An update on my iPhone situation

UPDATE: THERE IS AN UPDATE AND SUMMARY TO THIS POST POSTED ON EXAMINER.COM. Please check there for all the follow-ups in one place.

Where do I start? First I want to thank Lisa France of CNN.com for being an advocate on this. Just to be clear, the reporter from CNN contacted me after seeing my blog, I did not contact her. She was already doing a story on this and was researching on the web. Someone apparently thinks that something could possibly be wrong here to think it worthy of a story.

Now, to all the people that have commented here and on CNN.com i have a few things to say.

1. Didn’t your mother ever teach you to be nice? If you cannot post comments in a dignified manner then why bother? You are only making yourself look bad for not being able to express yourself without acting like a 12 year old. Oh that’s right… it’s the web so we can’t see you. And some even use bogus email addresses. I’ve been called a moron, a bozo, and an idiot so far. Nice!

1a. To those that posted comments here and on CNN.com in a NICE manner, even if you did not agree, thank you!

2. I think that some did not even bother to read the full article and blog post before firing one off to me. I have had several emails and comments regarding the “earphone jack” sensor being tripped and commenting on my causing this myself by putting alcohol on it. The earphone jack sensor is NOT tripped, it never was. It is still white meaning “no water damage”. It is the sensor under the USB port that is red which I have never touched with alcohol or anything else and it has never been wet.

3. Some (including Apple) are saying that the sensor cannot be set off by ‘just a drop’ of water or condensation, that it has been to be submersion. That is BS because my phone has never been submerged as I stated clearly in my post. And also as evidenced by the several other people complaining about this very issue all over the web. Some have clearly stated that their sensors have been tripped just because they live in a humid climate. One person commented that she dunked her phone in liquid and got it out within 5 seconds and the sensor did not change. You got lucky.

4. To those stating that I am trying to “get over” on Apple. Why?? What would my point be? I also clearly stated in my article that my iPhone was paid for by my company, not my own $$. People at work accidentally break phones all the time and get them replaced because things happen. So, what would be my point in getting over? I would have gotten my phone replaced through work anyway, again… not with my own $$. As I said in my post I was willing to just deal with the issue in hopes that the new models coming out this summer or whenever would catch my eye and I would get one. I was encouraged by people higher up than me to pursue getting the phone replaced.

5. The whole point of this ‘investigation’ and me pursuing Apple to get a resolution was that maybe, just maybe the sensors on some of these iPhones are defective. It could happen. No technology is fool-proof.

And to elaborate on #5… Apple now thinks this is possible too. I got my iPhone replaced last night at the Apple Store near me after a corporate rep made a call. My old phone is going to corporate to be examined, picked apart, etc. and they promise to call me and let me know what they find.

Do I think that I won? No, I don’t. My point was not to set out to get a new phone. My point was to set out to show that there could be a problem here with either defective sensors or the fact that they are just in a bad place. I will feel that I won if the Apple rep calls me back in a week or so and says that they did indeed find a defect.

Kris McDonald is Chicago mom to 2 sets of twins, photography nut, gadget addict, travel addict, and tech blogger who has worked in IT for over 16 years. Kris figured out a while ago that she was destined to be really busy (hence the 2 sets of twins), and she has found peace with that. Read More
  • will

    Experienced the same Liquid Larceny by Apple in regards to my 5 month old Ipod 16 GB Nano they denied warranty coverage aos. Never again Apple do not buy from them.

  • will

    experienced the same Apple Liquid Larceny on my 5 month old Ipod 16gb nano they denied warranty coverage due to LCI changed color.

  • Angel

    Hello there!

