery replacement at some point. Most phones use lithium-ion batteries that don’t develop a “memory” in the way that older batteries did, but they will still gradually lose their capacity as a side effect of the process of using and recharging energy. For most Android phone models, replacing a battery is as simple as popping off the cover, popping it out and inserting a new one. Unfortunately, iPhones aren’t so simple, which is why they don’t land in this category!


  • Virtual Button Replacement

Have a button that is stuck or has lost function? You can at least get a patchwork solution going by replacing it with a virtual button, assuming the defective button isn’t stuck in the active position. For Android phones, try the app Button Savior. Apple phones have their own built-in Home, Lock Screen, Volume Up and Volume Down virtual buttons that can be enabled by turning on the AssistiveTouch feature in the Accessibility menu.


  • Headphone Jack Replacement

This one comes with a big caveat — if you have a phone model that’s easy to open up, it’s usually not hard to remove the existing headphone jack and insert a new one, as there’s usually a simple plug for them attached directly to the phone’s main board.


  • Foreign Matter In A Jack Or Port

This is a big issue among those who bring their phone or tablet to the beach. Sand likes to get everywhere, including inside the various jacks and sockets of your device. Fortunately, it usually won’t go much further than that. You can swab it out either with a Q-tip or a paper clip with tape attached to the end.


  • Hairline Cracks

We recommend that you bring in a phone that has serious cracks, as it is more cost-effective to ensure the screen replacement is done the right way the first time. If the phone has a hairline crack that is only making swipes and pinches uncomfortable, however, you can avoid that and prevent the phone from further damage simply by installing a screen protector.



  • Cracked Screens

It’s true that certain models of phone make it fairly easy to replace the screen, provided you don’t mind opening the phone up yourself. The problem with these DIY repairs is that you often find the phone mysteriously won’t turn on or the screen develops a flicker and visibility problems. You then end up having to bring it into a shop anyway, and you’re out the cost of the repair kit. Unless you’re a professional yourself or have done this repair successfully with your particular phone model before, it’s nearly always more cost-effective to bring it to a repair shop that gives you a competitive price first.


  • Camera Issues

A camera glass replacement is one of those things that can be easy and DIY-able if you have a model that’s easy to open, but if the phone is designed to be more resistant to opening you may well damage something else in the process. The rest of the camera is usually attached directly to the motherboard, however, so replacements and repairs should be left to the professionals.


  • Submerged/Soaked Phones

If your phone simply had water dumped over it, or was submerged for only a very short time, it’s very possibly salvageable if you power it down and remove the battery immediately after recovering it. You can try leaving it in silica gel or uncooked rice for a minimum of 48 hours to soak up any moisture trapped inside. If it still refuses to power on or has performance issues after that time, have a professional take a look at it to see if there is anything that can be done before scrapping it.

  • Battery Replacement (iPhone)

Unlike with most Android phone models, Apple does not provide you with easy access to the battery. It is possible to do this yourself with a repair kit, but if you open the phone up to find out the battery is no longer working because of a broken connector, you’ll just wind up bringing it into the shop anyway unless you’re comfortable with soldering it yourself. Early models of the iPhone also require soldering to remove and replace the battery.


  • Phones Submerged For More Than Several Seconds

If a phone is submerged for an extended period of time, the damage is likely too extensive for it to be recovered. Sometimes these phones will fool you by working for a while after being thoroughly dried out using the techniques described above. However, the corrosion of the internal parts is going to be very thorough, and will spread over time. You might get weeks of use out of it before parts of it start gradually failing one by one. This is the reason that many repair shops will decline to even attempt to repair a phone that has been submerged, because even if they get it back into a fully functioning state in the shop, they can’t guarantee it won’t lose function over time. If the phone is not designed to be water-resistant and it spent more than a couple of seconds submerged in something, it’s time to give serious thought to just replacing it.

Still not sure if your phone needs repair or replacement? Want professionals to take a look at it? Contact us for a repair quote that’s completely free!