Apple’s iPhone isn’t waterproof, no matter what the Internet says


The home screen of an Apple Inc. iPhone 5 operating iOS 6, left, and an iPhone 5C operating iOS 7 is displayed in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013. Buying memory to store more photos, videos and applications on a smartphone costs most consumers about $50. For Apple Inc. customers, it costs four times more than that. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg)
September 26, 2013

Waterproofing is a growing trend among smartphone manufacturers, but despite what you may have seen on social networking sites, it’s not a feature of Apple’s new iOS 7 software.

But that’s exactly the gist of a fake ad circulating the Web, which is trying to prank users into dropping their newly upgraded phones straight into the drink. The ad uses the Apple’s new font for iOS 7 with a false explanation of how the feature works.

“With the new features and smart formalities of iOS 7, the phone can now detect sudden changes in thermodistribution with the tough sensitive screen and the home button,” the false ad says, promising that water will trigger an “emergency shut off” feature.

The Guardian reported that the prank is believed to have started at the Internet forum 4Chan and was being passed around Twitter, Facebook and other social networks with the hashtag “waterproof.” According to CNET, there are reports of folks claiming they have wrecked their phones after seeing the ad, though there are also plenty of false claims that the fake feature works.

For the record, it doesn’t. Installing iOS 7 does change your iPhone, but it’s a software update, so it can’t physically change the construction of your smartphone.

If you do get a smartphone phone wet, there are couple of tricks you can try to salvage it, especially since you’ve probably already voided your warranty. You should make sure the device is off immediately and then dry out as much of the phone — inside and out — as you possibly can. (If you have a phone with a removable battery — not the iPhone — you should also take that out.)

Avoid trying hair dryers or, even worse, microwaves. Time is your best friend in this scenario; the phone just has to dry out by itself. It’s not a bad idea, however, to place the device in something that can draw out the moisture, such as silica gel packets or uncooked rice. Still, you need to make sure that none of that stuff — especially those tiny grains of rice -- makes its way into the device.

If you want a waterproof phone, you have options. Some companies, particularly Sony, have made waterproof — or at least water-resistant — phones and tablets designed to survive a quick dip or even to be used for underwater photography. Samsung has introduced a water-resistant version of its flagship Galaxy S4, called the Galaxy S4 Active.

There are also companies that retail that they say are protective coatings that users can put on their phones to make them waterproof. One such coating-maker, Liquipel, covers “accidental damage” by liquid in its warranty.

But unless your phone is indeed waterproof, or covered with a waterproof coating, refrain from dropping your phone — and all your electronics — into any puddles.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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