    I’m having the same issue with my 5 month old 32 GB 3GS iPhone. The unit mysteriously failed. Upon inspection it was stated that my docking port Moisture Sensor had been activated. I’ve never “submerged” my phone. I’ve had 2 “genius” appointments at the same store with employees and management who all point the finger of blame on me and implicate that I’m either lying or can’t remember submerging my phone in liquid. I spoke with Apple Care and Apple Customer Relations with no success. I’ve urged them to take the phone apart so that they may see for themselves that the unit has never been “submerged” or spilled on. I have been dealing with this problem for about a week now with no resolution offered by apple other than a $199.99 replacement fee for a new phone that a Customer Relations rep has now reduced to $99.99. It upsets me that I’m being blamed for something I did not do. I felt I purchased a quality piece of equipment from a reputable company. To my surprise, it seems the Apple Employee’s I’ve had to deal with have been short, condescending, unhelpful and also claim to be omniscient. I’ve spoke with a Tech at Apple Care who claims to have accidentally submerged her phone by placing the iPhone in her cup holder in her car where there was condensation. The customer relations rep also stated he accidentally voided the warranty on his phone as well, along with a genius at the genius bar, and the manager at the apple store. It seems a little strange to me that 4 out of 4 contacts at apple have damaged their phones via liquid. I don’t believe them and I feel it is a ploy to try to make me feel better about having to fork out cash for a defective unit that should be covered under the 1 year limited warranty.

    I was so stunned when the Apple Genius stated that my moisture sensor had been activated and that the sensors are 100% accurate and NEVER give off a false positive. I asked if the fact that the Apple Genius used a can of canned air to spray my docking port and headphone jack prior to inspection could have tripped the docking port sensor if moisture was shot out of the can accidentally. The Apple employee’s assured me this was out of the realm of possibility. I advised them of the condensation that forms on cans and straws and the possibility of inverting the cans and the liquid contents from within the can mixing with the liquid formed outside because of the pressurized contents and quick temperature and pressure changes. However, they claim that this would not set off the moisture sensor BUT leaving the phone in the restroom during a shower, or walking around in orlando florida on a humid day WOULD be enough to set off the Liquid Submersion Indicator.

    I’m at a loss…without a phone…and very frustrated. I asked the store employees if my complaint was a common complaint. They said “no.” 5 minutes later while I was on hold with Apple Customer Relations, another customer walked in complaining of the same problem. His phone failed due to a manufacturing defect with no visible signs of water damage, however, the moisture sensor was pink and thus voided his warranty.

    I live in Southern California. I pamper my phone. I use double walled sealed starbucks containers in my car that don’t “sweat” or form condensation because of the double wall. I never take my phone into the restroom because my home phone and my cell phone are linked, so I use my cordless phone in the restroom when I shower. It doesn’t rain here in Southern Cal very often and I don’t make a habit of driving with the windows down on rainy days as implied by and Apple Tech. I also do not wash dishes (I’m a guy…I use a dishwasher). My phone is always in my pocket. I’m always on my headset.

    This post is LONG…and my patience is wearing thin. What to do? What to do? I plan on sending a letter to the Steve Jobs address.

    Apple iPhones…great pieces of modern technology. Apple Customer Service and product design however have much to improve on. If Apple would only admit to the possibility of setting off the moisture sensor themselves by spilling a drop of condensed water from the external of a can of pressurized liquid gas then I’d be more inclined to defend their position of weeding out potential abusers however, at this point I’m reluctant to recommend their products to anyone because of Apple’s position that their design and use of external moisture indicators are flawed and succeptible to activation by both the end user and Apple Employee’s themselves.

  • Angel

    Hello there!

    I’m having the same issue with my 5 month old 32 GB 3GS iPhone. The unit mysteriously failed. Upon inspection it was stated that my docking port Moisture Sensor had been activated. I’ve never “submerged” my phone. I’ve had 2 “genius” appointments at the same store with employees and management who all point the finger of blame on me and implicate that I’m either lying or can’t remember submerging my phone in liquid. I spoke with Apple Care and Apple Customer Relations with no success. I’ve urged them to take the phone apart so that they may see for themselves that the unit has never been “submerged” or spilled on. I have been dealing with this problem for about a week now with no resolution offered by apple other than a $199.99 replacement fee for a new phone that a Customer Relations rep has now reduced to $99.99. It upsets me that I’m being blamed for something I did not do. I felt I purchased a quality piece of equipment from a reputable company. To my surprise, it seems the Apple Employee’s I’ve had to deal with have been short, condescending, unhelpful and also claim to be omniscient. I’ve spoke with a Tech at Apple Care who claims to have accidentally submerged her phone by placing the iPhone in her cup holder in her car where there was condensation. The customer relations rep also stated he accidentally voided the warranty on his phone as well, along with a genius at the genius bar, and the manager at the apple store. It seems a little strange to me that 4 out of 4 contacts at apple have damaged their phones via liquid. I don’t believe them and I feel it is a ploy to try to make me feel better about having to fork out cash for a defective unit that should be covered under the 1 year limited warranty.

