Professional resolves phone damage dilemmas

Do-it-yourself fixes for phones can be found online as an alternative for going to a store. Although this can be a cheaper alternative, it's usually safer to consult an expert, said Josh Saketi, owner of Rescue Cell Phone in Arlington.

With phones often being the most expensive device students carry around, breaking one could cost hundreds of dollars to repair or replace.

Those who damage their phones may not know what to do after. Here are some ways to prevent these devices from breaking and how to fix them if they do.

Water damage

Speech communication senior Ann Awe was working at Chili's when, one day, her female co-worker dropped her phone in the toilet.

Awe said one employee recommended she put her phone in uncooked rice to absorb the water. Following their recommendation, she got a plastic bag, filled it with rice and put her phone in for two days.

Afterward, her phone mostly worked, but most sound features were either faulty or didn't function, Awe said.

“The only thing rice is good for is eating, in my opinion,” said Josh Saketi, owner of Rescue Cell Phone in Arlington.

Saketi said while rice may work for older, simpler models, it will most likely not fix the problem. He said it’s actually dangerous for inexperienced people to fix water damage, because water may corrode the phone as it dries, especially with the battery's heat.

Saketi said he had two different customers bring phones in for water damage.

One woman brought her child’s phone in right after it fell in a pool. When he opened it, water dripped out of the back. He said it was easily fixable, because she brought the phone in as soon as possible.

A man brought his phone in several days after it fell in a lake. The customer said he dried his phone and it was working. Days later, it stopped. The problem was corrosion, a much more expensive problem, Saketi said.

The wetter the phone is, the better, Saketi said.

He said drying a phone doesn’t help much. Owners should attempt to turn the phone off, then immediately go to a phone repair shop.

Although waterproof cases work initially, they can fail without the owner’s knowledge, Saketi said.

He said cases will eventually have a breach due to wear. Owners can also forget to put the stopper back in either the charge port or headphone jack.

For most of the summer, Saketi says he gets about two to three customers a day who bring in phones damaged by water or other liquid. Many of those phones have damaged waterproof cases.

Broken screens

Awe uses a phone with several hairline cracks.

She said she uses an older phone, because she dropped and broke her newer one when it didn't have a case.

She's learned she is clumsy and should always have a case on her phone, no matter how inconvenient it may be, she said.

"Always put your case on," Awe said. "Just leave it on your phone."

Saketi said screen damage could be minor, but a crack could get worse and permanently damage the phone.

He said some people choose to live with cracked screens for months, which could lead to further damage.

A larger problem is when a crack is on part of the phone’s hardware. This could also get worse and permanently damage the phone’s components, Saketi said.

Saketi’s phone is equipped with vinyl and tempered glass. He said all phones should come with a tempered glass cover, because it’s best.

Biplop Dhakal, civil engineering graduate student, said he has a tempered glass case, but uses his phone very little to keep from dropping it.

Dhakal said people shouldn't use their phones while multitasking, because it increases the chances of dropping it.

Owners should be fine as long as they get a basic case and try to not drop their phones, Saketi said.

Saketi said it’s difficult for people to diagnose their own phones, because many symptoms for one problem are the same for others.

However, if the phone is constantly restarting, it’s usually the battery. Saketi said to not keep turning it on and to take the phone to a repair shop.

Other than not dropping the phone, Saketi recommends not leaving a phone charging past 100 percent to avoid battery damage. One problem is people leave their phones charging while they sleep, which overstresses the battery.

Experts must be informed on the latest technology and how it functions and can break, Saketi said. While it is possible for amateurs to fix their phones, Saketi said the safest solution is to bring it to a reputable repair shop.


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