Shattered iPhone screen: What would you do?

My wife brought home a shattered iPhone 4. First, how did it break? Second, what do we do now?
Written by Joel Evans, Contributor

The other day I was at work and all of the sudden I got a text from my wife that her iPhone had "cracked". My wife has been known to tell people that I love gadgets as much as I love her, so when she texted me that her iPhone had fallen and "cracked", my heart skipped a beat.

I've definitely battled a cracked iPhone in the past. In fact, it was her iPhone 3G that my son (very young then) had thrown out of the car window. Thankfully, the car wasn't moving at the time, but still, the iPhone 3G screen was demolished.

I couldn't imagine what "cracked" meant, especially since she has an Otterbox Commuter Series Strength Case. Well, look at the picture below and see what I was presented with.


Not only did she shatter the screen, but over the course of her owning the Otterbox case, she managed to make it completely useless, by breaking almost every piece of it. See below for a picture of what it's supposed to look like.

I then asked her how it had happened. She mentioned that it had barely fallen. Again, I was surprised to see such damage, with the screen protector ON. A closer inspection revealed that the protective screen was NOT ON. When I inquired, she mentioned that she thought I had left it on by accident, so she removed it last week.

Presented with the above, I had a couple of choices:

  • Upgrade her to a 4S
  • Pay for a screen replacement of her iPhone 4

Since the next version of the iPhone could be announced as soon as next month, I didn't feel like extending her contract and using my subsidized iPhone credit just yet. So, I figured maybe I could attach a screen protector, to keep her face from getting hurt, and to keep the iPhone from losing more glass, while I think about it more.

I purchased the Zagg Invisible Shield Dry and then adhered it to her iPhone 4. To my surprise, it actually started pulling up pieces of her iPhone's glass screen. I then had to remove it, remove some glass pieces, and then adhere it again. Unfortunately, this now created a smudge in the upper left.

Needless to say, after some smoothing, the iPhone 4 is safe to use again. Now I have to decide what to do next, since my band-aid will only last so long.

In summary: lesson learned. Once I upgrade her to the 4S, or get a replacement screen, the first purchase I'll be making is the indestructible Defender Series.

I'm pretty lucky with my 4S, since I use the mophie juice pack air on it, and haven't had any screen issues. This experience has me thinking of purchasing a screen protector too, though.

If faced with a broken iPhone 4 screen, this close to a new iPhone coming, what would you do?

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