How to tell if LCD is broken on an iPhone.

Hello folks-

We get this question on a daily basis:

“How can I tell if the LCD is cracked on my iPhone?”

This is a great question, and let’s discuss the basics of the iPhone’s design. This actually pertains to many different phones and manufacturers, but since we’re talking about the iPhone, let’s stick with that.

Starting with the iPhone 4, Apple moved to an assembly that consists of the iPhone LCD, the iPhone digitizer and the outer glass that is assembled at the factory. This was an improvement over the previous models of iPhone 3 and 3GS that had trouble with dust getting under the glass because they were not “fused” together in a clean room environment to prevent dust particles from being trapped between the layers.


Just for reference:

LCD: The LCD is a Liquid Crystal Display that is backlit and is the flat, thin technology that actually “displays” the images on your device. This is what you “see” when you’re looking at the phone.

DIGITIZER: The digitizer is a very thin transparent layer sandwiched between the LCD and the Glass. It’s the component the senses your “touch” and responds to clicking, zooming and selecting on the phone.

GLASS: This is the glass, the outer piece that protects the digitizer from the elements. It’s just that…a form fitted custom piece of glass that is made just for your device.

So the question is “how to tell” if your LCD is broken. Let’s discuss.

Since the LCD is what actually displays the images, pictures, home page, etc…if you’ve dropped your phone and can no longer see anything on the screen, that’s probably because it has a bad LCD. It can be verified if the screen has lines within it, or if it has a “spilled ink” look. Many customers with broken LCD’s report that there’s ink inside the screen…this is 100% a broken LCD. Remember that the LCD is under the digitizer and the glass…so most likely both of these items will be damaged as well if the LCD is also damaged.

We’ve also seen bad LCD’s when you can still see all of the images, but the screen is VERY DIM. This would indicate a broken backlight (which is part of the assembly) and therefore will require a replacement.

There can be a lot of confusion when it comes to LCD, Digitizer and Glass assemblies vs. Glass Assemblies as well. There are devices that still use a separate glass piece rather than a “fused” assembly like the iPhones as stated above. The Android lines are a mix-and-match where some of them are full assemblies and some have separate glass panels that can be replaced individually.

In the end, the issue may be moot. If you send in an iPhone 5 for and LCD replacement, you’re going to get a new LCD, digitizer and glass panel – simply because they are full assemblies. Likewise, you’ll get all 3 parts replaced if you only have a cracked glass. Again, because they come pre-assembled as assemblies.

Even more confused that you were before you read this? Remember that you can always send in your device to us for a FREE diagnosis and we’ll tell you what’s going on and let you decide on what’s right. iPhone repairs start here on our website, or you can always call us toll-free at 866-638-8402.

Take care, Ryan

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