How to Replace a Damaged Phone Screen Display

Christian Cawley Updated 30-04-2019

As mobile phone displays are much tougher than they used to be, it seems like they’re indestructible. Sadly, they’re not. Dropping your phone can often break the display. Your phone can no longer be considered useful.


Want to replace a damaged smartphone display? It’s a relatively cheap and straightforward process. Here’s how to do it.

The Costs of Replacing Your Phone Screen

Replace a cracked phone display

Cracked your mobile phone display? Dropped it in the street, or crushed it playing football? Sat on it, even? You know by now that you’ve given yourself a headache. Can the phone be repaired, and if so, what are the costs?

Many services available online and locally will repair your mobile phone, for a price. But if you have access to the parts and they’re inexpensive, why not perform the procedure yourself?

You should also consider the non-monetary costs: time spent without a phone, data that needs archiving from the device. Hopefully your mobile platform’s cloud service can help here, or perhaps a desktop utility can check the phone’s contents.


Fitting a new display that costs the same as a replacement phone is pointless. However, if replacing the mobile phone screen is closer to $15, it makes sense to have a go yourself.

If you don’t want to attempt the repair, here’s how to recover data from a cracked phone How to Use a Phone With a Cracked Display and Recover Your Data Your phone display is broken. What happens now? Can you still use the device or is your data lost? Let's look at the options. Read More .

Where to Find a Replacement Phone Screen

Replacement smartphone display and tools

The most obvious location for a replacement display is eBay. Simply searching for the mobile phone model and the word display will turn up the required parts. Just remember to shop safely when using eBay.


In my case, “nexus 5 display” returned a wealth of accurate (and, sadly, slightly inaccurate) results. Take the time to check that the component you choose is genuinely for your device. Often, components may appear in the results thanks to a poorly written listing.

Amazon is also a resource for replacement screens, but you should also consider a general Google search as this will turn up specialist suppliers who might be able to provide a lower price.

Note that you may find listings that offer just the display, versus listings with half the phone’s chassis. Which one you buy depends on how complicated you want things to get. For example, just the display means melting the adhesive using a heatgun or hairdryer.

Alternatively, a replacement display kit that includes half the phone’s body will require components being transferred from the old body into the replacement.


The Tools for Replacing Your Phone Screen

Often, replacement displays ship with the tools included. Typically, you’ll receive:

  • Mini screwdrivers
  • Mini Torx drivers
  • Plastic tweezers
  • Plastic wedges
  • A guitar pick/plectrum

You should also have:

  • Curved tweezers
  • Precision knife or craft scalpel
  • Hairdryer or heat gun

These tools are included to remove the case and unscrew any components that obstruct replacing the display. For example, a mobile phone will have Torx screws under the battery cover that will need removing before you gently prize the case apart.

Note that spending money on these tools isn’t totally necessary. Sanding off the ends of a couple of plastic bicycle wheel levers will produce usable alternatives—otherwise, they can be sourced relatively cheaply.


The Basics of Replacing a Phone Screen

There are so many different mobile phone models on the market (either new or used) that providing a standardized guide is next to impossible. Additionally, some models cannot be repaired without sending them back to the manufacturer.

Head to YouTube to check how your particular phone’s display can be replaced. You’ll find many detailed device-specific guides on the procedure.

Most smartphones are essentially made up of several layers of components. Each layer must be carefully detached for the glass display to be replaced.

These guides typically follow this procedure for replacing your smartphone display:

  1. Open the phone
  2. Remove the display
  3. Replace the adhesive
  4. Fit the new display
  5. Ensure correct cable connection

Read on to learn how to fit a replacement smartphone display.

Step 1: Open the Phone

To begin, remove (where possible) the rear cover, battery and identify where the Torx (or standard) screws might be hidden. Look under labels and beside USB ports. You might find screws in the battery cavity if you have a device with a removable cell.

Prize the phone apart using the levers and plectrum; additional screws will need removing, too.

Use the provided tools to open your phone

Watch out for ribbon cables, which require careful unlatching from their connectors. Use a flat plastic blade or plectrum for this.

Use the provided tools to open your phone

These are often threaded through the different layers of hardware within the phone. Ribbon cables are delicate; easily broken, take care as damage to these could change the dynamic of the repair considerably.

Step 2: Remove the Screen

By now you should have the front of the phone in your hand, empty, with the glass display ready to remove. Soften the adhesive with the heat gun.

Alternatively, you can leave the phone in a warm place (such as on a radiator) for a while.

Persuading your phone’s display to part with the body isn’t usually difficult. Pushing through the camera hole against the glass to begin with, slowly prize the glass display away from the body.