    I was so stunned when the Apple Genius stated that my moisture sensor had been activated and that the sensors are 100% accurate and NEVER give off a false positive. I asked if the fact that the Apple Genius used a can of canned air to spray my docking port and headphone jack prior to inspection could have tripped the docking port sensor if moisture was shot out of the can accidentally. The Apple employee’s assured me this was out of the realm of possibility. I advised them of the condensation that forms on cans and straws and the possibility of inverting the cans and the liquid contents from within the can mixing with the liquid formed outside because of the pressurized contents and quick temperature and pressure changes. However, they claim that this would not set off the moisture sensor BUT leaving the phone in the restroom during a shower, or walking around in orlando florida on a humid day WOULD be enough to set off the Liquid Submersion Indicator.

    I’m at a loss…without a phone…and very frustrated. I asked the store employees if my complaint was a common complaint. They said “no.” 5 minutes later while I was on hold with Apple Customer Relations, another customer walked in complaining of the same problem. His phone failed due to a manufacturing defect with no visible signs of water damage, however, the moisture sensor was pink and thus voided his warranty.

    I live in Southern California. I pamper my phone. I use double walled sealed starbucks containers in my car that don’t “sweat” or form condensation because of the double wall. I never take my phone into the restroom because my home phone and my cell phone are linked, so I use my cordless phone in the restroom when I shower. It doesn’t rain here in Southern Cal very often and I don’t make a habit of driving with the windows down on rainy days as implied by and Apple Tech. I also do not wash dishes (I’m a guy…I use a dishwasher). My phone is always in my pocket. I’m always on my headset.

    This post is LONG…and my patience is wearing thin. What to do? What to do? I plan on sending a letter to the Steve Jobs address.

    Apple iPhones…great pieces of modern technology. Apple Customer Service and product design however have much to improve on. If Apple would only admit to the possibility of setting off the moisture sensor themselves by spilling a drop of condensed water from the external of a can of pressurized liquid gas then I’d be more inclined to defend their position of weeding out potential abusers however, at this point I’m reluctant to recommend their products to anyone because of Apple’s position that their design and use of external moisture indicators are flawed and succeptible to activation by both the end user and Apple Employee’s themselves.

  • Cecil Brian Hengeveld

    Today Apple has pretty much lost a customer for life. This moisture sensor policy on an entry level product is going to cost them in ways they clearly have not considered. I may have purchased my next laptop from them. But not now.

    The moisture sensor on my phone has a pin hole size red spot on it. It’s barely the width of one of the pins on the USB connector. Wouldn’t the whole strip be red if it was exposed to a significant amount of water? My wi-fi won’t connect to a network. It sees all networks in range just fine. But it will not connect to them “unable to join network (SSID)” is what I get.

    The Little Einsteins (as I heretofore refer to them) told me my warranty is void and I’m out of luck unless I cough up $200. My level of anger and dissatisfaction is off the charts! I’m on a personal crusade to discredit Apple everywhere I go. Everyone I come in contact with will certainly understand my personal view on Apple products.

    That said, if anyone out there has a suggestion for recourse I am all ears. I’ve talked to two Geniuses and 4 phone reps and filed a formal complaint. Here I sit with no wi-fi and being a tech geek it drives me nuts. Having to download app updates greater than 10mb with my PC in order to update the phone? Crapple is way lame!

  • Cecil Brian Hengeveld

    Today Apple has pretty much lost a customer for life. This moisture sensor policy on an entry level product is going to cost them in ways they clearly have not considered. I may have purchased my next laptop from them. But not now.

    The moisture sensor on my phone has a pin hole size red spot on it. It’s barely the width of one of the pins on the USB connector. Wouldn’t the whole strip be red if it was exposed to a significant amount of water? My wi-fi won’t connect to a network. It sees all networks in range just fine. But it will not connect to them “unable to join network (SSID)” is what I get.

    The Little Einsteins (as I heretofore refer to them) told me my warranty is void and I’m out of luck unless I cough up $200. My level of anger and dissatisfaction is off the charts! I’m on a personal crusade to discredit Apple everywhere I go. Everyone I come in contact with will certainly understand my personal view on Apple products.

