freak accident

I had a freak accident two Saturdays ago, during which I destroyed my beloved iPhone. It threw me for quite a loop and I believe that yesterday was the first day that I fully recovered. So now I am finally able to blog again. But it was almost like I lost all communication devices for a full week – my iPhone, the blogging side of my brain, and, coincidentally, my cable.

Thanks, It Takes a Planet!

First of all, I have been trying to do my part by reducing my use of plastic bags. I have three bags that I carry with me every time I go to the grocery store. Once, I spent so much money at Whole Foods that they gave me this really nice insulated bag for free. I use it for all of my cold items and two giant bags for other items, like produce and canned goods. My logic is that I can quickly unload the cold bag directly into the refrigerator and then run back to my car before receiving a parking ticket. A few weeks ago, I discovered this method to be quite successful. I managed to make it back and parked before rush hour. I was so excited that I considered writing in to Oprah for her next “Going Green” show.

This is not the actual basil. Thanks, Amateur Gourmet!

During my last trip to the grocery store, I decided to buy a little bag of hydroponic basil. The idea behind the basil is that it grows in a bag with maybe an ounce of water covering the ball of roots. I don’t have a lot of luck keeping these plants alive for more than two or three weeks. But I bought one anyway. When I let the bagger pack my groceries, I wasn’t really happy with where he placed my basil. I was worried that it would be crushed. Later I placed it into the top of my Whole Foods insulated bag.

During the loading/unloading process, I placed my iPhone upside down in my back pocket because I thought that it would be safe there. I have it in a case with a clear plastic cover over the screen, but I am always worried about it being scratched by my keys or, heaven forbid, sitting on it. I had the insulated bag on my arm and as I turned to pick up another bag, I felt a wet sensation on my back pocket. It took me a few seconds to figure out where the liquid was coming from. I literally didn’t get wet anywhere other than my back pocket. I pulled my iPhone out and it was like I had placed a funnel right into the bottom connection opening. Just then Henry called and it still seemed to work. I told him what happened and tried to wipe the water off. Midway through our conversation, the screen turned to a light gray. In fact, according to iWeb’s color palette, the screen was somewhere between the colors of silver and mercury.

Early Friday morning, I had a never-ending nightmare involving several different settings. During the final scene, my iPhone had a round circular shaped cracked into the screen. It still worked, but my phone was clearly broken. I was devastated. Was this some sort of ominous psychic warning? In the same dream I also used the bathroom in the my teacher’s toilet at the front of an art class and tried to wipe it up with my foot without anyone else noticing. I asked my mom if she thought was related and she flatly said no. Usually she is quite supportive of my crazy dream/real life connections.

Over the next couple of days, the screen came and went. Sometimes it would work, but rarely. I was even able to answer my iPhone by sliding my finger across the gray screen where I would answer it before. My phone was still working, except for the screen. But the screen is the WHOLE POINT. Now I know – I should have cut off my phone and left it off for a day or two. Maybe even three or four days. But I didn’t know how to cut off my iPhone. Granted it took me three or four weeks to figure out how to turn off the vibrate mood. I know that this seems almost idiotic, but the manual has less information than a typical album liner notes. It is quite pretty and probably the only manual you would ever read all the way through. But it does not provide a lot more information than the commercials you see on TV.

I made my first trip to the Apple store and a non-genius helped me upgrade my phone, which came back on. Even the screen worked for a while. I walked out of the store, called Henry and then fade to gray. I went back to make an appointment with the Genius Bar.

When I went home, I did a little research, called my brother and cried a little. There is a little red sensor inside of your iPhone that tells Apple if your phone has water damage. I had no idea. I pulled out the flashlight and mine was half red. Oh no…

On my second trip to the Apple store, I played dumb. I didn’t know how it got wet. I still don’t know how that happened. But I know that I didn’t submerge it. And I definitely didn’t. I mean how much water was there – almost absolutely none. But just enough to create a funky permanent disco party playing on the screen. Because of the insane amount of crowding around the Genius Bar, the guy who was trying to get help with his laptop suggested that I call my insurance provider or even the credit card that was used to buy the iPhone. I left the store wondering what I had done in life to deserve this punishment.

But I had renewed hope once I contacted USAA, my insurance provider. I seem to remember adding an additional computer coverage to our policy several years ago. A week later, I returned to the store with insurance check in the bank. Henry and I spent a good thirty minutes standing in front of the case wall searching for anything that was waterproof. There was one option for skiers. I just wanted something that would cover the bottom opening connection. I gave up. Then I asked someone who worked there how to actually cut the phone off. If I got it wet again, how could I prevent someone from calling me and activating the screen? (See answer below.)

I ended up keeping my old case, which does an adequate job of protecting the screen and deflecting trauma, if I dropped it. But yesterday with large black clouds looming in the sky, I still didn’t have an answer as to how to protect my iPhone from water. So in desperation, I grabbed a Ziploc snack pack bag. It was the perfect size! Now I could drop my phone in my bag without worrying about a drink spilling in it or if I get caught in a soaking rain. Plus the touch screen still works and Lauren swears that my voice was crystal clear when I called her yesterday. I also love how Henry personalized my new iPhone iCase with a Sharpie. That’s so I won’t mix it up with the bag that holds my almonds.

So long story short, these are a few things that I learned about water damage and my iPhone.

What to Do Immediately
1. If you get your phone wet, immediately cut it off by holding down the sleep button on top of your phone until a red bar comes up at the top of the screen. You then slide the bar over to shut it down.
2. Remove the phone from any case and dry it off.
3. Keep it cut off for several days. I think that by continuing to try to use it, I fried the screen.

What if Your Phone is Ruined?
1. Playing dumb won’t work. There is a little red sensor inside of your iPhone that tells Apple if your phone has water damage. There is a video of someone putting tissue paper down inside of his phone to cover up the sensor. I think that this is just a bad idea.
2. Apple does not cover water damage.
3. Apple and AT&T do not sell insurance for your phone.
4. According to the guy at the genius bar, there are third-party companies who do cover iPhones.
5. You can send your phone into Apple and they will refurbish it for about $250+.
6. Your home owner’s insurance or the credit card you purchased it on will likely cover
7. Your iPhone is actually a mini-computer, so it will likely be covered under computer coverage insurance. (I have a special computer coverage through USAA. If you have USAA, call them and add this to your protection today. It covers $3000 on computers only $100 deductible. It was so easy. I got a brand new phone for $100.)

Options to Protect Your Phone
1. Get additional insurance for your iPhone and computers. Or check with your insurance to see if it is covered now instead of waiting until later.
2. Buy a bag of snack pack zipable bags. I am pretty certain that our generic box of 50 was less than $5 from Target. You want to keep one with you just in case you get caught out in the rain. You can still use your iPhone inside of a plastic bag.

Yes, the thought of walking around talking into a plastic bag is ridiculous. But the idea that Apple can create something so amazing, but it be so delicate is just as ridiculous.

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  1. Anonymous

    Great information about insurance through USAA. I have an iphone and the coverage you spoke of…did you specifically make a claim on the iphone to USAA or did you tell them it was some other computer device? Any info would be great…just trying to help out all the iphone owners with USAA insurance.

  2. Caroline Armijo

    I told them specifically that it was an iPhone. I also told them that the guy at the Apple Store said that it counts as a mini-computer. They also said the same thing on Charlie Rose last week with the new iPhone review. I did not have any problems. They went ahead and issued the check. It was a huge relief.

    I love USAA! Plus, now you can add them to your touchscreen and log on through the iPhone. I just started doing that this week. It is great.

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