My Wet iPhone 3GS

My iPhone went in the pool with me last Sunday.

I didn’t get too far into the water when I realized it, but I immediately took it out of my pocket and threw it in a towel in a bag and left it alone. By the time swim time was over with my daugther and we got home, the phone was dead as a doornail.

Well, not completely. Throwing it in airplane mode elicited a vibration. But the screen wouldn’t come on, and there was a white border along the upper corner of the screen. Water droplets were visible on the camera lens.

The phone was a goner. After two years of owning it without ever dunking it in the toilet, and two months before the next generation phone was due out, I had hosed my phone. Granted, Apple had a program letting me buy a new one for $199 one time only without affecting the carrier contract. But that’s still $200 more than I had to spend.

Thankfully, I had read about this kind of thing before, and my wife did a quick Google for it to confirm what I had read. So here’s what I did on Sunday afternoon:

  1. Removed the SIM card. There was water on it. Dabbed it dry, laid it aside.

  2. Took a blow dryer and blew into every open hole of the iPhone — namely, the spot where the SIM card slid out, the headphone jack, and the connector port at the bottom.

2a. After a couple of minutes of hot air, the camera lens was clear again.

2b. Two minutes later, the camera lens was covered in droplets and had to be blown dry again.

  1. Took a sandwich-sized zip-lock bag, filled it with white rice (thankfully, we had some in the kitchen), and put the phone in there, with the wet side sticking most conspicuously into the rice.

  2. Waited. A couple hours later, I did a quick round of blow drying. The camera lens was half covered, but that quickly evaporated.

  3. Put it back in the bag of rice overnight.

5a. Before going to bed, I turned the phone over.

  1. The next morning, plugged the SIM card back in, held down the power button, and — nothing.

  2. Plugged the phone in. The battery was drained dry. The phone must have been on the entire time.

  3. With enough power in it, the phone responded to the home button and came to life. The screen responded to touches. The camera took perfectly clear pictures. So I turned the phone back off —

  4. — No, I didn’t. The power button at the top of the phone didn’t work. The water did its damage there. So anytime I wanted to put the phone to sleep, I had to wait for it. The worst part of that? No screen shots.

  5. Also, the phone thought there were headphones plugged in at all times. That’s the way it behaved. So, no sounds, and no phone calls without Blue Tooth or ear buds plugged in.

  6. By Monday night, the power button was working again, and the iPhone recognize that there wasn’t anything plugged into the headphone jack.

  7. As of Wednesday morning, the only defect on the phone is that the volume up button doesn’t work. I can turn it down, but never back up again. Airplane mode works fine, though.

  8. Now, a week later, I’m back to not being able to talk regularly on the handset. It’s back to thinking the headset is plugged in continuously, I guess. So it’s speakerphone, headset, or Blue Tooth for all phone calls now. And the volume up button is still hosed. The camera continues to work perfectly.

I just need it to last another month or two. C’mon, iPhone, you can do it!