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Many iOS device owners have been there. You're chugging along, getting the most out of your iPad mini, playing games and emailing your friends, when it slips out of your hand and lands face down on the hardwood floor of your house, cracking the screen and sending you into despair. Unfortunately, the glass screen that makes these devices so sleek and appealing is also what makes them fragile when they are dropped.

Apple products come with a one-year service warranty (along with three months of phone tech support). If you accidentally break the screen within that one-year time period, you'll be able to get it replaced by Apple twice for $49. But for many, the nightmare of the cracked screen occurs after the warranty expires, leaving them with few good choices.

On the one hand, you could send the device to Apple, which will simply replace the broken tablet with a new one for a fee of $219 ($299 for the iPad 4).

You could also try a number of DIY options that are available, which cost much less than sending the device to Apple for a replacement. But as MacRumors reports, changing the screen yourself can be a daunting, intimidating process if you're not a hardware engineer. 

The best option is to simply purchase AppleCare when you buy your iPad. It extends the warranty to three years, as well as provides tech support over the phone. You also get the peace of mind knowing that any accidental damage can be fixed with the $49 fee, and if the device malfunctions in any way, Apple will repair it for free. Why take the risk of going without the warranty and using a shady DIY option when Apple will handle it for you?

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