IPhone Versus Washing Machine


IPhone Versus Washing Machine

by Jay Valente

In my years as a computer guy, I’ve seen some pretty unusual things done with and to computers. I’ve been around long enough  to see CD-Roms used as cup holders, 3.5″ floppies jammed in backwards, entire soda’s dumped into keyboards, and once, a space heater that melted a plastic computer case so bad that the motherboard had begun poking through. I’m usually on the righteous end, shaking my head, wondering “how someone could do that”. Recently, I was on the opposite end when, after a long day (long week), I tossed my pants on the dresser, and passed out on the couch. My awesome wife woke me a few hours later, and as I started to come alive, she mentioned, “I did a load of wash, and I grabbed the pants you had tossed on the dresser”.

Panic set in. I quickly asked (already knowing the answer), “Did you take my IPhone out of the pocket first”? Of course, the answer was no. I scrambled to the washing machine to see that the entire load had finished, pulled out the pants, and there was no IPhone. Praying that it had fallen out in the commute from the bedroom to the washer, I emptied the rest of the washing machine, only to find my now squeaky clean IPhone at the bottom (rubber protective sleeve intact, and also very clean). Crud!!!!!!

Just to confirm the obvious, I clicked the little button on top, and nothing happened. Not a glimmer of light, no beeps, no cracks of capacitors shorting out, NOTHING.

***Note*** I don’t suggest doing this. If there was any juice left in the phone battery, there was an excellent chance of doing more damage. It was kind of a knee-jerk reaction, but if you can resist until after the following steps, your chances will only be that much better.

As this was a company phone, I began to dream up my best “Dog ate it” story, and decided to hit the web and see what others had to say. Amazingly, several other people had posted all throughout the web that placing your waterlogged phone into a bowl or bag of uncooked (apparently, this needs to be mentioned for some folks) rice could revive the phone. All I had to start with was the boil in bag stuff, but I thought, what the heck. Nothing to lose right?!?

First night, it sat in the rice for several hours, and through the next morning till about 10AM (so about 12 hours). I pulled it out of the bag of rice, and sat in on the charger, and after several minutes I could just barely discern the un-illuminated version of my screen. It was very dim, but holding it just right, I could actually read the screen. I went to Settings, and jacked the brightness up. This created an unreadable image that reminded me of clouds. I was unable to turn the brightness down again, so back in the bag of rice it went. It stayed there the remainder of that day, and part of the next morning (side note – I left it out on the garage, which kept the temperature a steamy 90-100 degrees to help force the moisture to evaporate).

The following morning, I rescued my phone from the rice bath, pressed the magic button on top again, and this time, my phone’s screen was “mostly” usable. Some hint of the cloud-like images was still visible on all primarily-white pages, and when holding it certain ways, you could see strange lines, but it was working. A quick ops-test showed the phone, wifi all worked, and there was no data loss. WOW

That day, on the way home, I had bought a regular bag of cheapy white rice, so it went back in for another rice bath for another day.

***Important note*** If you are going to submerge your iPhone into a bag full of particles that are typically as small, or smaller than your headphone port, it might be a good idea to plug your headphone jack in, and your charging jack too, just to be careful you don’t get rice in there

In the end, it took three days total in the rice, and there is no discernible issues with the screen or any other functions. All buttons work, no data loss. I would suggest using plain white rice, as it seemed to work much better than the Uncle Ben’s Boil in Bag stuff I had (although I prefer Uncle Ben’s in taste).

So if you happen to put your phone through the wash cycle, don’t jump off any bridges yet, it might still make it. Just buy some basic  white rice, use some patience, and hopefully, your trusty friend will be back in no time. 

More About the Author

Jay Valente

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