What is best thing to do with a broken phone?

Quick Answers

Here are some quick answers to common questions about dealing with a broken phone:

Should I repair or replace my broken phone?

It depends on the age and value of your phone. For newer, higher-end phones it may be worth repairing. For older phones, replacement may be better.

How can I backup data from my broken phone?

Options include cloud backups, connecting to a computer, or using data recovery software. Be sure to backup data before repairing.

Where can I get my phone repaired?

Repair options include phone manufacturer, carrier, third-party repair shops, or DIY repair.

Is it safe to dispose of or recycle a broken phone?

Remove SIM card, SD card, and personal information. Many retail locations offer phone recycling programs.

Assessing the Damage

When dealing with a broken phone, the first step is to assess the extent of the damage. Here are some key things to look for:

Cracked Screen

Cracked screens are one of the most common issues with broken phones. Light cracked screens may just affect the glass display cover, while deep cracks can damage the LCD display underneath. Cracked screens can often be repaired.

Water Damage

Water damage occurs when water breaches the water seals, allowing liquid inside the phone. This can cause corrosion and electrical shorts. Quickly drying a wet phone maximizes chances for recovery. Severe water damage can be irreparable.

Broken Buttons

It’s fairly common for power and volume buttons to break from frequent use over time. Broken buttons may be unusable or feel stuck. Button issues are often repairable.

Battery Issues

Problems like the phone not holding charge or shutting off randomly could indicate a battery issue. Batteries degrade over time. Replacement batteries can often resolve battery problems.

Other Physical Damage

Drops and impacts can cause damage beyond cracked screens, like camera/microphone failures, unresponsive touch screens, casing damage, etc. The cost to repair extensive physical damage may outweigh replacement cost.

Software Issues

Software glitches, freezing, apps crashing randomly could point to software issues rather than hardware. Try restarting the phone, checking for system updates, uninstalling problem apps. If not resolved, a factory reset may be necessary.

Backup Important Data

Before attempting repair or replacement, an essential step is to backup your important data. Options for backing up data from a broken phone include:

Cloud Backups

If your phone data is already backed up to the cloud, you may be able to directly transfer it to a new device. Popular cloud services include iCloud, Google One, and Samsung Cloud.

Connect to a Computer

You may be able to connect your phone to a computer with a USB cable and transfer data or create a backup. This works best if the phone still powers on.

Data Recovery Software

If your phone won’t turn on or connect to a PC, data recovery software for mobile devices may allow you to extract data from the storage chip. This requires specialized tools.

SD Card Removal

If you have an SD card in your phone, carefully remove it to access and back up data stored on the removable card.

Backing up your information ensures you won’t lose contacts, photos, videos, notes, and other important data when you repair or replace the broken device.

Repair vs. Replace

For minor issues, repairing a broken phone often makes more sense than replacing it. However, with major damage or old devices, replacement may be the best option.

Consider Repairing If:

  • Phone is less than 2 years old
  • Out-of-warranty repair costs less than a replacement phone
  • Damage is limited to screens, buttons, batteries
  • Water damage was minor and addressed quickly
  • You need data recovered from phone storage

Consider Replacing If:

  • Phone is over 3 years old
  • Repair costs exceed replacement cost
  • There is extensive physical or liquid damage
  • Software cannot be restored via reset/reinstall
  • Parts are no longer available from manufacturer

Newer high-end phones often make the best case for repair, while older basic phones are typically better replaced. Assess the damage and options before deciding.

DIY vs Professional Repair

For those opting to repair their broken phone, you can either do it yourself or take it to a professional repair service. Here are some pros and cons of each approach:

DIY Phone Repair


  • Cheaper than professional repair
  • Convenient to do from home


  • Technically challenging
  • Risk of causing further damage
  • Lack of quality testing/warranty

Professional Repair


  • Expert technicians and quality tools
  • Warranty on work performed
  • Quality testing ensures proper function


  • More expensive than DIY
  • Inconvenient to be without a phone when dropped off

DIY makes sense for minor fixes like screen replacements. For intensive microsoldering, data recovery, etc., a professional may be best.

Phone Repair Options

If you decide on professional repair, you have several options to fix a broken phone:

Manufacturer Repair

Major phone manufacturers like Apple, Samsung and Google offer mail-in repair services through their websites. Pricing is similar to third-party options. OEM parts ensure quality.

Carrier Insurance Repair

For phones insured through your carrier, you can file an insurance claim for replacement or repair at a deductible cost. Speed and convenience are benefits.

Third Party Repair Shops

Independent phone and electronics repair shops offer walk-in service for iPhone, Samsung, and other brands. Pricing is competitive but parts may not be OEM.

Mail-In Repair Services

Companies like iCracked and UbreakIFix offer mail-in repair service where you ship your damaged device and receive the repaired phone back in the mail. Convenient but slower.

Research options in your area to find the right fit based on price, quality, warranty, parts, and service reviews.

Common Phone Repairs

Here are some examples of common repairs you may need for a broken phone and typical costs:

Repair Type Average Cost
iPhone Screen Replacement $100-$300+ depending on model/damage
Samsung Screen Replacement $180-$350+ depending on model
Other Smartphone Screen Replacement $100-$250 on average
iPhone Battery Replacement $50-$100
Charge Port Repair $50-$150+ depending on damage
Headphone Jack Repair $50-$120
Back Glass Replacement $100-$350+ depending on model
Motherboard Repair $100-$500+ depending on make/model

More complex repairs like motherboard replacement can get very expensive. Assess the damage before investing in these repairs.

Safe Disposal of Broken Phones

If your phone is damaged beyond repair and replacement is needed, you’ll need to properly dispose of the broken device.

Why Recycling Is Important

Broken cell phones contain hazardous materials like lead, mercury, cadmium and flame retardants. If not disposed of properly, these can leach into the environment. Recycling recovers these materials safely.

Data Security

Even broken phones contain personal data in storage that identity thieves could recover. Removing SIM, SD card, and resetting is essential before disposal.

Recover Valuable Materials

Recycling recovers high value materials in electronics like gold, copper, silver and palladium. This reduces the need for new raw material mining.

Proper recycling makes disposal safe, secure and environmentally responsible.

Recycling and Disposal Options

Here are some recommended ways to safely get rid of an old broken phone:

  • Manufacturer take-back programs – Apple, Samsung and others take devices back for free recycling.
  • Retailer recycling – Many carriers and retailers like Best Buy have in-store phone recycling programs.
  • Mail-back programs – Send old devices back in a prepaid mailer to ecoATM, EcoCell, etc.
  • Community recycling – Check for local e-waste collection events or facilities that take phones.
  • Sell or donate – Sell to ecoATM or Gazelle or donate to groups supplying domestic abuse victims with phones.
  • Carrier trade-in programs – Carriers sometimes offer bill credits for turning in old phones.

Look for free, convenient options when available, but safely recycling your device should be the priority.


Dealing with a broken phone can be a headache, but understanding your options for repair, replacement, backup, and recycling is half the battle. The approach that makes the most financial and practical sense depends entirely on your specific situation. Hopefully this overview gives you a framework for deciding what to do with your broken phone.