How to fix broken iPhones, iPads, iPods, other gadgets

February 8, 2013

Matt McCormick, the owner of JCD Repair has some fixes you can do at home, that will save you a ton of money from shelling out hundreds more for a replacement device.

  • Cracked Screen Repair: This is the #1 repair for cell phones & doing the repair yourself, while cheapest, is highly dangerous. For a good fix, this definitely requires a professional

    What you can do at home
    Send it in to your company. Apple will not repair screens, they will only send you a new phone for $149-$229 and do not return your cracked one

    LAST OPTION: Do it yourself.
    Buy the parts on eBay or Amazon. Be careful, a lot of unscrupulous sellers will sell you parts that can't be used. For an iPhone 4/4S, you need the full assembly - glass, digitizer, and LCD. Expect to pay about $20-$30 from a legitimate vendor. Be careful not to order it from overseas - you'll wait 2 weeks and it might be hard to return if it's not right or working well. Once you have the part, then you have to fix it. This can range from not too bad to really difficult. If not done right, you might go from a working phone with a cracked screen to a paper weight. There are plenty of videos out there that show you how to fix most phones. A word of warning on those videos: They often make the repair look easier than it is because they want to sell the parts.

    BEST OPTION: Use a professional
    Find a 3rd party repair service. For iPhones this will typically cost between $39-$99 depending on the company. The random dude from Craigslist working out of his car will be on the very low end, reputable shops on the higher end. Any repair shop worth their salt should be able to replace a screen in under an hour so you won't have to be without your phone for long.

  • Water Damage

    What you can do from home
    iPhones are different than most phones because the battery doesn't remove easily. If your phone gets wet, the first thing to do is turn it off immediately. If possible, remove the battery & drop your phone and battery in a bag of rice
    Now you have two choices...spend the money & take it to a professional or leave the phone in the bag of rice for 3 days and cross your fingers. There is probably about a 50% success rate. Depending on how much water got in, you might discover the phone stops working again in a few weeks because of corrosion that will develop

    When you need a professional
    If you choose this route for around $100+cost of parts if necessary, make sure the company you go to is using a sonic cleaner. It is used, with a special cleaning solution, to completely remove the corrosion from your phone's motherboard and make sure the corrosion doesn't come back

  • Battery Replacement: Most batteries last about 18-24 months before they start to lose their ability to hold charge

    What you can do at home:
    For non-iPhone users, the solution is simple: Just find a replacement battery on Amazon. Amazon is preferable in this case because there is a huge variety in the quality of batteries. When the battery arrives, just pop it in the phone.
    For iPhone 4 or 4S, it's a little bit trickier because special tools are needed to remove the battery. You can get a pentalobe screwdriver & follow a video online to do this

    Things to be aware of
    There are a lot of bad batteries out there, make sure you are buying from a reputable dealer and preferably a US seller so you can return it if it doesn't work well
    The iPhone battery connector is not trivial to pull out. Customers do it themselves & actually rip the receiving connector off the phones motherboard—not a good result

    When you need a professional
    If you do not trust yourself to follow steps to change a battery by yourself, any 3rd party vendor should be able to do this repair for you for under $50
    We suggest getting warranty on the battery repair

  • Lost/Stolen
    There is software out there for this. On an iPhone, Apple installs a free service called "Find My iPhone." This will let you see where it's at on a map. Of course, it has to be on.
    People should ALWAYS have a lock code on their phone. If you don't, anything you've installed or enabled to track your phone can be disabled/removed. In addition, all your data is available.

  • Charging/ Data Port Connecter & Buttons

    Use a professional
    Charging/data port connector gets busted most often from someone's child jamming something into it or it getting wet. For Android (or Blackberry) phones, this part is actually soldered on to the motherboard and is nearly impossible to reliably fix. On iPhones, though, this part is fairly easy to replace for a professional. Moderately difficult for someone trying to do it themselves.
    The one other thing we see quite from time-to-time are various buttons just wearing out - like the home button or power button. There's usually a little metal tab underneath them just stops making a connection. Replace this and things start to work again.

    Contact Information:

    JCD Repair
    2351 N Southport Ave
    Chicago, IL 60614
    (773) 800-1854

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