    That said, if anyone out there has a suggestion for recourse I am all ears. I’ve talked to two Geniuses and 4 phone reps and filed a formal complaint. Here I sit with no wi-fi and being a tech geek it drives me nuts. Having to download app updates greater than 10mb with my PC in order to update the phone? Crapple is way lame!

  • Robin Turton

    on my 4th iphone in 4 months.All have suffered from constant crashing and rebooting problems.I was advised to take it to my local apple store tech guy said phone had been submerged and warranty was void.I can say with all honesty my phone has never been submerged,if it had surely it would stop working like any normal phone or show signs ie condensation behind screen

  • Robin Turton

    on my 4th iphone in 4 months.All have suffered from constant crashing and rebooting problems.I was advised to take it to my local apple store tech guy said phone had been submerged and warranty was void.I can say with all honesty my phone has never been submerged,if it had surely it would stop working like any normal phone or show signs ie condensation behind screen

  • Congrats on getting the phone replaced. I’ve had a similar issue with my work issued Palm Treo. I got caught in the rain and the water damage sensor was tripped.

    Even after I explained, and explained my company was charged full replacement cost instead of it being under a warranty replacement.

    I love Apple, but I have some perspective that Apple is not the BE ALL END ALL of technology. Things break, things can be defective. I went through 3 iPods that were… *gasp* defective before I got resolution.

    People need to realize that you weren’t trying to get a free phone, just get decent customer service.

    Good luck to you!

    Tanya D’s last blog post..What is Guerilla Gardening?

  • Congrats on getting the phone replaced. I’ve had a similar issue with my work issued Palm Treo. I got caught in the rain and the water damage sensor was tripped.

    Even after I explained, and explained my company was charged full replacement cost instead of it being under a warranty replacement.

    I love Apple, but I have some perspective that Apple is not the BE ALL END ALL of technology. Things break, things can be defective. I went through 3 iPods that were… *gasp* defective before I got resolution.

    People need to realize that you weren’t trying to get a free phone, just get decent customer service.

    Good luck to you!

    Tanya D’s last blog post..What is Guerilla Gardening?

  • Vicki

    My son’s Apple iPod Touch stopped working one week after he bought it, and a store “Genius” told us it was water-damaged (pink thingy in the earbud jack). But it had never been near water, ever. It was raining outside the day it stopped working. It was August, and humid. Very long story short, we mailed it to Apple for replacement, for which we were going to get stuck for several hundred dollars. We used their warranty procedure to mail it back, and it was STOLEN right out of the box in the mail. Apple accused us of mailing them an empty box and refused to honor the insured shipment. This nightmare went on for weeks, and finally after a lot of angst and suffering, they very reluctantly replaced the iPod. It was a horrible experience and I totally agree with you that there’s something amiss with how the moisture sensor works. It defintely is not reliable. I still have heart palpitations when I see an Apple logo.

  • Vicki

    My son’s Apple iPod Touch stopped working one week after he bought it, and a store “Genius” told us it was water-damaged (pink thingy in the earbud jack). But it had never been near water, ever. It was raining outside the day it stopped working. It was August, and humid. Very long story short, we mailed it to Apple for replacement, for which we were going to get stuck for several hundred dollars. We used their warranty procedure to mail it back, and it was STOLEN right out of the box in the mail. Apple accused us of mailing them an empty box and refused to honor the insured shipment. This nightmare went on for weeks, and finally after a lot of angst and suffering, they very reluctantly replaced the iPod. It was a horrible experience and I totally agree with you that there’s something amiss with how the moisture sensor works. It defintely is not reliable. I still have heart palpitations when I see an Apple logo.

  • Hi Kristile, Unfortunately more exposure means more exposure to idiots, as well as those who choose to worship corporations and their products, anyone who speaks critically of their beloved trinkets is committing blasphemy in their eyes. Why is it so inconceivable to some people that at least some of these indicators could be defective especially considering the fact that this isn’t an isolated incident.

    P.S: See my mom thought me to be nice, some less dignified words come to mind to describe some of the characters you’ve been encountering, but I’ve refrained form using them. 😀

    Wardell’s last blog post..Wardell Design WordCamp Chicago Giveaway

  • Hi Kristile, Unfortunately more exposure means more exposure to idiots, as well as those who choose to worship corporations and their products, anyone who speaks critically of their beloved trinkets is committing blasphemy in their eyes. Why is it so inconceivable to some people that at least some of these indicators could be defective especially considering the fact that this isn’t an isolated incident.

