It was late on a Sunday evening, after the chickens had been safely locked up and the final load of washing was happily swirling in its soapy juices, that I settled down to watch TV and simultaneously send a few text messages.
Except my iPhone was missing. Nowhere to be found, even after upending all the sofa cushions, checking every room I’d wandered into on the way towards relaxation time and dialling it from my landline.
I knew it couldn’t be lost. I’d had it not forty minutes ago, just before, just before … putting on the washing.
OMG the washing! Had the phone been in the pocket of my jeans?
#112 Attempt a Resuscitation
It’s hard to describe the feeling of watching your iPhone grinning gleefully at you as it sloshes around in sudsy water from inside your washing machine .
Did you know that interrupting front loading washing machines mid-cycle is not at all intuitive?
And it’s terribly stressful trying to locate a 10-year-old washing machine instruction manual in a hurry, find the section on “How to Add or Remove Items From Your Machine”, then discover it’s nigh on impossible if the drum is full of water. The internal screaming at your own stupidity doesn’t help either.
So I resigned the phone to its fate, managed to switch the washer to a shorter cycle and spin, all the while googling “Can a Drowned iPhone be saved?”
It turns out, that’s not as stupid as it sounds. If the immersion has been short-lived, there’s an outside chance of rescue. But there was no mention of “full cycle”, “soap”, “suds” and “high speed spinning”.
Following Google’s advice, I switched the phone off the second I could retrieve it (and it did look very clean) removed the SIM card, rinsed the phone of soapy residue and put it in a jar of rice.
The next morning, after further research told me that rice isn’t a good idea because small grains can get into the mechanism, I moved onto silica beads.
You know the ones. They come in little sachets slipped into various purchases to reduce damp spoilage and they have written exhortations on the packets not to ingest them on pain of death.
But the few packs I could scavenge didn’t seem enough, so I bought more from my friendly hardware monolith, slipped the phone into an old sock and buried it in a heap of the beads for 5 days.
The amount of water extracted after the first 5 days was surprising
so I repeated the process with fresh beads for another 5 days with similar results. (Being without your phone for ten days is a whole other story … )
Being loath to risk electrocution by turning it on or recharging it after such a soaking, I took it into a very brave iPhone repairer who did the deed for me. He, too, was mightily impressed with the silica beads’ water extraction capabilities and offered to nurse the phone on his bespoke temperature controlled warming-bed for another 24 hours.
I find this hard to believe, but my phone has been working since I picked it up from him.
I’ll be honest, a machine can’t go through that much trauma and come out totally unscathed.
It can no longer manage facial recognition, take a screen shot or allow me to pay using the Visa card in my apple wallet, but these are minor issues and so far, everything else works pretty well.
And the major lesson I’ve learned from this adventure? (Well, apart from the obvious.)
Save up all the little sachets of DO NOT EAT silica beads you ever get, because who knows, one day the phone they save may be yours.