How to Make an iTurd

Bang, Splorksh.

I love my kid. Really, I do. But that’s the sound of my iPhone falling in the toilet.

As I walk in, I see my little guy diligently rinsing the iPhone in the sink. “Mom, it fell in the toilet and got dirty so I’m cleaning it for you.”

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Photo by Katie

In probably one of the most restrained parenting moments I’ve ever had, I somehow manage to avoid screaming like fire ants are biting my privates and tackling him.

I take the iPhone and try to breathe normally as I quickly dry it off with a towel.

Now, I lay the blame for this completely on my shoulders.

In one of the dumbest parenting moments I’ve ever had, I passed Cole the iPhone to use in the bathroom in a moment of desperation so I could write an overdue email.

So, my iPhone has not only been dropped in the toilet, it’s now been rinsed in the sink. Thoroughly.

Oh. Shit.

Literally. There’s still shit on my iPhone. Not only does my son have butter fingers but his cleaning skills are obviously sorely lacking.

Now, I set some sort of typing speed record for Googling “dropped my iPhone in the toilet. Help!

The mighty Google tells me to turn it off, dry it off completely and drop it in a bag of uncooked rice. Unfortunately, we’re in the middle of a small town in Spain, with no supermarket open anywhere this time of night.

Luckily, I do have wine. It does nothing for the phone but it sure helps me.

I settle for turning it off, dabbing off the phone with a towel and standing it up to dry. To give you an idea of how wet it got, water is still dripping out 20 minutes later…

I don’t even consider pulling the phone apart to take out the battery. iPhones aren’t meant to be dismantled by us mere mortals and besides, we don’t have the tools for it. All night, the iPhone turns on and off as if possessed until the battery finally drains.

We’re on the road the entire next day and, because it’s Sunday, all the shops we pass are closed. Finally, two days later we get a bag of rice. I drop the phone in, thinking that only a miracle will save it. After five days in rice, we pull the phone out and plug it in.

Mary. Mother. Of… it’s charging!

Believe it or not, this story has a happy ending. Three weeks later, the phone’s still working perfectly. Screen looks sharp, mic and speakers working fine, battery lasting as long as it ever has.

Even the fact it turned on after all that is amazing.

Friends, the fact it works as good as ever, is a modern day Easter miracle.

What I did to save my iPhone from its toilet baptism

  1. Freak out. You’re going to anyway. We may as well make it official.
  2. Do not turn the phone on to see if it still works! This will likely cause the phone to short circuit.
  3. Grab a towel and dry the iPhone off as best as you can.
  4. DO NOT use a blow dryer to dry, even on the cool setting. Heat on electronic circuits may damage the phone and wind might push water further into the device.
  5. Turn the phone off completely. To do this, hold the power button on the top of the phone down for several seconds, until a slide to power off message appears on the screen. Do not, under any circumstances, turn your iPhone on again. This is the kiss of death, apparently. If it turns itself back on, there’s not much you can do except just let the battery run itself dead.
  6. I debated long and hard whether to open the phone and remove the battery. In the end, I decided to keep the phone closed, as I was worried that I might push water further around in the phone by opening it up and iPhones are quite tricky to put back together again.
  7. Feel free to pop open the SIM tray and remove the SIM card (a pin or paperclip works well if you don’t have the included clip). Just put the pin into the center of the SIM hole and push it in until it slightly pops open. Pull the tray right out at this point.
  8. Put the phone in a dessicant like dry white rice in a sealed container or ziplock bag for at least 3 days (72 hours) though longer is often considered better (we left ours for 5 days and the usual recommendation is 7 to 10 days). Do not turn the phone on to check it at any point during this time. You can use other desiccants like silica gel or DampRid, but most people have easy access to dry rice.
  9. After drying the phone out for a week, gently remove any rice grains from the phone and clean off any rice powders that may have accumulated.
  10. Completely charge phone. If nothing happens right away give it a little longer. Some people suggest an overnight charge.
  11. Right now might not be a bad time to backup anything from the phone in case there is permanent damage. You might only have a small window of opportunity to grab your photos, emails or contact lists before the phone shuts itself off permanently. Don’t overwrite your last backup since your phone could literally die at any moment during the transfer.
  12. Now it’s time to turn it on and test out if everything is working correctly. Make sure the screen, mic, speakers (at the bottom and the headset) and the headphone plug all work.
  13. Now is the final test, put the SIM card back in and make a test call.
  14. If your phone won’t turn on or take a charge, take it to an Apple store to have a technician take a look at it. If your phone is a writeoff, Apple has good deals on refurbished phones for people who do dumb things to their old phones. You won’t be getting the newest version (unless your phone was the newest version) however the phone they give you will have a brand new battery and will look and act just like new. We know a few people who have gone this route when their phones started misbehaving after it’s had an “accident” and they were quite pleased with how it turned out.

If you’re tired of your iPhone, now might also be a good time to check out what else is out there and to start shopping for something new.

This time around, you might even want to think of including an extended warranty that will cover your phone when these types of accidents happen.

As the old saying goes, if it can happen once, it can probably happen again. Just please don’t let it be my fault!

7 Responses

    • Charles Kosman

      Erin, sorry to say I’m not too sure rice would be that helpful with your stolen phone. (That sucks by the way, especially when you’re on the road.)

      Of course, if you happened to see them taking it, you could probably hit them with a big bag of the stuff. Some of those bags weigh a few kilograms for sure. I’m also thinking that if you dropped a bunch o rice on the ground they might slip and fall as they’re running away. They would also be so surprised at being pelted with it that it might just slow them down enough to nab them. :)

      As a preventative measure, if you kept your cell permanently in a bag of rice the likelihood of someone finding it in there would be fairly low so that’s always a possibility. Unless they got hungry while raiding your kitchen and decided on a quick meal. That would suck.

      Finally the only other thing I can think of is exchanging someone a bag of rice for a new phone. They’d have to like rice an awful lot though. ;)

      Not quite a post but it was a fun exercise. Thanks Erin, hope you guys are doing well!

      Reply

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