How Broken is TOO Broken? or What is inside an iPad?

ipad2screenYou see them everywhere, Broken Screens…  Whether on a phone or tablet, music player or laptop, the broken screen has nearly become a rite of passage; if you’ve never broken one, you aren’t really using your device to its fullest (or you are just extremely careful).

The issue comes when people don’t understand that nearly any of these breaks are repairable, and generally cost much, much less than a replacement device.  

So… how broken is TOO broken?

Allow me to show you an iPad that came to me recently…

ipad broken

Usually, there is a story associated with such a break, that the client cannot wait to describe.  This iPad was no different… it lost a battle with a recliner.  

But, the story goes on…

A local vendor suggested a repair shop, which had apparently fixed all manner of destruction in the past, so the iPad was taken there.  

The estimate?  About the same cost of repair as a brand new iPad.  In fact, they had one in the store that could be purchased right away…  In this case, the store happened to sell the unit that they had before the client could purchase it.  Since they could just buy a new one later, they asked the repairs to stop.

Then, they happened on me.  The iPad was picked up and brought to me to look at… nothing to lose at this point.  My repair cost?  About half the cost of a new iPad.  And this was not just a glass replacement, but also replacement of the main screen (the LCD), as well as replacement of the wifi antenna .

Now…  why such a difference?  

The fact is sad, but true.  The reason so many shops charge exorbitant rates is because they can.  Generally, most people have pictures and videos on their devices, and they have failed to keep them backed up on the cloud or on their laptop.  They are willing to pay whatever it takes to get that device back into their hands with everything on it just as it was when it took a spill…

So… what was needed to put this device back into some functioning state?

ipad repair

The glass had to be removed a sliver at a time.  If you compare the pictures, you’ll start to notice that the breaks look significantly less already due to the flattening of the glass as the process continues (many hairline cracks seem to vanish).

ipad repair2

Notice all the tiny slivers of glass, many of which have already been discarded.  This is the real danger of a broken device, as these pieces tend to fall out over time to end up in a finger or foot, or to be swallowed by a curious pet or child.  The glass, also called the digitizer, since it is has a thin film on the back that registers your finger movements, is on the left.

This particular iPad also had a broken LCD screen, which necessitated a more involved repair, and the higher cost noted.  

ipad bend

When I removed the Digitizer and LCD, this particular iPad had a substantial bend show.  It wasn’t as apparent before it was disassembled.  I was so surprised that I neglected to take a picture, but this image is fairly close to what I saw.

After removing all the components, flattening the case, and removing the corner bends, everything was put back into place.  

So… what does an iPad look like inside?



The iPad 2, in this case.  Those three black rectangles on the right are the battery.  Just to the left of the battery, in silver covers is the main logic board.

After reassembly…



The lesson here is that even the most horrible looking breaks may well be salvageable for much less cost than one would expect.  In this case, about $135.Me

The trouble is that many repair shops will overcharge because they can, and many people will pay the price because they think they have no choice…

You DO have a choice.

Whether it is a broken phone or tablet or laptop screen, we can likely fix it like new…

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