You were so excited to have a new iPhone that you decided against protecting it with a cover — the freshness was too sexy to conceal with a case. But now your newish phone is looking very not-new. It’s covered in scratches and dings and it never seems like a good time to get it fixed because if you’re being honest, you know you’ll drop it again. Have no fear, master the art of how to fix cracked a phone screen with toothpaste and save yourself a trip to the Apple Store. Yes, people on the internet swear by this. No, Steve Jobs would never.
While the most effective way to fix a cracked iPhone screen is to take it to the Genius Bar at the Apple store, or find an Apple authorized service provider, if your phone is out of the warranty protection, it’s pricey — a new screen on an iPhone 12 will cost you $279. And even if you have Apple Care, you have to pay a $29 service fee and wait for the repair, which means parting with your beloved appendage for a few hours, depending on how many other phones are being worked on at the location, per Apple. So long as the cracks are fairly superficial, this fake-sounding hack is legitimately helpful.
Here’s how to get some more milage out of your moderately distressed iPhone screen, DIY-style.
Wait, Why Would You Put Toothpaste On Your Screen?
Traditional toothpaste is slightly abrasive, that’s why it’s effective at cleaning gunk off your teeth. The theory of fixing your screen with toothpaste, according to internet and iPhone-user folklore, is that it’s just abrasive enough to buff out the edges of the crack, without creating more damage. But toothpaste does not have super powers: If you shattered your screen after dropping it on the sidewalk last night, you’re going to have to go to the Apple Store, not CVS.
Operation: Mint Condition
With a soft cotton rag, round, or swab, dab a little bit of toothpaste on the cracks and buff out in circular motions. According to people on the internet who have tried this, it’s important to stay close to the crack with the toothpaste, as you don’t want to create other scratches or marks. You have to use classic, white toothpaste — any gels or creams won’t have the same buffing effect. If the scratch is superficial enough, you’ll see it slowly fill in and disappear after you wipe away excess toothpaste with a slightly damp cloth, careful to avoid getting water on other parts of the phone, even if it’s a water-resistant model.
If you see no change, the crack is too deep and you’ll have to replace the screen. Consider this hack more of a preliminary experiment to try before heading to the Apple Store. Read: Don’t bank on Colgating your way to a fresh screen. I tried it on a moderate scratch and the only effect it has was that it made my phone smell vaguely minty for a few days.