    P.S: See my mom thought me to be nice, some less dignified words come to mind to describe some of the characters you’ve been encountering, but I’ve refrained form using them. 😀

    Wardell’s last blog post..Wardell Design WordCamp Chicago Giveaway

  • Bob, just use a flash light and check your sensors. You are right and I suspect that is what Apple will be checking when they receive my phone is to crack it open and see if the other sensors are tripped inside. I completely understand the idea of making sure that consumers are not ripping them off, but really… I would be interested in knowing if any other cell manufacturer has put sensors in such an accessible place.

  • Bob

    Way to go LTG!! And welcome to the world of rabid Apple fanboys. An Apple product could explode and it would ALWAYS be the user’s fault or a smart Steve Job’s design feature.

    Anyway, your story scared the heck out of me because I…
    1) Always have my iPhone on in the bathroom every time I shower.
    2) Have it in my chest pocket about 16 hours a day, including when
    I am outside in the heat, sweating like mad

    I figured the lack of openings and “touch” aspect of the phone would make it better than my many year old Palm Pilot. Now I’m beginning to wonder.

    Clearly an immersion as Apple claims can only be confirmed by ALL 4 sensors being tripped. I would think that the process would be to check the headphone and usb sensor and if both are tripped then move to opening the device for further follow-up, but if neither or only one is tripped, then the darned thing didn’t run through the laundry or take a trip into the toilet.

    Glad smarter/cooler minds are prevailing now.

  • Bob

    Way to go LTG!! And welcome to the world of rabid Apple fanboys. An Apple product could explode and it would ALWAYS be the user’s fault or a smart Steve Job’s design feature.

    Anyway, your story scared the heck out of me because I…
    1) Always have my iPhone on in the bathroom every time I shower.
    2) Have it in my chest pocket about 16 hours a day, including when
    I am outside in the heat, sweating like mad

    I figured the lack of openings and “touch” aspect of the phone would make it better than my many year old Palm Pilot. Now I’m beginning to wonder.

    Clearly an immersion as Apple claims can only be confirmed by ALL 4 sensors being tripped. I would think that the process would be to check the headphone and usb sensor and if both are tripped then move to opening the device for further follow-up, but if neither or only one is tripped, then the darned thing didn’t run through the laundry or take a trip into the toilet.

    Glad smarter/cooler minds are prevailing now.

  • You’re right Patrick. It is something in my nature that I need to get over! 🙂 I actually have ignored a fair amount of them. The only ones that I tried to respond to are the ones where the commenter seemed to just not read the post before commenting. I will try to do better. 🙂

  • Patrick

    Honestly I think you do a disservice to the legit comments and posts by even acknowledging tirades from some people. As I do not own an iPhone I have no knowledge of the usability of them – but I did not think it necessary for you to acknowledge their comments or to use 2/3 of a post to defend yourself against them…there is typically more negative than positive when people can hide behind a screen.

  • Patrick

    Honestly I think you do a disservice to the legit comments and posts by even acknowledging tirades from some people. As I do not own an iPhone I have no knowledge of the usability of them – but I did not think it necessary for you to acknowledge their comments or to use 2/3 of a post to defend yourself against them…there is typically more negative than positive when people can hide behind a screen.

  • Phil

    Im sure nobody is blaming you personally for submerging the phone it in water, but somehow the has been in contact with some form of liquid. If not by you but possibly by someone else that may have been in contact with your phone or in your car cup holder where your drink has been sitting all day and you move it or throw it away and the sweat from the cup collected to the bottom of the cup holder and you stick your phone in the cup holder submerged in half inch of water that you didn’t even know it was there.

  • Phil

    Im sure nobody is blaming you personally for submerging the phone it in water, but somehow the has been in contact with some form of liquid. If not by you but possibly by someone else that may have been in contact with your phone or in your car cup holder where your drink has been sitting all day and you move it or throw it away and the sweat from the cup collected to the bottom of the cup holder and you stick your phone in the cup holder submerged in half inch of water that you didn’t even know it was there.

