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July 16, 2012

Keep your iPhone Dry or the Price to Fix Will Make You Cry


Water damage, the number one killer of iPhones, is notoriously not covered by Apple’s (News - Alert) warranty. And of course, the cost for repairing water damage is notoriously high. Now Apple has added an outside-the-case detection patent to the iPhone which will let users know if their iPhone (News - Alert) has water damage, but only after it’s too late to do anything about it.

“I think the patent is more consumer friendly. Consumers can’t crack open a case, so a lot of times they go to an Apple Store and are surprised to find out a failure is caused by water damage It becomes kind of confrontational.” said Ty Shay, chief marketing officer at third-party warranty provider SquareTrade. This quote proves the patent is more for staff at Apple than it is for consumers: finding out about the water damage at home will ease tensions at the Apple store, but it won’t ease the overall tensions of customers who find themselves in this expensive position.

Bottom-line, the patent isn’t entirely helpful, so in case you are one of the millions who has dropped their phone in the toilet or been pushed in the pool with the phone still in your pocket, here’s a list to help you keep that iPhone dry so the price for repair won’t make you cry.

1) Do not take your phone into a bathroom if you can help it. Having the iPhone anywhere near water is hazardous, so balancing the phone by the sink or placing it on the floor of the bathroom during use is not the best idea. Sure, this will help avoid the phone’s plunging into the toilet, but in such a watery environment the phone could easily meet an early and watery demise anyway.

2) Steam can damage iPhones. If someone is taking a shower, the phone should be as far away as possible. Don’t discount steam.

3) If you have obnoxious friends who will push you in a pool at some point this summer, keep the phone somewhere else. Your need to constantly be in touch while hanging around a lake or pool could spell the end of your favorite way to keep in touch—your iPhone—and you might not be able to afford the replacement. You could end up with a less-capable and less-expensive phone you do not want, so keep your pockets empty and your bag inside at the pool-party.

4) Your bag can be a dangerous place too, however, if you have bottled water or suntan lotion or other liquids inside. Caps aren’t always sealed properly, and they will leak into the bag—problem is you won’t only have to buy a new bag. Even the condensation outside of liquid containers can leak into the delicate iPhone, so your best bet is to seal the phone in a plastic zip-lock bag. That might not be a cool-looking case, but it will keep your iPhone alive longer.

5) If a waiter spills a drink on your phone, the restaurant is not responsible for the accident, and will not pay for the damage. Don’t place the iPhone on the table when eating, because it won’t only be embarrassing if you spill on yourself during a date, but it could be costly.

6) Our iPhones aren’t even safe from ourselves—for those who use their iPhones to listen to music or consult an exercise-related app, be careful of sweat. Tavis McGinn, a researcher at SquareTrade says “People don’t realize that the iPhone is very sensitive to humidity, steam and perspiration.”  

After such a long list of don’ts when it comes to iPhone use, here’s a do: if your iPhone does get wet, put it immediately in a bowl of uncooked rice, and leave it there for 24 hours. The rice will wick out the humidity and return the phone to its dry norm, so that once all the moisture is out the phone can be started up again.

“If a lot of people did that, they’d have a pretty good chance of saving their phone,” says Shay.




Edited by Juliana Kenny
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