Tempered glass is impact resistant and is often used to cover fragile surfaces such as phone screens. If your tempered glass screen breaks, you can lift it up to expose the (hopefully) undamaged surface underneath. Tempered glass is usually stuck with an adhesive that must first be heated to come loose. Then the thin sheet of toughened glass must be slowly removed to allow it to be replaced.
Method 1 of 3: Remove the glass by hand
Step 1. Heat the glass with a hair dryer on a low setting for 15 seconds
The heat loosens the adhesive under the glass, making it easier to remove. Tempered glass should be heated briefly and on a low heat setting to prevent damage to the components underneath. Make sure the glass is nice and warm, but not hot to the touch.
If you don't have a hair dryer, you can try another heat source. If you keep the screen near a hot stove, open fire or oven, or leave it in a steamy bathroom, the glue could melt
Step 2. Lift one corner of the glass with your fingernails
Dig with your fingernails until you see the bottom of the tempered glass. You should at least be able to remove a corner from the surface below. However, don't rush. Gently lift the corner, but try not to pull the rest of the glass loose.
- Try all angles. You can usually find one that comes loose. If none of the corners come loose, heat the glass a second time to loosen the adhesive.
- If the glass is cracked near one of the corners, choose a different corner to avoid breaking it into much smaller pieces.
Step 3. Move your fingers under the glass
As you peel it off, the thin layer of tempered glass will separate from the surface below. The edges of the glass will start to rise first. Slide your hand under these edges to support the glass so it doesn't break into pieces. Do this even if you have already removed a small piece of cracked glass to prevent it from cracking further.
Tempered glass is very thin and therefore vulnerable. Broken glass leaves a lot of loose fragments that you have to peel away by hand. The only way to avoid this is to be very careful
Step 4. Peel back the tempered glass slowly and evenly
Peel off the glass in as even a layer as possible. Slide your hands along the loose edges of the glass to avoid lifting one side more than the other. Keep doing this until the piece of glass is gone and repeat the process with the remaining pieces.
All small and shattered pieces of tempered glass can be picked up in the same way. While this can be a bit tedious, they are easier to peel back than the main piece
Method 2 of 3: Using a credit card
Step 1. Heat the glass on a low heat setting for 15 seconds
Use an appliance such as a hair dryer, if you have one. Heat the glass until it feels warm all over but not hot. This should loosen the glue holding the glass in place.
While you may be able to warm the glass by holding it close to a match or lighter, you probably won't be able to get the entire plate to a consistent temperature and the components underneath could be damaged. You can try warming up a corner to make lifting easier
Step 2. Use the tip of a toothpick to pry one corner of the glass
It is important to make sure that the toothpick is at the correct angle so that it does not damage what is under the tempered glass. Pick a corner and hold the toothpick flat next to it. Slide the tip of the toothpick under the piece of glass, then pull it up until you can slide your fingers under it.
- Never press a pointed toothpick down at an angle. For example, removing tempered glass from a phone could scratch the screen underneath.
- If you don't have a toothpick handy, you may be able to pry the glass with your fingers or another sharp object, such as a fork.
Step 3. Lift the edges of the glass with your fingers
Be very careful, especially if the glass is cracked. Tempered glass is brittle and can easily break into smaller pieces. Slide your finger along the outside edge of the piece of glass you want to remove. Lift it up enough to slide the edge of a credit card underneath.
This works for cracked or smaller pieces of glass as well as whole pieces, but don't pull the glass too far in one direction. Lift each piece at an even rate to prevent it from turning into a puzzle of shards
Step 4. Slide a credit card under the glass to pull it off
Place the card under the glass corner you lifted. Push the card forward slowly. This separates the tempered glass from the surface below. Lift the glass piece evenly until you can remove it, then repeat with the remaining pieces.
- Be sure to use a hard plastic card, such as a credit card, library card, or ID card.
- You can usually use a credit card to remove the entire piece of glass. If the piece of glass is larger than the length of the card, such as on an iPad, use your fingers to lift the glass evenly.
Method 3 of 3: Removing glass with duct tape
Step 1. Heat the glass for 15 seconds until the glue is loose
A hair dryer on a low setting, or other similar object, is a good and safe source of heat. Let the glass get warm, but don't overheat it. It should not burn your fingers if you touch it.
Step 2. Wrap a piece of duct tape around two fingers
Duct tape seems to have an unlimited number of uses, so it's not surprising that you can use it to remove a tough piece of glass. Wrap the tape tightly around your fingers. Make sure the sticky part of the tape is on the outside.
Doing this with your index and middle fingers may be the easiest way, but you can use other fingers if you prefer
Step 3. Press the tape against a corner of the glass
Pick a corner of the glass to work on. All angles are fine for this as long as there are no cracks nearby. For cracked pieces, choose an edge that you can reach with the tape. Keep pressing the tape down until the glass sticks to it.
- If you can't get one corner stuck, try another corner. Sometimes the corners can be stubborn because the glue underneath hasn't come loose enough.
- If you have trouble picking up a corner, reheat the glass. You can pick a corner and concentrate the heat on it to make sure the glue weakens.
Step 4. Slowly roll the tape to the other end of the glass
Raise your fingers and move them to the other end of the glass. The piece of glass should last. Be careful and make sure it comes off the surface below at an even rate. Once you can remove the piece of glass, use the tape on all the remaining pieces.
Sometimes the glass shatters because one side comes up faster than the other. This will give you some smaller shards that you can remove with your fingers or the tape
- Consider replacing the removed tempered glass. You can buy new glass kits that prevent screens from scratching and other unsightly damage.
- Always heat the glass first, if possible. The solidified glue under tempered glass can make removing it frustrating.
- Tempered glass is fragile when lifted from a surface. While fragmented glass is not a major problem, it can be tedious to remove the small shards. Lift the glass as evenly as possible to avoid this.
- After removing the glass, check the surface to make sure nothing is left behind. Clean the surface with warm water and a microfiber cloth in preparation for a new piece of glass.