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Did the iPhone 6 rubber gaskets around the buttons save my waterlogged phone from damage after it was submerged?

iPhone 6: Survives Drowning to Live Another Day

I recently had one of those moments that every smartphone owner dreads: submersion. In water. Of my beloved smartphone (in this case, my brand new iPhone 6). I sucked in a breath as I retrieved my phone just seconds after I heard the “kerplop.” Removing it dripping from the vessel (OK, I admit it–the toilet) into which it fell, I immediately towel dried the device, knowing that the effort would be fruitless, for the towel could not possibly reach inside the phone to save its life. (At the time, I’d never heard of the “rice trick.”)iPhone 6

Trying to remember if I took out insurance via Verizon (or if had purchased Apple Care), I had visions of plopping down many hundreds of dollars to replace my (did I say?) brand new phone. And did insurance cover water damage? Did Apple Care? All these thoughts played through my head as I dared to uncover the phone from the bath towel. Again, I held my breath, letting it out only when I saw my familiar home screen peering back at me, the LTE logo, and wi-fi symbol. It worked. Phew!

Researching the issue of water damage, I came across iPhone 6 reviews that mentioned that Apple positioned rubber gaskets around all the buttons to prevent water damage–even after submersion. Maybe I’d be lucky.

The phone had about half its charge, and I wondered what would happen if I plugged it in, as is my nightly routine. Would it short out? Damage the phone, since it was likely wet inside? Or would it not charge? I gingerly plugged it in and silently prayed, taking the plug out immediately, now concerned that leaving it plugged in would not only short out the phone, but my entire home (and maybe start an electrical fire on my nightstand while I slept).

Morning came, and I hit the power switch. Nothing. At all. I pressed the power down button, thinking maybe I had powered it down the night before. Nothing, At all. It was hosed. Done. Dead. Damn. So, with trepidation, I ventured to my account page at Verizon. I was covered. Phew!

After filling in the replacement request, I began to notice something alive in my presumed-dead iPhone. That little Apple logo appeared, making me believe my phone was coming back to life. Soon my home screen appeared. The symbols indicated that the phone was working, but the screen was all wavy and flickered crazily.

I picked it up, wondering if all would be well, venturing a call–just to test it. It worked…then…nothing. The phone reset before blanking out again. By now, believing I would have a new phone shortly, I experimented a bit. Maybe the power had zapped overnight. I plugged it in, and the charging screen switched on. It was charging. I charged it to about 60 percent, and tried turning it on again. It came back again, all the way to the home screen. Still wavy, and with the flickering, but there. I checked my email. Fine. Surfed a little. Also fine.

Then the phone reset itself–again, coming back now with a red screen from which I couldn’t even turn off the device. Now it reset again, this time, the screen was completely green, and to complete the cycle, it reset to a completely blue screen before shutting down completely.

Meantime, my replacement was approved by the insurance carrier, but with the caveat that the phone was on backorder. (Of course it was–a gold iPhone 6 32 gig phone? Who wants one of those, right?) Panic began to set in, as I wondered how many days–or weeks–I’d be without a phone. Yikes.

Then a technological miracle occurred. The phone once again reset–normally, this time. My homescreen appeared–still wavy, but (so I perceived, much less so). I sucked in a breath. Was the phone teasing me again? Would it survive the toilet bowl baptism?

The hours passed, and the phone did not reset again. It stayed on. I ventured to charge it again, this time to full charge. The waviness abated, and the phone began to look normal again. I tapped on my music to see if the speakers (which hadn’t worked) were also working again. Yes!

By evening, my phone was back to normal. And good thing, too. My iPhone replacement took nearly three weeks!

People have asked me why I went ahead with the insurance claim if my phone was again working normally. My answer is simple: what if I want to upgrade? What if I want to trade it in? Or sell it on eBay? Water damage is a definite no-no, and it’s the first thing Apple will look for. Also, there was also no way of knowing whether there was some sort of residual damage that would only manifest later, fritzing out the phone for good.

But I’d thought my phone was a goner for sure, but, whether it was the magic rubber gaskets or providence–or just dumb luck, my iPhone survived its drowning to live another day.

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About Barbara Barnett

Barbara Barnett is Publisher/Executive Editor of Blogcritics, (blogcritics.org). Her Bram Stoker Award-nominated novel, called "Anne Rice meets Michael Crichton," The Apothecary's Curse The Apothecary's Curse is now out from Pyr, an imprint of Prometheus Books. Her book on the TV series House, M.D., Chasing Zebras is a quintessential guide to the themes, characters and episodes of the hit show. Barnett is an accomplished speaker, an annual favorite at MENSA's HalloWEEM convention, where she has spoken to standing room crowds on subjects as diverse as "The Byronic Hero in Pop Culture," "The Many Faces of Sherlock Holmes," "The Hidden History of Science Fiction," and "Our Passion for Disaster (Movies)."

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