How sensitive is the iPhone water damage sensor? Now With Pics

Discussion in 'Apple Products' started by wankrtron, Jan 21, 2009.

  1. wankrtron

    wankrtron Gawd

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    Hey guys, I just got a call from my sister. She had called me a couple weeks ago telling me that her iPhone 3g had been flashing a warning when it comes out of sleep mode. The warning was about an accessory not compatible with the iPhone. I told her to reset it and blah blah, and if that didn't work, to take it to the Apple store and see if they could fix it.

    Well, she just called me and told me that she had just gone to the Apple store, the Genius was being a prick to everyone he talked to in the line (she was about in tears while talking to me), and after just glancing at the iPhone, told her that it had been damaged by water, and dismissed her rather rudely.

    I understand that the iPhone has a water damage sensor in the bottom of the headphone jack, and that the Genius would use that as a basis for the claim. The phone has never been in water. I can assure you of that. The question is, though, how sensitive is that sensor? I haven't had a chance to look at it myself and see the state of the sensor.

    My sister travels a lot for work. She recently went to Portland, and of course, took her phone. Could that sensor be set off by say the humidity in the air? I believe while she was there, (or on one of these trips) she went to a waterfall. Can the moisture in the air from the waterfall trigger the sensor? Mind you, this was no Niagara, but still, is that possible?

    I told her the next thing she should do is take it to a different Apple store and see if she could get a Genius who wasn't being a prick, and see what they said. Then call Apple Care and tell them the situation. I told her to explain how the phone has never been wet but was in a high humidity atmosphere. Tell them how the Genius was being a prick and see if they would take her phone and look at it. I told it all depends on who she talks to and how good of a day they are having but that might be the best option.

    So, my questions are these...

    1. How sensitive is this sensor? Are there any Genius' here that can testify?

    2. What is her next course of action to try to get this resolved?

    3. Can you request that the phone be opened and a secondary sensor be checked, or does it all pivot on the one?

    If you guys have any input on it at all, we would greatly appreciate it.
    Thanks.
     
  2. Grentz

    Grentz [H]ard as it Gets

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    Its not a special "Apple" sensor or anything, just a standard water sensor as in most phones and other electronics. They really suck. I have had ones turn on my phone just from humidity and or age.

    In fact, I sent a phone in for RMA to motorola, and they said the water sensor was turned and I was SOL even though the phone had never been close to water and in reality was just slightly pink from age. Amazingly, without even asking (I had already bought another phone actually) one day another Razr shows up with a nice note saying how a QC person looked over the case and it was actually turned because of ag.

    In any event, I would try calling Apple and explaining the situation.
     
  3. wankrtron

    wankrtron Gawd

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    Yeah, I know it is just your average sensor, but I am wondering how sensitive they are. My sister has taken her iPhone to Mexico as well. She was thinking maybe the humidity may have turned it.

    I had her look at the one in the earphone jack. She said that it is white still. I haven't had a chance to look at it. Are there any other ones that are visible without opening the phone?
     
  4. Ockie

    Ockie *** Self Proclaimed Storage King ***

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    I would write the guy up to Corporate.
     
  5. Menelmarar

    Menelmarar [H]ardness Supreme

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    I run with my ipod on an arm band, sweat all over it, been using it since October. It died last week, the water sensor on mine was white. *shrug*

    iPod third try hopefully coming soon...
     
  6. Axewerfer

    Axewerfer Limp Gawd

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    I'm with Ockie on this one. I've never had a bad experience at a Genius bar...hell, I had a guy write off $600 of damage to a friends 17" MBP because they forgot to give her a call. I've got no personal experience with the water sensors, but if it's in the headphone jack, that strikes me as being pretty exposed to any kind of atmospheric issues. Take it to another store and see if there's a way to write up the first guy. I guess there are a few screwballs anywhere.
     
  7. Xerodeluxe

    Xerodeluxe Gawd

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    I had my phone broken because I had it sitting overnight next to a ice cold 42oz of coke. When the water condensed, the liquid creeped up to the phone and destroyed thebottom touch screen sensor making utterly useless. I took it to the Apple store, (even thought it was partly my fault and might not of expected anything in return), they asked for some personal information. Gave them some of my info and they gave me a replacement. The guy didnt even bother to open it up or do anything.

    Yes OP, you are correct, I think she just got unlucky with a Customer Service Rep and the best thing to do is to take it to a Apple store. Tell her to make an appointment with the Genius Bar ~15mins, prior to closing so that way if anything becomes an issue, they wouldnt want to deal with it during closing hours. Best of Luck!
     
