Japan has a cheap, quick fix for cracked iphone screens

In terms of first world problems, the biggest one is probably a cracked phone screen.

While there are plenty of independent shops in major cities that provide screen replacement services, they’re not cheap (though still cheaper than, say, taking it into the Apple store) and you’re at risk of voiding your warranty. There are self-fix kits available on the web, but those require a bit of work at home and they cost more than a hundred US dollars too. But you can’t just let your phone stay wounded. So what to do? Put a Band-Aid on it. Specifically, a Japanese one: bansouko.

Yup, Japanese company Pitamo has developed what they’ve dubbed the “smartphone band-aid,” and it’s a DIY dual-layer screen cover that will only set you back 980 yen, or about $8 US dollars.

The process requires a bit of handiwork at home that involves first tracing an outline of your phone on the two-layered sticker sheet. Then you simply tape them on your phone’s face as if you’re applying a screen cover.

What sets this apart from conventional screen covers is, as mentioned earlier, that it’s got two layers of film, each made of a different material. The base layer works to hold the glass in place to prevent the crack from spreading and growing — which will happen unless you take precautions; the top layer is like the matte plastic screen covers that most people have on their phones.

Once it’s on, press your fingertips across any bubbles that may have popped up. Squeeze the air out of it, as if you’re popping a zit. The package suggests you leave it on for 48 hours before using, but who can go that long without a smartphone? That 48-hour wait is over-erring on the side of caution. You can begin using the phone after half an hour or so.

The bottom layer does a good job of sealing the screen in place and making the cracks finer and harder to see. Your phone will obviously look scarred, but it will be usable — including all multi-touch gestures that might have been lost earlier from the cracks.

The kit is available on Japanese websites now. But there’s a very, very good chance it’ll be available on Amazon or eBay soon.