There’s nothing quite as cringe-inducing as dropping your gorgeous smartphone on the pavement and hearing the screen shatter. It’s happened to all of us, and since they’re made of glass, it’s a problem that will likely stick around for a while.
Due to the fragile screens, companies have been raking in the cash from screen repairs. In fact, some manufacturers make glass restoration a major part of their tech support business model. For a perfect example, click or tap here to see how Apple is centralizing iPhone repairs at their retail stores.
So what can you do to protect your screen? Well, there are a few ways to keep it from cracking. Take a look at these smartphone accessories that keep your phone looking like you just took it out of the box.
1. Just in case
This one may not come as a surprise to you, but cases play a critical role in protecting our phones. But not just any case will work — what you want is a case that balances cushion, durability and weight to the point where it’s comfortable to use on the daily.
But in terms of protection, the key feature you’ll want to look for is something called screen clearance. This means the case creates distance between the screen and whatever surface your phone lands on. Cases with good screen clearance means your phone’s screen will never touch the ground, even if it lands face-down.
Usually, screen clearance takes the form of a lip or rim on a case that surrounds the screen. A great example of a durable case with good clearance is the CandyShell by Speck, which uses state-of-the-art cushioning technology to absorb the impact of a drop as it happens.
The rubbery material inside the case redirects the shock to the exterior of the device, keeping it far away from the delicate screen. These cases are available for iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy series of products, but availability for other manufacturers may vary.
If you happen to be a bit more clumsy with your device, a thinner case like the CandyShell may not be your best option. This is where a two-piece case like the OtterBox commuter would be appropriate.
This case uses a hybrid of plastic and impact-absorbing material to handle shock while maintaining rigidness. Plus, the case covers entry ports like the charging cable and button gaps to further secure it from dust and debris. This case is available for iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy series of products, but availability for other manufacturers may vary.
2. Temper your fears
Of course, nobody can perfectly plan for the unexpected. Say you’ve already outfitted your phone with the perfect case, but suddenly your phone falls and lands right on a rock. Even a case with plenty of clearance can’t protect against that.
That’s where glass screen protectors come in.
These slim, durable slabs of tempered glass adhere to your phone with static electricity and minimal adhesion — so you don’t have to worry about sticky residue when it comes time to swap it out. They work by absorbing the force of impact during a drop, but rather than redirect it like a case does, it takes the energy into itself and cracks so your screen doesn’t have to.
This screen protector is recommended for iPhone 11 users, but protectors exist for nearly every make and model of phone. Keep in mind these products are a one-time-use item, and are designed to break so your screen doesn’t. We recommend buying several so you can easily swap when one cracks.
3. Use your wallet to protect your phone, not repair it
We know how important a good case is, but one thing most drop-proof cases are missing is a complete cover. Even a soft cover can help protect the screen if it lands flat, and the most common cases that feature covers are wallet folios.
Wallet folios have clasping covers that lock over your screen, and will usually include pockets to store credit cards and cash. Loading up a wallet case with cash and cards also adds extra cushioning for your phone. Combined with the screen cover, you have a veritable suit of armor for your device.
Bonus: You broke your screen. Now what?
Even the most durable cases and covers can’t protect against every mishap. Sometimes the force is too great, or maybe it happened when you took your case off. Regardless, there are several ways you can repair your device, or even replace it if it’s broken.
Apple users have access to the company’s acclaimed retail outlets. The Genius Bar acts as your personal hub for all things Apple support, and if you’re in warranty you may be leaving your appointment with a new screen or device. Click or tap here to learn how to make a Genius Bar appointment.
For Android users, there haven’t been many repair options outside carrier support, but now you can visit a Microsoft branded store for help. Starting in 2020, Samsung users visiting Microsoft stores will get similar support to what Apple users are privy to. Click or tap to learn more about Samsung’s renewed partnership with Microsoft from the company’s Unpacked event.