It should come as no surprise that just about everyone in my family has an Apple iPhone. The only hold-out is my son, who is running an Android device currently. When my 14yo dropped her iPhone 6 in water she had, well, a sinking feeling about it: The phone was completely dead. But with a little help from UBreakIFix it’s good as new!
It’s only recently that water proofing technologies have improved to the point where our devices can start being truly water resistant and reasonably waterproof, whether a tablet, smartphone or even a laptop. Earlier generation devices – including my daughter’s iPhone 6 – didn’t have that benefit, however, and instead Apple just has water sensors so they can ascertain if it’s gotten wet when you go in for service. The latest gen finally gained water proof tech, but that didn’t help my 14yo when she accidentally dropped her phone into a bowl of water.
Yes, she fished it out as quickly as she could and shook it off to try and get the water out of the various ports and holes, but that was enough to hasten its demise: Even after a few days of sitting in rice (we’ll get back to that in a second) it was kaput with nothing happening on charge. Probably exacerbating the situation, she tried to plug the phone in just a few minutes after she’d dried it off while there was undoubtedly still moisture in the device. But… user error or bad device design? Or just bad karma?
We did the “stick it in a bag of rice” strategy but while it’s theoretically a dessicant, the reality is that it didn’t work and that repair places recommend that you don’t do this because the rice dust is also not your device’s friend. So what to do? Just chuck the phone? We tried the TekDry device at Staples.com that promises $80 to dry it out completely or you pay nothing. We tried. It didn’t fix it. We paid nothing. Fair enough.
Then I reached out to the local UBreakIFix store based on a recommendation and they said they were quite experienced repairing iPhones after water or liquid damage. I got rid of all the rice dust as best I could, hopped into the car and drove down to the Boulder, Colorado store. The exterior is unassuming and the interior is rather stark, but I wasn’t heading there for retail store design aesthetics, but to fix a phone!
It was rather surprisingly busy with people dropping off and picking up their devices, but when I handed over the iPhone 6 and told them ‘water damage’ the response was “no worries, we’ll call you in a few hours with a diagnosis”. And sure enough, about 3 hours later I got a call with the good news: They’d pulled it apart and ascertained that the screen had been fried. Not good. But to my surprise, the cost of the repair, including diagnostics and post-repair testing, was going to be a flat $109. For a new screen. Compared to $80 for the TekDry that wasn’t going to make the phone any better (had it have worked).
I greenlit the repair and the following morning got a call that they were running extensive diagnostics and needed the PIN so they could also test the GPS system, etc. Fortunately, I know my daughter’s PIN and could share that with UBreakIFix and next thing I knew, they were calling to say it was done, fixed, and ready to pick up. Elapsed time, about 24 hours total.
Here it is, alive and sporting a swanky new iPhone screen:
You’ll note it complain about no SIM card. That’s because I popped it out as soon as my daughter told me about the water damage: no reason to mess up the card and that’s also a spot where moisture can accumulate too. Easy enough to pop it back in once fixed, of course.
Total stress level prior to taking the phone in: 100%, mostly my daughter. Total cost for the repair: $109.99 plus tax. Total time from dropping it off to being able to pick it up, fixed and ready to go: 24 hours.
Big props to the team at UBreakIFix Boulder for their fast, efficient and police service. My daughter’s way happier now and we just need to figure out how she’s going to pay back the cost of the repair in chores and other tasks around the house…
Disclosure: UBreakIFix actually covered the costs of this repair in return for us writing about the experience online. Which was darn lucky for my daughter, wasn’t it?