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  1. Computer Skills
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Computers

My Mac's Screen Is Broken, Now What?

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Difficulty:IntermediateLength:ShortLanguages:

When we first purchase our Mac's they are the most exciting gadget in the world. Their technology amazes us and they improve our workflows. Unfortunately, sometimes accidents happen and parts of your Mac can be broken in the process. Many of these accidents are relatively cheap and easy to fix, but what do you do when your screen is broken? In this tutorial, I'll examine what you can do if your Mac's screen is broken.


Your Mac's Screen

Undoubtedly, the cost to fix your Mac screen is not going to be cheap. Out of all the hardware your screen the most expensive part, being one of the main reasons Apple can sell their Mac Mini's for such a reduced rate.

Screens cost a lot, yes. But, please be reassured that a repair from Apple is not the only option you have.

Great screens cost an awful lot Especially the Retina versions
Great screens cost an awful lot. Especially the Retina versions.

AppleCare and AppleCare Protection Plan

When buying a Mac Apple offer two different types of warranty. The first is standard Apple Care, which is free. With this you get 90 days of support on the internet/telephone and a year of hardware warranty against malfunctioning parts. The second is an AppleCare Protection Plan which comes at a significantly cost and lasts three years. Note, it must be bought within the first year of your Mac purchase. In the UK the Protection plan will set you back £199 on top of your Mac purchase and if you are buying as a student this is discounted by a large percentage.

The AppleCare Protection Plan covers many aspect but doesnt mention screens
The AppleCare Protection Plan covers many aspect but doesn't mention screens.

The problem, however, with both these services is that they both specifically say "does not cover accidental damage." The chances are Apple won't believe that your screen broke spontaneously.

That said, if you do have the Protection Plan and you send off your Mac there is a slight chance that they may fix it with no cost to you. Although, from the reports I've heard the chances of this are very slim.

The other scenario is that Apple could say that they won't fix it and will charge you for the repairs. If you agree, they will probably charge you at least £500 ($700) minimum. This figure is likely to be higher. Of course, this is quite a sum of money.

For example, if a repair bill on a MacBook Air 11" is £600, that represents some two thirds of the price of your original purchase. Is it not just worth buying a whole new MacBook all together? This really depends on the age of the Mac, if you bought the device 3-4 years ago then buying a new one may be the best option for you.

The third thing which could happen with Apple Care is that after they state you need to pay for a new screen, you refuse. Apple probably won't be best pleased after they picked up your Mac and paid employees to take a look at it. If you do refuse you will be charged at a ballpark figure of around £50-70 ($100.)

If at this moment in time you contemplating sending your Mac to Apple please weigh up these three scenarios which could take place, with two of them giving you a considerable cost. And the other which is unlikely.


Third Party Companies

For those who do not want to include Apple in the process there are other steps which can be taken. The main option is that you use a third-party repairer to do the fix for you. Most will pick up and drop off your Mac, fix the screen and supply you with a one year warranty for a sum which is far lower than what Apple may have quoted you.

Readers in the UK could try Apple Laptop Screens. The company has shops all over the UK so hopefully there is a store of theirs nearby which can solve your problem quickly. Here you will be able to get a better quote than Apple direct. Alternatively, look for a trusted, independent Apple specialist such as MacFixer or Bramley Computers. As with anyone you deal with online, it is wise to read some reviews; do a little research so that you know who you are dealing with.

Third-Party dealers can give you great prices for fixes
Third-Party dealers can give you great prices for fixes.

For readers in the USA there is a wider choice. Two major players are Mission:Repair and PowerbookMedic.


Make Do and Mend

There are two further options that will work out more cost effective than having Apple or an independent Apple specialist replace the screen for you.

External Monitor

There are plenty of monitors out there at reasonable prices which will allow you to still use your Mac. With my Mac Mini I use an Asus VS239HR IPS 23" display which only cost me around the £140 mark. This inexpensive monitor has good picture quality.

Monitors like this are reasonably priced and suitable for most needs
Monitors like this are reasonably priced and suitable for most needs.

To attach your Mac to an external monitor you will probably need a Mini-Display to VGA Adapter. You can pick these up from Apple for £21 ($29.) I bought a brand new Apple official adapter from eBay for £10. It pays to look around before purchasing from Apple. There are also non-official adapters, but these may not work as smoothly.

Mini_DisplayPort_to_VGA_Adapter_-_Apple_Store__UK_

To be frank, the method of using an external monitor and connecting it to your Mac is only really a short term fix. This may not work for users who want portability back.

Fix It Yourself

The second and possibly the cheapest of all is to fix the screen yourself. One search in eBay for "MacBook Air Screen Replacement" gives me seventy different results, with some of them being around the £50 mark.

If you are going to go ahead with this method I would recommend searching first on Google. Many websites have outlined the techniques which effectively show readers how to go about the process safely.

I would only recommend following this method if you feel truly confident in this skill.


Wrap-Up

When your Mac screen breaks, don't assume you're going to break the bank fixing it again. In this tutorial, I've outlined a number of different ways in which you can overcome a Mac with a broken screen. The nature of the fix depends upon your budget. I'd recommend that you do not rush into the decision. Instead, weigh up all options before making a move.

Have you had any experience with broken Mac screens? How did you fix yours? Let us know in the comments below.

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