Cracked cell phone screen: what are the hidden side effects?

Seems like everyone sooner or later walks around with a cracked screen on their cell phone. Though seemingly harmless at first, there may be hidden side effects.

A cracked screen can have several effects on your phone that can lead to a more expensive repair down the road. Firstly, a cracked screen in many cases will malfunction and cause ghost touch. Waiting to repair your phone once the screen is malfunctioning can put you in a sticky situation. You may urgently need to use your phone and it might become unresponsive due to the cracked or damaged screen. Secondly, a device that has been dropped can have degraded battery life. This can lead to a variety of problems such as performance issues. Thirdly, a damaged screen can affect face-id functionality. Cracks or broken glass can prevent face-id from working properly. Finally, a cracked screen will affect the water resistance of your phone. This increases the risk of water damage and even data loss if exposed to water.

Below we discuss the potential side effects of cracked cell phone screens and why you should repair sooner than later.

How to hide cracks and scratches on your screen

Does a cracked screen cause ghost touch?

Phones with cracked or damaged screens will only get worse over time. Many times this will lead to malfunction or ghost touch. Ghost touch is when a screen will move or start doing things on its own without you touching it.  According to cell phone repair shops in the United States, screen malfunctions and ghost touch are fairly common. We polled 22 cell phone repair shop owners and 27% reported that 50-75% of customers come in with a device that is ghost touching or completely unresponsive due to a cracked display.

In contrast, customers that came in with a damaged device that had been previously repaired with an aftermarket screen, are almost always malfunctioning. According to Ethan, the owner of The Smartphone Doctor, states: cracked phones that have been previously repaired with an aftermarket screen are almost always malfunctioning. This is primarily because some aftermarket screens tend to be of lower quality and are more prone to cracking.

What percentage of customers come in with a cell phone screen that is malfunctioning?”

Percentage a phone screen is malfunctioningRepair Shop Response
Less than 10% of the time18%
10-25% of the time55%
25-50% of the time0%
50-75% of the time27%
75-100% of the time0%

Does a cracked screen affect battery life?

We surveyed 50 cellphone repair shops across the United States to see if a cracked screen can affect cell phone battery life. To our surprise, 98% of cell phone repair shops stated cracked screens do not affect battery life. One shop owner stated “a cracked screen does not draw more power from the battery.” In short, this means, screens don’t use more power when cracked.

“Does a cracked screen affect battery life?”


However, in some scenarios it may seem like a cracked screen is affecting your battery life. As most cracked cell phone screens are caused by drops and falls, the drop itself may have a direct effect on your battery life. According to Samsung, dropping your battery can cause damage. “If a damaged battery is used, this may affect performance of the phone and cause damage or injury due to overheating, fire or explosion.” Though cracked screens may not directly affect battery life, the initial drop may degrade or damage your cell phone battery.

Causes of battery damage:

  • using phone in excessively hot environment
  • dropping the battery
  • external pressure directly on battery

Are cracked phones still waterproof?

To begin with, most cell phones are not waterproof but rather water-resistant. Current cell phones are either IP67 or IP68, which is a water / dust resistance rating. An IP67 rating means a phone can be submerged in water for 30 minutes at 1 meter. While the IP68 rating means a device can be submerged at 1.5 meters for the same time. When a cell phone is fully intact, it can be water-resistant up to the advertised rating.

However, any cracks on a cell phone can have a negative impact on its water resistance. Even a small crack can allow water inside the device and void any water resistance. According to Apple, “dropping your iPhone or subjecting it to other impacts” can increase the risk of water damage. Apple warranty does not cover water damage.

Luckily, water damage can be repaired in many cases.

Can a cracked screen affect face-id?

A cracked or damaged screen can affect face-id functionality. As the face-id components are located under the display, any cracks can obscure the cameras or sensors view and thereby causing face-id issues. Drops and other impacts can also have a negative effect on your Face ID. You may see a “face-id” disabled message if the face-id components are damaged or obscured. Or you may get “a problem was detected with your true depth camera.”

Can a cracked screen cause data loss?

Though cracked cell phone screens will usually not cause any sort of data loss, it is always a possibility. As most cracked screens are caused by drops or impacts, a phone may become unresponsive. In some situations leading to ghost touch and even getting disabled. We surveyed 48 cell phone repair shops and 17% reported data loss due to a disabled phone. Some smart phone users reported losing their data including photos and messages. Even though a cracked cell phone screen doesn’t directly cause data loss, it can lead to data loss if your cell phone becomes disabled due to ghost touch or malfunction. 

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