Sunburn isn’t the only thing to worry about this summer.
The season can be murder on iPhones and other PDAs. Just ask Allison Sawhill. She destroyed three iPhones last summer.
“Every month, there I was at the Apple store,” said Sawhill, 42, of Ashland. In June, her iPhone fell into a toilet. In July, it was in her pocket when she jumped into a New Hampshire lake to save her dog from drowning. And in August — while in a supposed waterproof case, inside a Ziploc bag placed in an armband under her shirt — her iPhone fried during a 12-mile jog in a rainstorm.
When Niki Magni’s 18-year-old brother Bobby Shutt decided to jump into a pool three years ago, he neglected to take the Nokia out of his pocket.
And judging by blogs, message boards and even YouTube videos, they aren’t the only members of the “wet phone” club.
The worst thing you can do, say experts, is turn the soggy device back on to see whether it still works.
Craig Marin, owner of Computer Loft in Allston, calls that a “fatal mistake.”
“If the computer is off, then leave it off,” Marin said. “If the computer is on and it didn’t short out, shut it down immediately and bring it to a repair shop.”
For a laptop that, say, made a trip through the sprinklers, Marin said you should turn the computer upside-down — like a teepee — to let the liquid drain out. The other option, he said, is opening the laptop and hanging it over a counter so the keyboard is facing down.
One “remedy” making the rounds is the “put the computer in a bag of rice” method.
“It wouldn’t be bad for it but it wouldn’t help a whole lot,” said Curt Ingram, owner of iPhone Curt in Brighton.
The rice method simply absorbs liquid out of the device, but Ingram said the impurities in the liquid — anything from salt to sugar, depending on what the liquid is -— remain, causing short circuits.
“I immediately put it into a container of rice,” Sawhill said about her July dog-saving wet phone incident. “It doesn’t really work.”
Magni, 27, of Watertown came up with a rescue recipe: Place phone in 200 degree oven for 20 minutes. “We kept checking on it and it didn’t look like it was sizzling or anything,” said Magni, who claimed the Nokia (not a smartphone) worked just fine after that.
Ingram said some damaged iPhones are not repairable, but most are if brought into the shop soon after the accident. A typical repair at his shop costs between $60 and $110, he said, which is cheaper than buying a new iPhone, as Apple does not honor warranties for Apple products that suffer liquid damage, according to the company website.
As for Sawhill, she now keeps her iPhone in a air-tight pouch while jogging.