What you need to know before fixing your cell phone

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — You likely know the feeling. 

You drop your phone and it breaks. It falls in water. 

It doesn't feel good. 

Maybe your phone just runs slow. 

All these issues can drive a person to run out and drop more than $1,000 on a new phone. But experts say there’s still hope for your old device. 

The cellphone repair business is a $4 billion industry. One of the biggest contributors is fixing cracked iPhone screens. 

“Yeah, I’ve broken a lot of phones… Probably like at least seven,” Jade Collins said. 

She brought her iPhone 7 Plus to iRepair at 55th and Troost. It had a cracked screen. 

“Someone else dropped it at a bar. I wasn't happy. I tried to make an appointment at The Apple Store, but they didn't have one available for a few days. I need it fixed now,” she explained. 

iRepair is one of the top Yelp reviewed cellphone repair shops in the metro. Scott Russell owns the business.

“I'll tell you if it's fixable or if you need something new,” Russel said. 

A new screen replacement for iPhones, his most common service, costs $60 to $120 depending on the model. 

“I just try to treat everybody like it's my own phone,” Russell said as he used a tiny screwdriver to take apart the phone. 

At Setcell in Westport, the hum of what looks like a hairdryer mixes with the chime of the door opening with new customers. A tech was finishing repairs to a new iPhone 6. 

Setcell is another area cellphone repair company that is highly reviewed on Yelp. It’s owned by Tyler Herndon.

“We're becoming more dependent on our phones, and we use them more. We're harder on them,” he said. 

Setcell charges $79 to $129 to replace a cracked iPhone screen depending on the model. 

Third-party parts vs. Apple parts

The Apple Store requires customers to make an appointment at one of its two locations in the metro. If your phone doesn't have Apple Care, which is protection Apple sells with new products, it costs $129 - $279 to replace an iPhone screen.

Apple Stores are the only locations in the metro where you can get authentic Apple parts. Third-party repair businesses have to use third-party parts. 

The quality of the third-party parts depends on the repair shop’s supply chain. Many of the top-rated shops import the best available parts. 

However, Apple doesn't allow repair shops to use Apple parts.

Apple no longer voids the warranty if a customer has a third-party repair shop replace a screen as long as the rest of the phone isn’t damaged in the process.

There is a growing push to allow repair businesses to use authentic Apple parts. 

The debate is at the center of lawsuits across the country called “Right to Repair” bills. Kansas and Missouri both have versions of the “Right to Repair” bills that are being discussed.

The measures would force companies like Apple to allow customers access to parts and instructions to fix its products. It would impact other industries too like farming. 

Some companies like John Deere are pushing back, saying it would hurt their business of repairs. 

There are websites that offer customers how-to videos to try and fix the phones. iFixit.com has videos to repair hundreds of devices. But experts caution you to be careful. One wrong move and your phone could be destroyed.

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