Thursday, June 10, 2010

In the Crapper No More!

This is the story of how I got my iPhone to work after an unfortunate swim in the porcelain pool.

For the short version of the story, read the blue text. Because if you dropped your phone in the loo, you do not have time to read this.

I feel the need to take a moment and defend my irresponsible behavior. One June 1, my sweet husband came and woke me up with a kiss and subsequently turned off my alarm. He assumed the personal attention should have been enough, right? Wrong. I am a three-snooze kind of girl. So I went back to sleep looking forward to that extra 27 minutes in bed. Which turned into an hour. When I finally woke up four minutes before I was supposed to leave, I raced around, attempting to multi-task my way out the door.

Insert iPhone in toilet.

After only a nanosecond of hesitation I stuck my hand in there, fished it out, and ran it over to the sink. I knew it was a bad idea, but I just had to attempt to sanitize it.

The phone was still glowing at the bottom of the bowl, but after several seconds under the faucet it went dark.

I shook out as much water as I could into a towel and tried to turn it on a couple of times, but nothing.

I somehow had the idea to stick it in rice to absorb some of the water, but we generally make Uncle Ben's 90-second Ready Rice. (Aside: If you have never tried this, you must. It tastes JUST as good as regular rice and, HELLO, 90 seconds!) I fished and fished and finally found a package of uncooked brown rice that I had gotten in a goodie bag at a 5K I ran... back in 2007.

I stuck the phone and the rice in a ziplock and raced out the door.

I left the phone in the rice most of the day and periodically took it out to see if it would come on. Everything I read online said whatever you do, DON'T plug it in. You probably shouldn't try to turn it on either, but I'd like to meet someone with that kind of patience. I also discovered the rice was getting stuck down in the headphone jack and plug connector slot area (technical term).

I read that silica gel packets that come with electronics work great. You should place them in an air tight container with the phone and don't touch it for a few days. After work I went to Hobby Lobby and bought silica gels in the floral department. The smallest bag was still way more than I needed, but $5.99 plus my 40% coupon was a small price to pay. (Aside: Why would you ever pay full price for anything at Hobby Lobby? If it's not 50% off it will be next week. And if you HAVE to have something, there's always a 40% coupon on the website for full-priced items.)

Since the silica gels I bought did not come in packets, and are the size of Malt-o-Meal grains, I wrapped the phone in cheese cloth before dropping it in the Tupperware. In the photo you can see they turn pink when saturated and go back to blue when you dry them out in the oven. I actually poured water on them here. There was no real sign of pink gels when I took my phone up.

The phone stayed out of sight (but never, ever out of mind) until June 4. That's three 1/2 days.

It turned on a little bit, but you could barely see anything on the screen and said it needed to be connected to iTunes. I plugged it in and iTunes asked me to restore the phone. I did, and had to hit the road for a trip, so I plugged it back into iTunes at my parents' house and restored it again.

Commence three straight days of the phone deciding whether it wanted to work or not. Sometimes the screen would be dark, sometimes it would be perfectly normal. On day 6 the phone came back to life but the home button thought it was pressed, and it just sat there sliding back and forth between the home screen and search screen. If I opened any program it would return to the home screen. Other times the home button wouldn't work at all. So if I wanted to flip between my email and maps (and why, on vacation in another state in which I was the designated navigator, would I ever need to access my email or maps?) I had to turn my phone on and off.

Then, on day 8, it worked again. Completely back to normal. It must have heard me talk about performing a sim card transplant on an old Blackberry. Or maybe it was jealous when EVERYBODY and their mom started talking about its younger, hotter sister, "4."

Now, I still don't have any contacts or anything because I never backed it up, but the phone is back in business.

What's the moral of the story kids? Back up your phone as often as possible and don't check your email in the john!

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