I admit that I like to listen to my iPhone naked. Some find it odd and a little riske but I like to plop my iPhone on a shelf, crank up the volume, and start my morning right with my favorite Armstrong & Getty podcast and a shower. My secret was safe until one fateful day when my screen went out upon exiting my car. No problem, Apple has great customer service, right? I got myself an appointment at the local Apple store and was set. As it turned out the thought of being without my iBrain was more than I could bear. When I started to get the shakes I realized it was time to go in a day earlier, just in case they could squeeze me in.
I got the attention of a nice kid standing there trying to look busy. He let me know that they really had to stick to the set appointments, but after some persuasion he decided to give it a quick look. I was thrilled as he walked over to the Genius bar and grabbed a flashlight. My smile quickly became a frown when he turned around. He headed back towards me with the same look the Dr. has right before he tells you the bad news. “Your iPhone has water damage”
WHAT!???!! That’s not possible! The screen went out because I dropped.. wait. I couldn’t tell him how it was working just fine until it had slipped out of my hand onto the ground. I couldn’t debate with him how a cell phone should be able to withstand a 2 foot drop as the countless other less expensive phones that I have dropped did. It didn’t matter that the iPhone is only slightly less slippery than a bar of soap. The verdict was in. There are water sensors on the iPhone and apparently my naked escapades had allowed the sensors to turn red. I was no different than someone who joined the “iPhone in the toilet club”. Next he let me know the good news. I could get a gently used refurbished iPhone for only $200.00. This was not ok.
I stormed out of the store with a new mission. It was time to go to the Internet cloud and see what could be done. I found that I was not alone. There were literally hundreds upon hundreds of stories just like mine. Sometimes the sensor will get wet from sweat dripping down the headphone cord and into the sensor that is in the headphone jack. Sometimes people would just be running to the car when it starts to sprinkle and a drop of water would get on the sensor just underneath the sync port. There were many suggestions and stories about people who had tried putting a small piece of tissue in the head phone jack to make it look white again. There were just as many stories of people who had gotten shamed when the nice kid blew a shot of compressed air in the headphone jack to blow that tissue out. It worked for some people. The penalty for losing this game was a $200.00 refurb and some serious stink eye. These are Geniuses we are dealing with here folks.
But I knew something they did not know. They had no idea that I was the local 2005 champion of (Drunken) Operation. When I was first awarded the championship, I had no idea how honing the skills of manipulating objects in a deep crevasse surrounded by metal and startling buzzers would pay off, but now I saw it all coming together. I grabbed my fresh bottle of White Out and went for it. This was no funny bone…
The store was full of cheery people with smiles you only get from touching some good tech. But I wasn’t here for smiles. I was focused. The Genius walked over and shook my hand. I explained how the screen mysteriously went out “on it’s own” as he reached for his holstered flashlight. It was on! He peered down the headphone jack intensely, peeked at the sync connector and then stared at me for a moment before he said, “Cool. Well, I’m gonna take this in the back and replace your screen. Should be about 15 mins.” Whew! It wasn’t time to celebrate just yet. He might see remanence of the White Out when he takes it apart. This is where I would see just how good my (Drunken) Operation skills were.
To my relief he came back with a fully working iPhone. He explained that sometimes the screen connector can get jostled around but he went ahead and replace the screen entirely. Of course 15 mins is all I needed to find out that they had some of those cool battery extenders, and some extra sync cable chargers, and shiny objects, and stylin drop resistant cases. He sent me on my way and I was out only $200.00 from the extra stuff I bought. Funny how things work out.
So here is the scoop. If your iPhone water sensors turn pink somehow and you did not actually drop your phone in water, then use a little bit of white out to turn them white again. If you did immerse your iPhone in water then there are 2 more sensors on the inside of the phone that will give you away so don’t even try. (You might still be able to revive your phone but Keeter will tell you all about that.) To see if the sensor in the headphone jack turned pink you are gonna need a good flashlight to peer the light right down in there. This headphone jack sensor actually only goes half pink. Don’t trust a room light as I thought mine was fine until I got the flashlight. The other external sensor is just inside the smallest gap on the sync cable connector. I was lucky enough to not get this one pink so I don’t know if the white out trick will work on that one, but you can give it a try.
Is this legal? Well, I’m glad you asked. And yes. As sole owner of your iPhone you are allowed to do absolutely anything you want to it (for example). Nobody can tell you what you can or cannot do with your possessions, but know that Apple is also allowed to tell you that you voided your warranty with this move.
One more thing: Option 3
If you were not an Operation champion and you should fail, the nice Genius boy will give you two options after he is done ridiculing you. 1) You can get a refurb for $200.000, or 2) You can pay to have yours fixed. When they ask you what you want, lower your voice, give them a little nudge and tell them you want… “Option 3”. I didn’t need to activate Option 3, but there are some saying that this will allow you to get a brand new iPhone instead of the gently used one for your $200. I am told you can only do this once. I don’t know first hand if this actually works but the worst that can happen is more embarrassment and since you epically failed you should be numb to humiliation as this point.