As noted, some replacements are basically half a phone.

In this case, you won’t need to remove the display, but you will need to remove components (and even the motherboard) from the damaged device into the new body.

Step 3: Replace the Adhesive

Narrow rolls of replacement adhesive can be bought online. Have some double-sided sticky tape laying around? Cut this into narrow 1 mm slivers, then apply the adhesive to the phone’s frame, rather than the glass.

Step 4: Install the New Screen

Once the adhesive is in place remove the protective strips on the adhesive and push the glass into place.

Apply light pressure where the display meets the adhesive. Take care not to put pressure on the middle of the glass display. Excessive force can break even the strongest Gorilla glass.

Step 5: Ensure Correct Cable Connections

It’s now time to put the phone back together.

Reconnect the relevant cables, locking them down where necessary. Place the components back in the case with care, checking that there are no cables or screws left over. Test the phone to check that it works.

Reconnect the cables to the phone during reassembly

You should be able to switch the phone on without securing the final screws in order to check functionality.

Planning to use a video guide? Review it before you start to familiarize yourself with the steps.

Does the New Phone Screen Work?

A repaired smartphone display

The moment of truth: does the new screen work? Remember, a touchscreen display has two purposes: touch interaction, and displaying the phone’s operating system.

A successful replacement will give your phone a fresh “almost new” look, and if the touchscreen works, well done.

However, it isn’t always plain sailing. I’ve fitted a replacement display that caused the phone to overheat. Therefore, it is important to buy components from reputable sellers, and ensure you’re buying the right parts for your phone.

DIY Smartphone Repair, Success!

Confident? Replacing a mobile phone screen isn’t simple, but it is something that you should certainly consider if the price is right.

While there are no hard-and-fast rules—devices differ from manufacturer to manufacturer—the steps provided should illustrate what is entailed.

Most importantly, don’t walk into performing such a repair without some device-specific research first. Video guides are particularly useful; once you’re ready, get hold of the right tools and surprise yourself!

Here’s another tech problem you can solve yourself with a bit of time and effort: phone display flickering Is Your Phone Display Flickering? Try These 7 Fixes Noticed that your smartphone display has started flickering? Work through these steps to get everything back to normal. Read More . And if you drop your phone into the water How to Save a Phone or Tablet Dropped in Water You dropped your tablet or phone in water? Here's how to get the water out and ensure your device survives. Read More , don’t panic, follow these tips to help save it.

Related topics: DIY Project Tutorials, Smartphone Repair, Troubleshooting.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. vani p
    August 18, 2019 at 11:11 am

    My phone display was broken.. if i change the display can i backup the data and photos from apps.. please reply me sir

  2. Kamesh
    August 3, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    Nice Blog Mr.Christian Cawley,
    let me what i can do with my broken display of "Lenovo Vibe K4 Note".
    please guide me if you can,

  3. Parijat
    April 22, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    I have tried and have successfully replaced a mi 4i broken screen. However, the new screen which I have placed, the side parts of inside the mobile screen is visible. Rather, the screen placement wasn't upto to mark. For this purpose i think the glass may quickly get spoiled again. Slight contact with water, and it may damage the phone permanently. Would you give me any suggestions how can i tighten up the screen locks, so there isn't any side leakage?

    • Christian Cawley
      April 23, 2017 at 8:07 am

      Have you considered contacting the vendor? It sounds as though the screen isn't wide enough for the phone!

      Alternatively, extra double-backed tape? Without seeing it myself, it's difficult to make a judgment.

  4. Paul
    January 1, 2017 at 11:56 pm

    I did it successfully on Xperia z, but be careful not to get scammed with non genuine parts, like I have. Awful contrast and colour compared to original

  5. Alyce
    September 1, 2016 at 6:30 am

    Hey Christian! I've been lurking the internet for some time for answers but I can't seem to find any. Found your article here and just trying my luck.

    I've dismantled and repaired my own S3 before. So my friend decided I was the best person to replace his screen on his xiaomi. We got the parts, I looked up and researched, and the whole job was done. However, the display didn't seem to work, but the touch definitely did. (hooray!) After some taking apart and putting back together, I realised the problem was definitely something to do with the ribbon of the display screen.

    I tried with the old broken screen, and the display worked out fine. So I'm kinda confident that the problem is the ribbon attachment on the replacement screen itself. We got it from eBay for around $50-ish if that helps.

    I'm wondering if there's any way to fix the ribbon itself, or should I just buy another screen? The part that isn't working is the connection itself i think. But then again I haven't tried to 'fix' the ribbon itself? What should I do in this situation?

