What Mobile
November 18, 2019

… And a million can barely read their phone screens because they are so badly damaged

  • Half of Brits have smashed at least one smartphone screen in their lifetime
  • One in 10 Brits have cracked a mobile phone screen the day they bought it
  • And one in 10 have dropped a mobile phone in the toilet or bath

Almost six million Brits[ are walking around with cracked smartphone screens and almost a million can barely read their screens because they are so badly damaged, according to a survey conducted by specialist gadget insurer Protect Your Bubble.

A poll of 1,017 smartphone owners by, found that almost a fifth (18%) have a cracked phone screen. With 78% of UK adults – over 32 million people – now owning a smartphone, according to Ofcom figures from 2017, that equates to 5.9 million Brits putting up with a damaged screen.

Amongst younger smartphone users, the percentage is even higher, with over a third (34%) of under 35s admitting their phone screen is cracked. This compares to just 8% of 45-year-olds and over.

Most of us are willing to put up with the inconvenience of a small crack on our phone screen, but one in six (16%) smartphone owners with cracked screens said their displays are so badly smashed that they can barely read them. That’s 960,000 Brits struggling to read their phone screens. Half said it actually hurts to touch the screen because of glass splinters. 

And smashing a smartphone screen seems to be contagious. Half of all users polled said they’d cracked at least one screen in their lifetime and more than a quarter (28%) said they’d broken at least two screens. Again, the figures are worse amongst younger users, with more than three quarters (77%) of 16-34 year olds, admitting they’ve cracked at least one screen in their lifetime, and over a third (38%) said they had cracked three screens or more.

When it comes to replacing a phone screen, we don’t seem to be in a rush to get it fixed, even if the screen is damaged beyond repair. Of those smartphone users polled with cracked screens, only 15% plan to have their device repaired any time soon. 

And men are more likely to get their phone screens fixed quickly than women, with 40% of men doing so within a week, compared to just 31% of women. 

Butterfinger Brits

It is hardly surprising so many of us are walking around with smashed screens when according to those smartphone owners polled, they drop their phones on average once a week. More than a quarter said they dropped their phones at least twice a week. 

With just 40% of users admitting they have a protective cover/case for their expensive gadgets, that’s a lot of potential screen breaking opportunities.

The poll also revealed that 16-24 year olds are three times more likely to drop their smartphones than the over 55s – no surprise there! 

One in ten (10%) mobile phone users said they had smashed a screen within the first week of owning their phone. One in five 25-34 year olds admitted they had damaged a screen within the first week, and 10% said they’d actually damaged a screen on the day of purchase.

More than a quarter of Brits (27%) smashed their phone screen after it slipped out of their pocket, with 8% confessing they had dropped their smartphone while drunk – this figure rises to 17% amongst 25-34 year olds. One in ten said they have dropped a mobile phone in the toilet or bath.


More than half (52%) of smartphone users said they spent less than £10 on protecting their gadget with a case or screen. A third (32%) said they had spent less than £5. With many smartphones costing hundreds of pounds, and premium models such as the iPhone 11 setting you back £700 to £1000, it’s surprising how few people invest in cases and screens.

James Brown, director of gadget insurance provider Protect Your Bubble comments: “Considering that the smartphone has become such a huge part of our everyday life, and the workhorse of the gadget world, it’s surprising that so many of us are happy to soldier on with cracked screens that are barely readable and in many cases painful to touch.

“Maybe an obstructed view is not such an issue when texting or calling, but we also use our smartphones for day-to-day tasks such as paying bills, bank account transfers, online shopping and in-car sat navs, when a clear view may be more critical.

“Most of us can’t live without our smartphones, and yet many of us are willing to live without a perfectly clear screen, particularly when the cost of replacing it can run into hundreds of pounds on more expensive models.

“It’s worth considering phone or gadget insurance if you don’t already have it. Why live with a smashed screen that is driving you crackers, especially if you’ve spent hundreds of pounds on a smartphone when specialist phone insurance will cover accidental damage.”

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