iPhones don’t like water

October 21, 2013 at 12:16 pm

Anyone who’s had the unfortunate event of dropping their iPhone or other smart phone into water can probably tell you, electronic devices don’t like water. Well, let me tell you about our little event, and the temptation we faced and almost fell into.

Let me start out by first identifying the cute criminal:


Crime: Tossing a nearly new iPhone 5 into the toilet.

It’s been a few weeks now, but we went up to Fort Caswell, NC. We had a blast, even with the tossed iPhone, we still had a great time. Anyway, we were out and about one morning, and after some activities, we came back to the room to take a short nap, and prepare for lunch. We walked into the room, and set our stuff down. There was a little mini refrigerator, and presumably my wife sat her iPhone on top of that. We can’t be sure where the iPhone was, we don’t remember. The way the room was arranged, you had a bathroom sink in the middle, a shower to the left, and a toilet to the right. The shower was in it’s own room, with a door, and the toilet had it’s own room with a door. We don’t usually close doors (though I imagine this policy might be changing), so everything was wide open.

Cristy was at the sink, and was getting ready for the second half of our day. I was laying on the bed checking out Facebook and CNN. I glanced up and saw Emilee beside Cristy, not seemingly getting into anything, so I resumed browsing CNN. The next thing we heard, was a nice little kerplunk. You know, the kind that you hear when you drop a semi heavy object into a toilet. Cristy looked inside, and what she saw resulted in an “Oh crap!”. She saw her nice iPhone 5 sinking to the bottom of the toilet. Now before you ask, yes, the toilet was clean, as in we hadn’t used it.

We pulled the phone out as quickly as possible, it was no more than probably 30 seconds. We knew the first step to take was to power the device off. As we were attempting that, lines started appearing in the screen, and it shorted out with a faint pop before we could turn it off. I knew it was probably a goner, but we had to try. So rather than enjoy a nap, we headed off to Walmart. Our mission: to buy rice and ziplock bags. I had heard and read online that rice can sometimes draw the moisture out. So, we placed the phone in the rice. We left it in there until we got home, which was over 48 hours later. I had tools to take iPhones apart with, but being on vacation I didn’t have them with me. So, the rice trick was our only option at the time.

Once we got home, we tried powering it back on. Didn’t work. Now that we were home, I decided to crack open the phone. There was still droplets of water, visible water, couldn’t miss it. While inside, I noticed else, the screws were rusted already. Yes, after only three days, the screws rusted. After researching more online, I read that soaking all the parts in high proof rubbing alcohol can fix it. It works by evaporating the water. I tried that, still wouldn’t turn on.

In a last ditch effort, we went to the Apple store. We explained the issue (with full honesty), and were aware the warranty didn’t cover water damage, but we hoped the Apple store would take pity on us. We read online where sometimes the Apple store would have mercy on poor victims like us. I mean, look at how cute the criminal was :-). They took it in the back, and took a look at it. The tech came back and said it was bad, pretty much the whole phone. From my own investigation, I knew it was bad. The only thing they could offer was an out of warranty repair for $269.

Here comes the part about how we got tempted, and nearly fell. See, my wife and I are on a get out of debt mission. Here were our options: replace the phone with a refurbished out of warranty repair for $269, or do the Verizon Edge (it’s a new program that lets you buy a phone at full retail cost, and make payments overtime). Looking at the $269, that wasn’t too bad. We had the money in our emergency fund for it. Isn’t our emergency fund for replacing dunked phones? Although we nearly took this option, we came to our senses, the emergency fund is not for that purpose. Next option, use Verizon Edge, and pay $700 for a phone over 24 months. It’s only $24 to $28 a month, that’s a piece of cake! Again, we were tempted. We decided against that option. One, it’s just a phone, it isn’t worth derailing our whole get out of debt efforts. $30 a month for 24 months is crazy. Paying $700 for a phone is crazy.

We decided on option number three. We activated an old dumb phone on our account, which is what Cristy is using to this day. Yes, she hates it. Right now, we’re waiting on our contract to be up, where we can get a new phone at a heavily subsidized rate. It’s a lot cheaper that way. I’m proud of both of us for choosing to wait. It was a hard choice. It nearly undid months of progress on getting out of debt. It was shocking how quickly and how strongly we were tempted to abandon our efforts. On a side note, since Cristy’s iPhone was now worthless, we decided to check into selling it. Gazelle offered us $120 for it, and we said sure. So now, we’ve got $120 for a paperweight. We’ve got a contract coming up in December, and Cristy is looking at a Samsung Galaxy S4. With a contract renewal, those run about $199. So now we have $120 from the sale of the iPhone 5 to go against the $199 of the new phone. Although Cristy is having to wait, she’s scored pretty good.

Are you getting out of debt? What temptations have you faced? Don’t feel bad if you’ve fallen. Cristy and I have messed up several times, we just got lucky on this one. If you’re getting out of debt too, just remember to be patient, and keep your eye on the prize. Remember, when you’re debt free, you’ll probably have so much money freed up to where you can buy an iPhone outright without any issue. Leave your story in the comments below! Also, please like and share on Facebook!

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