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How do I replace the glass cover, digitizer and display (LCD screen) on the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS?
If you are certain that the glass cover, the digitizer (the layer that responds to touch), or the LCD itself on your iPhone 3G or iPhone 3GS is broken -- it is visibly cracked, not responding correctly to touch, or a portion of the display does not "show up," for example -- Apple can replace it for a cost of US$199 plus US$6.95 shipping (plus applicable sales tax).
However, more affordable third-party services are available. If you are technically inclined and have the time to do so, replacing the display in the iPhone 3G or iPhone 3GS yourself is entirely possible, as well. Although the procedure is the same to replace the display in both devices, note that the part needed is different.
Specifically, the iPhone 3G is model number A1241 and the iPhone 3GS is A1303. The China-only iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS models that do not have wi-fi are model number A1324 and A1325, respectively. These models also can be differentiated by the last three characters of the serial number with EveryiPhone.com's Ultimate iLookup.
In addition to the last three characters of its serial number, EveryiPhone.com's Ultimate iLookup feature can identify each iPhone model by EMC number and order number (referred to as "Model" from within the iOS), as well.
Display Replacement Video Instructions
Should you opt for self-installation, be sure to buy the display assembly that is compatible with your device. Please note that installation is difficult and professional installation is recommended.
Nevertheless, for tech savvy individuals, site sponsor Mission Repair provides a video to replace the glass cover and digitizer (which are easier to replace as a single part) as well as the underlying LCD in the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS:
From watching the video, you should be able to determine whether or not you feel comfortable replacing the glass panel, digitizer and display yourself or if you would instead prefer to hire a professional.