News center
We aim to offer the best products at the most attractive prices.

Is It Worth Self

May 16, 2023

Can you fix it yourself, or should you head to the closest repair center?

What should you do if you break your phone but consider yourself handy with repairs? Should you go to the authorized service center and get your phone checked out? Or should you just order parts from iFixit, watch repair videos, and do it yourself?

Or maybe you should get a new phone? Check out the considerations when repairing your phone and which route you should take.

First, you should ask yourself: are you handy at repairing things? While some excel at fixing things, most aren't knowledgeable or have the patience to mend items.

This is further complicated because smartphones use many small and delicate parts and have complex disassembly and reassembly procedures. If you're careless with your steps, you might damage your smartphone more—or even endanger yourself, especially with lithium batteries.

So, if you're not confident fixing things, it might be better to go to an authorized service center or a repair shop with a good reputation.

Next, you should consider the repair cost vs. the cost of your time. If you can still use your phone even with a cracked screen, have a backup device you can use in the meantime, or live without your phone for a few days, this isn't an issue.

But if your phone is crucial and your broken one isn't usable, you should consider that, too. For example, Techlicious estimates that the cost to fix a broken phone screen for the iPhone 12 Pro Max is around $329. This includes everything—all you need to do is to wait three to four hours for the repair to finish.

If you do it yourself, the same repair will cost $327.35 after the parts return credit. And according to iFixit, it'll take you one to two hours to complete. But even if you order the parts the moment you break your phone, it'll probably be out of commission for a least a day or two.

If you're making $35 an hour, your two-hour effort would technically add $70 to the self-repair cost. This means your self-repair actual total price would be almost $400. You should also consider not having a phone for at least a day. If a phone is crucial for your work, you're also losing value for every working hour you can't use it.

By this logic, it makes more sense to have your phone repaired by a professional, especially if they will offer a warranty with their work.

Smartphone repair isn't simple—you can't replace parts on your phone with a pair of pliers, a Philips screwdriver, and some duct tape. Instead, you need specific tools like Torx screws, a Jimmy tool, a heat gun, a pair of tweezers, and more.

If you go through Apple's self-service repair website, you can rent specific tools for a week at $49. However, the Self-Service Repair Store will put a hold on your card equal to the value of the rented tools if you do that. According to our Samsung vs. Apple Self-Repair comparison, the deposit could reach over $900—a prohibitive amount for many. However, the deposit is typically refundable so long as the tools are returned in the same state.

Fortunately, there are great, affordable smartphone repair kits, like the iFixit Pro Tech Toolkit. In addition, if you've already repaired a phone and still need the same tools included in the previous repair kit, you can order parts singly.

While all you might see is a broken screen, you won't be totally sure of all the damage inside your phone, especially if it had been through a spectacular accident. That's because most phones are sealed, making it difficult to assess any damage without the proper tools. That's why the Nokia G22 is breaking ground in repairability, despite its limited update support.

Because you didn't see the internal damage, you might've ordered replacement parts for a broken screen and camera. But because you can't see the phone's internals, you might not realize that its bottom speaker, SIM tray, and Taptic Engine have also been destroyed.

So, when you open up your phone, you'll realize that the damage is more extensive, requiring additional parts you didn't order. Furthermore, it might have suffered motherboard or other damages, which only highly-qualified technicians can fix (which Apple itself might decline to repair).

But if you bring your phone to an authorized repair shop, the technicians can immediately diagnose your device. Furthermore, they likely have the necessary parts and tools to fix your phone.

If you frequently use your phone for crucial communication—like when traveling or hiking—you want a highly-reliable device. Unfortunately, self-repair typically doesn't come with a warranty, and unless you're confident with your repair skills, you might fear that your phone isn't as reliable as before the repair.

So, if your life depended on your smartphone's capabilities, you should bring it to an authorized technician or trade it in for a new or refurbished device—that way, you know that your phone remains robust even in an emergency.

But if you're like most people who rarely venture into the wild, self-repairing your smartphone could help you save a few bucks while still getting a perfectly functional phone.

Despite all the considerations above, self-repair will help people save money and could even help more enterprising users start their own authorized smartphone service and repair centers. It's also great for those who like fixing things as a hobby, as it can give them ownership over their device.

But if you're considering going through the self-repair path just to save a buck or two, you should consider the actual costs before choosing. Some repairs, like battery replacements, are much cheaper via self-repair ($44.72 after parts return credit) versus the Apple Service Center ($89). But other repairs, like the screen replacement example above, are more affordable through an authorized technician.

Nevertheless, you don't always need a new phone if your current one gets damaged. There are many repair myths out there, and you should know what to avoid and what to do if your device ever gets into an unfortunate accident.

John William Morales, better known as Jowi, is a writer, a career coach, a professional photographer, and a leisure pilot.He's been using, discovering, and exploring PCs since Windows 3.1 and has been on board the Android bandwagon since Froyo. In 2023, he also invested in an iPhone and a Mac, allowing him to cover a wide spectrum of consumer technology.Jowi started writing part-time in 2015 and transitioned to it full-time in 2020. He also finished a university degree with related units in journalism in 2012. But even before he received higher education, he's been known by his friends and family as the go-to person when anything computer-related requires explanation.