A fortnight ago, I dropped my iPhone. I dropped it while I was switching cases — just my luck. It fell barely half a metre onto wooden floorboards. It didn’t sound like a bad fall.
But it’s smashed. Like, properly smashed. Because I’m too time-poor (or lazy, or spoilt) to get it replaced, I’ve spent the last two weeks using a completely shattered iPhone.
This is what I’ve learned.
Not all smashed phones are equal. I’ve actually had a really bad run of luck with my phones in the last year or so. I’ve dropped more than a couple, and cracked the glass on a few. This particular screen smash is genuinely one of the worst I’ve seen. Lots of people — especially the Youth, I’m reliably informed — have smashed phone screens and live reasonably successful and fulfilled lives with them. When it’s this bad, it’s nearly unusable.
Get ready for a bunch of glass splinters in your thumbs. This isn’t so true if you’ve been lucky (sorta) enough to just crack your phone’s screen glass in one place, and you’re only dealing with a single part of the display to avoid. When your phone screen shatters into the tiny pieces mine did, though, you can’t get around it when you’re swiping and tapping away. For the first couple of days, I was actually tweezing out tiny slivers of glass from my thumbs — maybe a couple of millimetres long, but razor sharp. This is reason enough not to smash your phone, or to replace it straight away.
It severely mucks up Apple’s 3D Touch ‘hard press’. My iPhone 7 Plus could not be more smashed. Every square centimetre of the display has some kind of serious damage done to it. And that makes it really, really hard for the poor screen to distinguish between a long gentle press and a shorter hard press, both of which unlock different features in iOS. Moving apps around the home screen grid in particular is an absolute headache, because the smashed screen seems to have a very narrow range of pressure in which it’ll accept a long gentle press.
It really ruins the experience of streaming video. Want to watch Netflix’s great sci-fi series 3% at the gym? Oh, it’s a Brazilian show, you’ll need subtitles — can’t read them on a smashed screen. Want to watch YouTube in bed? Nah, you can’t even see what’s going on. Want to see the video someone’s posted on Twitter? Even worse. We’re watching more video on our phones than ever, and a cracked display is just about the most frustrating impediment possible.
You really should get it replaced — and replaced with a legit one. In the last few days, I’ve been looking into replacements. You can buy a replacement kit from a company like iFixit, but that means you’ll need to do all the surgery yourself. You can go to one of the thousands of corner stores and mobile phone kiosks scattered around shopping centres, In the case of the iPhone, if you bought AppleCare a replacement is just $45. If you’re not covered, it’s between $209 and $229. That’s a lot of cash, but you shouldn’t have dropped your phone, you big idiot. (I’m talking to myself here, by the way)