  8. bloo

    bloo Limp Gawd

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    that message she's receiving could be from water damage, but since you say its never been near water, it's probably because she plugged the phone into some sort of accessory (speakers, chargers, etc.) meant for an older ipod. the older ipods charge at 12v whereas the iphone only takes 5v.

    there is no other water sensor in the phone other than the one in the headphone jack. apple won't take the time to open it up and investigate further. just tell your sister to get some white-out and a toothpick/paperclip and give the sensor a nice new coat of white.
     
  9. wankrtron

    wankrtron Gawd

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    yeah, the closest this thing has been to water getting in it is the humidity in mexico...

    so, she called apple care. told them what was going on and that the guy was being a dick. they said that they get calls about the iphone all the time, but there is nothing they can do. she told me the rep said that yes, high humidity CAN kill the phone and they know it. also said that the iphone is very "unstable" when it comes to dampness. at this point, i believe my brother in law went ahead to make the point that if your phone is so "unstable" and prone to die from leaving it in the bathroom while taking a shower, why the hell are you selling it?

    she also mentioned taking it to another store to get it checked out. the phone rep said that "it wouldn't matter." im guessing that maybe that means their systems are tied together and if they see it has been denied they wont even look at it?

    and yes, it seems to me like the headphone jack is a shitty place for a water sensor. right on top of the phone? like a big friggin funnel? shesh...

    during this time, i have been looking at a bunch of info, and i have found conflicting reports about the sensors. some sites say there are up to 4 inside the phone, two visible from the outside, and some say that there is only the one. if there is only the one... gay.

    anyways, thanks for all the input. ill let her know what you guys say, an see if there is something that can be done. in the meantime, i told her to zip it in a ziplock bag with as many packet of those silica balls as she can get. see if it will dry out anything that may be in there and start to function right.
     
  10. bloo

    bloo Limp Gawd

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    has she tried a restore yet?
     
  11. wankrtron

    wankrtron Gawd

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    Yeah, a restore was the first thing I had her try. I thought the problem was from a janky app she may have installed. I'm still not convienced. We are on the way to her house right now, so, I should get a chance to see the water sensor for myself.
     
  12. wankrtron

    wankrtron Gawd

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    Ok, I have gotten a look at the water sensor, and I can definitely say it is as white as white can be. Maybe too white?

    I snapped a couple pics of her water sensor and mine. Sorry for not getting focus down in there, all I have with me is my PnS. Didn't think to bring my DSLR. Anyway...

    This is my iPhone:
    [​IMG]

    This is my sister's:
    [​IMG]

    Here are some 100% crops, mine then hers:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    You CAN tell there is a difference, but there is no pink or red anywhere to be seen. One thing that these pictures don't really pull out is that on my phone, the water sensor not only looks kinda grey, but it looks kinda textured, kinda like pocket lint or something. I am not 100% sure it isn't lint. I do keep my phone in my pocket all the time. And it covers the entire bottom of the plug, where my sisters has room around it.

    On hers, the sensor looks real smooth, and there seems to be nothing around it at all. Kinda like it is just hanging out down there on a little pedestal or something.

    Have they changed these so that they don't turn pink, but more white than grey? I have only seen a turned sensor in an original iPhone. Not a 3g.

    Anyway, I thought I would post some pictures so you guys could see what is going on. Let me know what you think.
     
  13. speedy523

    speedy523 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Are you sure your phone is an iPhone, because it sure doesnt look like one...
     
  14. Firemane

    Firemane Limp Gawd

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    Looks like it's in a case.
     
  15. felix88

    felix88 [H]ardness Supreme

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    That's not water damage. The sensors aren't that sensitive, so if they were actually pink or red, there would have to be a lot of water involved.
     
  16. wankrtron

    wankrtron Gawd

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    Are you serious?
    Yeah, I'm sure I have an iPhone. I bought it, I think I know what it is. It is in an Incase Slider case.
    [​IMG]

    So, what can she do? One Genius told her it was water damaged. Does that mean her phone has been "tagged" so if she takes it to another Genius they won't even look at it? That is the impression that Apple Care gave her when she called them. They said that having another tech look at it "wouldn't matter."
     
  17. bloo

    bloo Limp Gawd

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    no harm in trying again.

    it depends on the first genius you took it to. he could've looked up the serial of the iphone and put it into the system that it has "water damage".

    you can always try and talk to the manager and present your case. hopefully he'll take another look at it and replace it.