  • wes

    the same thing happened to me. of course i didn’t have a cnn article so i am just out of luck. the phone was never dunked in water. somehow the bottom indicator is active…

  • wes

    the same thing happened to me. of course i didn’t have a cnn article so i am just out of luck. the phone was never dunked in water. somehow the bottom indicator is active…

  • So Phil, I have said way too many times now that my iPhone has not been submerged. Either you think I’m lying or that my phone ran off and submerged itself when I was not looking. Trust me, I would have noticed.

    Why do people find it so hard to believe that there could be a defective filter?

    I doubt Apple ran those tests. All you have to do is Google this issue and you will see I am not the only one.

  • Phil

    Why don’t you find a sponsor and test 3 or 4 phones on your own and see if you can make the liquid indicator trip.

    Put one next the the shower like you do… (would you put your toaster in the bathroom with you and cook toast while you are taking a bath or shower?) and not watch the indicator trip.

    why don’t you drop a iphone in a class of water for 5-10 seconds and watch the indicator trip.
    Then you can get a medicine drop and drop some water in the headphone jack and watch it not trigger the sensor.

    All these test have been done by Apple engineers. I encourage you to try these methods with CNN and you will be surprised on the outcome and you will understand that the phone has to be submerged in water for it to be triggered. The Apple warranty does not cover damage that is beyond the manufactures control.

  • Phil

    Why don’t you find a sponsor and test 3 or 4 phones on your own and see if you can make the liquid indicator trip.

    Put one next the the shower like you do… (would you put your toaster in the bathroom with you and cook toast while you are taking a bath or shower?) and not watch the indicator trip.

    why don’t you drop a iphone in a class of water for 5-10 seconds and watch the indicator trip.
    Then you can get a medicine drop and drop some water in the headphone jack and watch it not trigger the sensor.

    All these test have been done by Apple engineers. I encourage you to try these methods with CNN and you will be surprised on the outcome and you will understand that the phone has to be submerged in water for it to be triggered. The Apple warranty does not cover damage that is beyond the manufactures control.

  • Congrats on the CNN pickup – and congrats on getting the spotlight pointed at this very real issue. (And THANK YOU for reiterating the need to be nice online. I wish I knew why so many feel the need to revert to trolldom as soon as they go online.)

    The current configuration of the sensor makes it relatively easy for there to be many more cases/experiences like yours. This automatic voiding policy by Apple clearly needs to go. I appreciate that a lot of folks out there often try to pull the wool over the vendor’s eyes. But to assume guilt by default and force well-meaning consumers to jump through hoops is a little much. It would definitely be a dealbreaker for me the next time I’m considering a smartphone purchase.

    Please excuse me while I examine my BlackBerry with a fine tooth comb. I guess keeping it on the vanity during a shower and – heavens – answering it when a call comes in is now officially a no-no.

    Carmi’s last blog post..Fresh baked bread

  • Congrats on the CNN pickup – and congrats on getting the spotlight pointed at this very real issue. (And THANK YOU for reiterating the need to be nice online. I wish I knew why so many feel the need to revert to trolldom as soon as they go online.)

    The current configuration of the sensor makes it relatively easy for there to be many more cases/experiences like yours. This automatic voiding policy by Apple clearly needs to go. I appreciate that a lot of folks out there often try to pull the wool over the vendor’s eyes. But to assume guilt by default and force well-meaning consumers to jump through hoops is a little much. It would definitely be a dealbreaker for me the next time I’m considering a smartphone purchase.

    Please excuse me while I examine my BlackBerry with a fine tooth comb. I guess keeping it on the vanity during a shower and – heavens – answering it when a call comes in is now officially a no-no.

    Carmi’s last blog post..Fresh baked bread

  • Dean, great point! I actually meant to mention that in my update. Apple fans just get downright NASTY when anyone complains about them. I see it time and time again on forums where users go for help on an issue. Instead they get flamed for speaking out against Apple.

  • Dean

    This is what happens with Apple products. They become a religion with people and then anything negative that is said about them becomes blasphemous. That’s one reason I won’t by Apple products the biggest being that they are way over priced.

  • Dean

    This is what happens with Apple products. They become a religion with people and then anything negative that is said about them becomes blasphemous. That’s one reason I won’t by Apple products the biggest being that they are way over priced.