How to replace the glass on a Galaxy S3

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Galaxy S3 Cracked Screen

I dropped my phone in the worst possible way - completely flat, face down. No case or screen protector could save me. It was pretty much completely shattered and little glass shards coming off of it. Everything else functioned normally so I decided to have a go at repairing it since I didn't have much to lose. Below is what I learned while repairing my Samsung Galaxy S3. Hope it helps someone.

I watched a bunch of Youtube videos and read a lot of Amazon reviews before trying it myself. People make it sound impossible and super daunting, but it just takes a little patience. If you can accept the worse possible scenario (destroying your phone), you have nothing to lose! :-P

I factory reset my phone before starting because if you break your digitzer or cause more damage you can still sell for parts on ebay or craigslist. Basically, make sure your data is cleared while you can still see everything.

The tools I used:

  • Glass and adhesive, I chose this kit
  • Hair dryer
  • Razor blade
  • Playing cards (I prefer the King of Diamonds)
  • Tweezers (I had tons of little shards)
  • Rubbing alcohol (to remove glue residue)
  • Guitar pick (optional, only used a little)

I think the specific kit I bought is worth it simply for the adhesive that comes with it and the glass looks great and exactly like the factory one. I don't think the tools included are anything special though and I didn't really use any of them. They seemed to be too thick to get under the glass. There are other kits that are cheaper and don't have tools but I didn't see any that had the easy adhesive. Also, I noticed many of the kits didn't have glass branded with Samsung.

I read a lot of people suggest not to try it with a hair dryer and to buy a heat gun. I like to live on the edge and didn't want to buy a heat gun. I imagine it would be a lot easier with the heat gun because it seems like my glue was a lot more sticky and didn't come off as easy as some of the videos. Heat is definitely your friend. Use a lot of heat.

Cracked Phone - Playing Cards

I used a space heater to start out with and get the heat going. This felt a little fire hazardy, so I switched to hair dryer.

Cracked Galaxy S3 Buttons

The razor blade was the best tool for getting the glass off the edge. In most of the Youtube videos, the glass is in one piece so they only have to pull it up once and then can slide around the edges. Since mine was cracked in so many places, I had to use the razor blade on the edge quite a bit. Be careful about scratching the silver frame that surrounds the phone. After getting the glass up off the edge, I would slip a playing card under it and slowly push it along.

Cracked Phone Glue residue

Watch this Youtube video and be careful when pulling around the bottom capacitive buttons. Be sure not to cut the ribbon that connects the button to the glass.

Rubbing alcohol on cracked phone

I was left with a lot of glue residue. This may be because I wasn't heating it enough and was using a hair dryer instead of a heat gun.

Galaxy S3 with hairdryer

This was after I had cleaned some of the glue off with rubbing alcohol. Rub carefully and be sure not to scratch the screen. I used tissues and paper towels. Tissues leave lint though. A cloth for cleaning eye glasses or tablets would have been better.

Fixed Galaxy S3 screen

Here is my final product. Putting the new glass on is the easy part. The adhesive that comes with the kit is super simple and straight forward to do. The glass in the kit looks just like the original but feels a little plasticy before you put it on. I don't notice a difference now that its in place on my phone. I did mess up the edges a little bit when using the razor blade. There are little cuts in the silver rim. I have a case though, so its not noticeable when its on. All in all, this took me around 4 hours to complete. Other people in reviews said it took them an hour or two. I think my phone is a pretty bad scenario and the more shards, the longer it will take. I also was really slow and cautious at first.


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