  6. Ammu
    June 27, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    The phon im using is microsoft lumia 730. I broke the screen and the whole display was lost. Can I replace the screen my own?

    • Christian Cawley
      June 28, 2016 at 6:34 am

      You should be able to. I replaced a Lumia 800 screen previously. If it's possible, you should be able to find a specific guide outlining it.

      As a rule, however, make sure you purchase a genuine replacement display. Cheaper options are typically substandard and are more likely to fail.

  7. Elisabet
    June 6, 2016 at 8:15 pm

    Hi, I have an alcatel pixi with a broken Screen, and im worried ill break the connectors, because im kind of clumsy. Should I be worried, or is it unlikely?

    • Christian Cawley
      June 7, 2016 at 9:31 am

      Unlikely, but if in doubt, find someone with steadier hands!

  8. DTO
    May 31, 2016 at 12:10 am

    my BB Z10 face glass is shattered. Cost $130 plus tax to repair.
    my mom bought me the part. now cannot find anyone to fix it. I am told if I did not buy the part from the store they will not fix it.
    I am not tecky savvy. Any ideas where i can get this fixed in durham or scarborough ontario?

    • Phil
      December 18, 2016 at 12:48 pm

      I'm confused. You said it cost $130 to repair. Then you said your mom bought you the part but you can't find anyone to repair the phone. Are you saying it cost you $130 just to get the screen or that you ended up buying the part when you found out how much the whole repair would cost?

  9. Greg
    April 9, 2016 at 11:34 am

    I was wondering if its possible to use a screen from a different model phone or tablet if the connections are the same?

    It's a little project I've been wondering about, obviously the case wouldn't fit together but do you know if there would be a software issue from doing this? Or are screens just not compatible like this?


    • Christian Cawley
      April 9, 2016 at 6:43 pm

      difficult to say. If the screens fit, then it should work if the connections are the same. it's worth trying, the worst that can happen is no video output.

  10. Saleem M
    April 4, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    I can easily change my display no fault & I followed your explanation

    • Christian Cawley
      April 9, 2016 at 6:43 pm

      Glad it worked for you Saleem.

  11. princess yousufzai
    March 11, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    assalaamualaikum bro..actually i have repair my screen but its not work properly ...some places such as in keyboard the I,O,P,G,H,L,CROSS BUTTON ,these are not working properly when i press G the H button has pressed automatic ....BUT SOME TIMES ITS WORK....its really irritate me...please help me....i am using QMOBILE A 65 ...

    • Christian Cawley
      March 11, 2016 at 1:27 pm

      Difficult to say really as I'm not familiar with that model. If you repaired it "correctly" (as in, followed the procedure and ensured that the cable was correctly connected) then it would seem the replacement screen is sub-par, or something was damaged during the replacement.

  12. anup
    May 6, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    Where i can get a display online..

    • Phil
      December 18, 2016 at 12:50 pm


  13. Vitthal Patil
    January 12, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    Its really give very nice explanation about change of display mobile. Thanks.....

  14. itay aschek
    February 9, 2013 at 8:08 pm


    my name is itay and i'm marketing manager of import company in israel

    we are looking for special machine to split the thoch from the lcd

    i know that there is kind of this in the market but i don't know the name of it

    • Tina Sieber
      February 15, 2013 at 9:07 pm


      This is a very specific question. Did you try to get in touch with electronic recycling companies? They might be able to point you in the right direction.

  15. sl0j0n
    September 27, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    I think this article would be improved, if it had links for acquiring the tools needed
    to accomplish this task.
    The problem, IMO, is that most people don't know in */advance*,
    what tools are needed.
    I've been asked to "fix" gaming devices, computers, laptops, and others.
    They are NOT all the same, and the tools may vary quite a bit,
    depending on what device needs to be 'disassembled'.
    In the year, I've only seen 2 sets of tools for sale, for this *very* general category.
    So, I think a few links would be appreciated.

    Have a GREAT day, neighbors!

  16. bonioloff
    September 24, 2012 at 3:42 am

    Wow, this looks complicated,, Don't want to get risk for now :D
    It takes me money for buying my IPhone, i don't want to make any trouble now :D

  17. Praveen pandey
    September 22, 2012 at 10:14 am

    nice tips

  18. Ahmed Khalil
    September 21, 2012 at 5:44 am

    Thanks for the information, but for the tools i thinks every mobile has a special tools for opening

  19. Clyde Atwood
    September 21, 2012 at 3:36 am

    I have a Palm Pixi that Sprint sold to me, knowing HP was going to dump the WebOS development. Screen broke without doing anything unusual..... Now I have to decide if I want to replace the screen and use it as a 8Gb music player or just use it as a paperweight.