About a month ago, I started having the infamous “headphone jack” issue on my iPhone. My iPhone will not correctly switch back to handset mode when I unplug my earphones, or even worse, if I am using the handset, it will switch to headphone mode in the middle of a call and I won’t be able to hear anything anymore. Or is just sits on the table minding its own business and decides to switch.

iphone_moisture_sensor_littletechgirl

When I first started having the issue, I jumped on Google and saw that hundreds, if not thousands of other iPhone users were having the same issue. Some said to just plug the headphones in and out a few times, but that only works temporarily. Others said to get the debris out using canned air. I did that too. Another said to use a Q-tip and a dab of rubbing alcohol to clean in there really good. I tried it all. The issue still persists. Several times a day my phone will decide on its own “Hey, I think I’ll switch to headphone mode for a while!”

So, I finally called Apple Corporate Support since my phone was purchased through work. I described the problem to them. They agreed that it sounded like my phone was faulty and made an appointment for me to visit the Apple Store in my area at 6:30 that evening. It is a bit of a drive from me, so it wasn’t like I could just stop by on the way home. I went in, gave my phone to the rep, explained the issue, etc. He used a tool to remove the SIM card, looked in the headphone jack and SIM slot really good with a flash light, connected it to his computer and ran some sort of diagnostics, then said “well I am going to swap this out for you no problem, let me just go in the back for a minute.” He came back a couple of minutes later, with his flashlight and says “Umm Ma’am, do you see this red strip under the connector here?” I said “yeah, what is that?” He says “That is a moisture sensor. This phone has been exposed to moisture.” I stupidly said “Umm, ok… so what now?” He said “That voids the warranty and there is nothing that we can do for you. If you want to get a new phone you will have to buy one for $399.” Now, I got this phone last July through my job. I calmly explained that the phone has not been wet, etc. but there was nothing he could do for me. I left. I left pretty calmly because I *DID* get this phone through work. It was not my $$ that I was losing. And the phone does still work, I just have to use my earphones if I want to have a conversation. Now, if I would have purchased this phone myself I would probably still be at the store raising hell.

So I jump back on Google and again I see that numerous other iPhone owners have had this happen to them. Apparently there are 4 sensors in the phone. One in the headphone jack, one under the USB connector slot, and 2 inside the phone. Who is the genius that put moisture sensors on those 2 outside spots??? I know mostly all cellphones have them INSIDE so that if someone drops their phone in the toilet they don’t try to get over by taking it in and saying that it does not work. But on the outside??

What this means for us iPhone users is:

1. Even though one of the greatest functions of the phone is that it’s an MP3 player, don’t dare wear your iPhone at the gym because you might sweat on it! Just imagine that? You are working out, the phone is safely tucked into your pocket or arm strap, but you don’t notice that little drip of sweat traveling down the earphone cord and into the slot. Warranty void!

2. Waiting on an important call but need to shower? Don’t dare leave your iPhone on the counter and get the bathroom too steamy. Condensation might form on the phone and bingo, moisture sensor activated. Warranty void!

3. Don’t get caught in the rain (or even a drizzle) with your phone in your pocket unless you are sure it’s in a waterproof bag. Because you cannot keep track of where every raindrop goes. One might make its way into your pocket and turn that indicator red. Warranty void!

4. This one is a true story. I was telling my boss about my dilemma and he said “Yep. I know all about the moisture sensor. My daughter is on her 2nd iPhone. The first one she dropped in the toilet so of course there was no argument for warranty there. But, she bought a new one, and her dog licked it. Now the warranty is void.” LOL!!!!!

I have no clue what happened to my own phone. I have had it in the bathroom while showering though, so I suspect that one. Or did he go in the back and put a drop of water on it? HA!

There are several other scenarios I could come up with. I just really cannot believe that they designed it that way. But you know what? I got a $100 Apple coupon out of it. But nope, it cannot be used towards the purchase of a new phone (or an Apple TV) apparently. AND it cannot be used in the education store, so I cannot use it through my job.

Lastly, the very nice rep that I spoke to did tell me that things will definitely get better. He made big hints at hardware changes, etc. coming soon when I said that I will probably want the newer iPhone this summer anyway. And it sounds like they made changes in the sensors as well.

Now I am out to warn all poor unsuspecting iPhone users: WATCH OUT FOR THOSE SENSORS!!

UPDATE 1/7/2010: THERE IS AN UPDATE TO THIS POST POSTED ON EXAMINER.COM.

UPDATE 3/14/2016: It seems that Apple still has moisture sensors in the newer devices. Hopefully they have fixed the issue of the sensitive sensor. Below is a chart of where the sensors are located on each Apple device. For more information see the Apple website.

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