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The Dreaded Cracked Apple Watch Screen: Repair Options and Costs Explored



For Apple Watch owners, few things are more cringe-inducing than that sickening sound of the glass display shattering against a hard surface. One small drop or impact is often all it takes to turn your sleek smartwatch into a shattered, unusable mess. When you rely on your Apple Watch for everything from fitness tracking to mobile payments and communications, a broken screen can be more than just an eyesore – it can severely disrupt your daily routines.

Unfortunately, accidental damage is not covered under Apple’s standard warranty. So if you find yourself staring down at a cracked Apple Watch face, you’ll need to explore affordable third-party repair options or bite the bullet on Apple’s notoriously expensive out-of-warranty fees. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk through all of your choices for fixing that damaged display, along with associated costs and considerations.

Apple’s Official Screen Repair Service

For many Apple Watch owners, the first instinct is to go straight to the source and utilize Apple’s official repair service. While this route ensures you’ll get a genuine Apple part and certified repair work, it comes at a very steep price – often making it more economical to simply buy a new watch altogether.

For the latest Apple Watch Series 8 models, Apple currently charges a flat rate repair fee of $299 for cracked screen replacements not covered under warranty or AppleCare+. Ouch. For the more affordable Apple Watch SE, the out-of-warranty rate is still a lofty $229. And if you’re still rocking an older model like the Series 3 or earlier, prepare to pay anywhere from $199 to $249 depending on the series.

Those fees put a dent in your wallet that’s nearly as damaging as the initial drop that broke your watch! For many budget-conscious owners, shelling out that kind of money just doesn’t make sense, especially for an aging Apple Watch that may soon be due for an upgrade anyway.

More Affordable Mail-In Repair Services

Thankfully, there’s no shortage of reputable third-party repair services that can replace a shattered Apple Watch screen for a mere fraction of Apple’s official pricing. Most of these mail-in repair outfits charge somewhere between $60 to $120 for a new screen and installation labor across all current and former Apple Watch models.

Repair services like ITS Mobile Repair, Quick Mobile Repair, and Repairs Universe have developed strong reputations amongst Apple enthusiasts by offering high-quality repair work at affordable rates. Many of these companies source their screens directly from the same manufacturers that supply Apple, so you can rest assured you’ll receive a genuine replacement part.

One of the biggest advantages of going this mail-in repair route is convenience. With simple mail-in kits and door-to-door shipping logistics handled for you, you never even need to leave your home. Just print a prepaid shipping label, send off your damaged Apple Watch, and it will be returned to you in like-new working condition within a few days in most cases.

Local Repair Shop Options

If you prefer to get things fixed locally with in-person service, many cities and towns have independent repair shops that are experienced and affordable for Apple Watch screen replacements. Authorized third-party Apple repair centers from national chains like Simply Computing and Screen Repair Pros can be found across the country for mail-in or walk-in watch fixes.

Local shops typically charge anywhere from $70 to $100 for an Apple Watch screen repair, with turnaround times as quick as same-day service if they have the right screen in stock. Just be sure to vet any local repair operation beforehand by checking online reviews, repair certification credentials, and warranties on parts/labor.

One advantage local shops have is their ability to first carefully inspect your damaged device before quoting pricing. Some breaks are more complex than others, requiring more extensive repairs beyond just the screen itself. A reputable local shop will fully diagnose issues and provide an upfront repair estimate for your approval before moving forward.

DIY Screen Repair Kits

For the bold and crafty Apple Watch owners out there, it’s also entirely possible to replace a cracked screen yourself using third-party DIY repair kits ordered online. These comprehensive kits contain all the tools needed and an installation manual for doing your own screen swap, typically costing between $25 to $50 for just the part and materials.

While obviously the most cost-effective route, self-repair carries some major risks if you’re not comfortable performing delicate repair work like this. Aside from potentially bungling the installation, using a non-genuine part or adhesives could compromise water resistance or leads to other functionality issues down the road. DIYers should absolutely watch plenty of tutorial videos first to determine if this is a viable option for their skill level.

Alternative: Buy a Used or Refurbished Apple Watch

For some owners, repair costs may simply not be worth the investment of money and time for an older Apple Watch model that’s nearing the end of its lifecycle. In these cases, many people opt to simply cut their losses and purchase a used or refurbished Apple Watch to replace their damaged one.

Sites like Swappa, which specializes in gently used tech devices, offer good-condition pre-owned Apple Watches (including recent models) at fairly low prices. You can often find used entries like a Series 6 or Series 7 for $150 or less – potentially cheaper than an out-of-warranty screen repair from Apple itself for a device that new!

Just be sure to do your due diligence if buying pre-owned, inspecting listing details closely, and only purchasing from top-rated sellers with positive reviews. Purchasing a refurbished model directly from a reputable third-party refurb site may cost a bit more but includes more stringent testing and a warranty period.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, the “best” option for your busted Apple Watch screen will come down to your personal circumstances and how much value you place on repairing the device. If you recently purchased a current model Apple Watch, it may make sense to utilize Apple’s official (albeit pricey) repair services to keep that new hardware in pristine condition.

However, for cost-conscious owners of aging models nearing the end of their lifespan, third-party repair outfits and even pre-owned replacements are a much more economical way to keep that cracked screen from being the untimely demise of your beloved smartwatch companion.

Rahul is a full-time blogger and love to write about the various topics including Blogging, Technology, IT, and several other topic. He is also an affiliate marketer and write here at Tech4EN about his experiences.

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