Inside Look: LCD Buy Back

Intro: LCD Recycling is a huge part of most repair shop's business and as one of the Nation's leading LCD recyclers it is something we get questions about all of the time. Today we wanted to give you an inside look into how we test and what we look for. Hopefully, this insight will help you better understand the recycling process and add value to your operation.

Testing Environment: First and foremost you have to be in a dark room. Light pollution will inhibit the ability to see flaws in the panel. Often this is where repair shops become frustrated. The display looked great on the home screen in a brightly lit room before they took it off, but when we look at the same display in a dark room on a gray or black display we can immediately see the problem. 

Testing Procedures: Prior to testing we have to receive, unpack, and sort. In the sorting process, we will separate the OEM from the AM panels and sort by model.

  • LCD Color Evaluation:
Black: When all or some of the LEDs are turned off then the screen should be black for that particular area. This is most common in dark mode of apps or when watching a video. If a particular LED or series of LEDs (a single pixel is made up of 3 individual cells colored red, green, blue) stay on then it will be visible on a black screen. When we look at an image that is completely black in color the backlight should be on and the LED cells should all be off(essentially prohibiting the light from passing through. These pixels then stay on because there is a broken connection and they are not receiving the signal that says turn off. Measuring brightness between a white display and a black display is basically how we measure contrast. This also allows us to be able to see intense pressure damage where it is affecting a series of LED cells. 
Cracked iPhone LCD
Everything Looks perfectly fine from the home screen, but once we move to a black background we can see the cells of the LCD are clearly damaged at the bottom. 
Broken iPhone LCD
This damage, which is only visible on the black background is one of our biggest frustrations with customers as they never see this blemish and so it often creates discrepancies. Making sure to check displays on multiple backgrounds can help clear up any of this prior to submitting a shipment. 
White: Primarily used for finding pixels that are always off, backlight issues, and dust that is between the backlight and LCD panel. Opposite of black, here we are looking for pixels that won't turn on. The way we make "white" with light is by adding all of the colors together. That means in order to see white on a display all of the cells of a pixel (red, green, blue) have to be on. This allows 100% of the light to pass through. When something obstructs the light like a missing pixel or dust then we can see it. We are also able to see pitting in the backlight.
Grey: Grey is made by mixing black and white. While black and white are technically not colors – black is a shade, while white is a tint – mixing the two in equal amounts yields a medium gray. No two pure colors can be mixed to make gray. So grey is a great place to find flaws that are not visible on black or are washed out on white. 
Our most common discrepancy though shows up in gray. Along the cracks, you can see the yellow and lighter gray discoloration. This will often lead to a higher degree of damage and visibility after refurbishment. 
  • 3D Touch Functionality: For this test, we engage the 3D touch function in 5 points across the display to ensure everything is functioning correctly
  • Touch Functionality: In our analysis of the touch we will drag either an app or the assistive touch icon all the way around the display and across the screen diagonally in both directions. 


  1. Excellent: This grade implies that the LCD and backlight are flawless and the only issue is the broken cover glass. 
  2. Good: These displays usually have some sort of missing pixels or backlight issue. 
  3. Fair: Dark pressure lines along cracks. These are some of the most frustrating ones to look for because they can be hard to see even for us, but after refurbishing they have a tendency to become much more obvious. 
  4. Damaged: Displays that have a partially ripped flex, small areas of bleeding that are not red.
  5. Copy: All aftermarket displays
  6. Bad: Broken LCD, Ripped Flex cables, LCDs with red and large areas of bleeding.

When thinking about these categories try to think about what quality of display you want to put on your customer's device. It is important to be strict in order to maintain the integrity of premium refurbs in the market place. 


Packaging for LCD buybacks should be just as secure as new parts, if not more. These displays have already been through a lot and are very fragile. It's a crucial step and there is no excuse anymore. All displays come in some sort of plastic protective packaging. all that you need to do is to put the core back into that packaging. It's already labeled and now it's safe, ready to be sorted and go into your buyback box.  

You can sign up, get pricing and instant labels directly from our site at www.ionrecycling.com



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