s How Easy Is It to Replace A Cracked MacBook Screen? (The Real Story) - The Kim Six Fix
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How Easy Is It to Replace A Cracked MacBook Screen? (The Real Story)

I'm so excited so many of you decided to join my Pinterest group boards I talked about yesterday!  I'm still adding new pinners, so if you are interested in joining.. just let me know.
Now, onto a tutorial that I wasn't going to post, but after a few people mentioned that they would like to know how easy it really was to replace a cracked laptop screen  I thought I would give you a little run down of how it went for me.

I want to premise this by saying I AM IN NO WAY a professional computer repair person.  And it is highly likely that self-replacing your laptop screen will void the warranty.  If you attempt this and something goes wrong, I am not responsible.  This is just my personal experience.

One of the hazards of being a blogger is that I constantly on the computer.. and one of my favorite
places to use it is the sofa.  Well... this is what happens when you leave your computer on the sofa and then your kids plop down on top of it (Don't judge the nasty dirty screen.. yeah, it is gross!):
I happen to have a 2012 15 inch MacBook Pro (not a retina display), so I took it to the genius bar to find out how much it would be to replace the cracked cover glass.  The LED screen was fine, it was only the glass on the surface that was cracked.

Well, imagine my shock and dismay when they told me it would be $800.  YES.. that is NOT a type-o. EIGHT HUNDRED DOLLARS!!!

After I picked my jaw off the floor and questioned what type of crack the salesman was smoking, I was informed that the reason it is so expensive is that Apple doesn't replace just the glass.  It replaces the entire top half of your laptop.   But I didn't need a new top half of a laptop.  I only needed a sheet of glass.

So of course I turned to Google to figure out my options.  It came down to this: I could pay the $800,  I could use an unauthorized repair shop, or I could DIY it.   Well.. OF COURSE I picked the DIY route.  Duh.  Don't you know me?!

The first thing I needed to do was order a new screen.  You have to be pretty specific when you are ordering replacement glass. There are a lot of versions on the market, and you want to make sure you are using a "Certified Apple Replacement Part."   That will give you real glass.  The knock off verions actually use plexiglass and will be slightly cloudy.

Specifically I ordered this replacement glass from Amazon. (They also have a 13 inch version here.)  I was super impressed with the part honestly. For $25 (vs. $800) I was suprised how well it was packaged and the fact it was an Amazon Prime item meant I got it in two days with free shipping.

Next I figured out how I wanted to tackle the replacement.  There are a MILLION tutorials out there and many have you dissembling the display screen (usually because they are also replacing the LED screen.)  Because I wasn't doing that, I settled on this YouTube video as my model for the repair:

 The tutorial is for the 13 inch screen, but the idea is the same.

 So, did it work just like the movie?!?

Uh.  Sort of.

First I heated it up with a hairdryer since I didn't have a heat gun.  I probably was too antsy for this step and could have left the heat on longer to soften the glue more.  You could definitely tell the difference between the well heated and not well heated areas.  Patience is key. 

I used a razor blade to pry the glass out.  It actually worked pretty well since it was really thin, but the combination of the screen being cracked already and the fact I didn't wait for the glue to completely soften, mean that the glass broke quite a bit when I was prying it up. Here is what the screen looked like by the time I got it completely off:

I proceeded from the upper left corner all the way around, just like the movie.  I read somewhere that slipping in playing cards was a good way of keeping the glue from readhering, and that is exactly what I did. I used some old flashcards as I went around the outside:

Another tip: Don't use cards you want back. The adhesive, especially when warm is EXTREMELY sticky.  When i was done, the cards wouldn't come off of the screen without tearing.

Since it wasn't clear on any of the tutorials I read/watched,  let me explain how the "glue" was placed.  Everywhere you see the black band around the edge of the screen (expect by the camera in the top center) is coated with, what is basically, a thin layer of black double stick tape.  You want to make sure you are getting under it when you start popping the screen off.  It is possible to tear the tape off the glass and then you are left with a sticky mess on your screen body.  You don't want that!

Eventually, I got cards inserted all around the top three edges and was only left with the screen being attached at the bottom.  Nothing else is holding it in except the glue/tape so you can heat it up and pull the screen out.

Now, unlike the movie.. this is what my screen looked like by the time I removed it:
Granted, I wasn't trying too hard to keep it from cracking, but it certainly didn't look like the perfect piece of glass they showed in the movie. 

Next up.. the replacement screen:  I removed the plastic scratch guard only from the edges (I thought it would be hard to peel up once it was installed.

To install it I peeled off the white backer and set it in place, bottom first, and then just pressed it into place.  It really couldn't be easier.
I did go back and used the hairdryer to heat the glue a little bit and smooshed it in better (I have read things about replacement glass popping out) but I am not sure that is necessary.

Isnt' she BEAUTIFUL!!?!  (Now picture her sitting next to a pile of 775 dollar bills!)

So how hard was it really?  On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being "my toddler could do it" with 10 being "brain surgery" I would give it a 3.  If I had to replace the LED screen too I think it would be challenging my skill set, but this wasn't bad at all. 

So what did I do to celebrate my success?  Well, I decorated the other side of the screen of course!  Since now that she is fixed, I think I'll keep her! 

Sharing at these parties.

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  1. Thank you so much for this post! I will not be in the market to buy or sell any time soon, but I believe this one post has plenty of handy tips I can use in the future.

  2. Oh wow! My heart jumped in my mouth when I heard you were quoted $800 to repair it! I'm so impressed that you managed to DIY and save so much money! This is such a helpful post!

  3. Lori -thestonybrookhouseFebruary 10, 2014 at 2:33 PM

    Good for you, Kim! My hubby just replaced the heat sync fan in our laptop. Thank God for You Tube!!


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