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Blame it on the Lint!

Everything from having a hard time charging a device to no sound because your iPhone still thinks headphones are plugged in can be attributed to mystery junk accumulating in the headphone jack or in the charge/sync port (be it Lightning or 30-pin). Here's how to clean those ports and help keep stuff from building up in them:

First, get all that lint and whatever else out of the ports. Genius Bars the world over use canned air to dislodge gunk, so that might be an option if it doesn't seem like there's a lot of stuff in the ports. If canned air doesn't seem to help, you can gently insert a toothpick or other small and preferable flexible device, and use that to lightly dig out the more entrenched lint.

Twist ties can be used, or anything else that's preferably not metal so you don't scratch up the inside of your ports or damage important circuitry. A plastic dental pick comes in handy because it's reusable and easy to clean but soft enough not to hurt anything.

Once all that stuff has been liberated from the ports of your iPhone or iPad, the next step is to keep it clean. An easy way to do that is to keep the ports covered, either with a case or with some port covers, which are inexpensive and easily removable for when you actually need to plug something in. Also they come in multiples, so if you lose one it's not the end of the world. Now your iPhone and iPad shouldn't have trouble charging or playing music.

Broken iPhone Screen?

A gentleman came in to our shop holding his broken iPhone screen with bandaged fingers. We’ve seen a lot of broken iPhone screen problems ranging from tiny hairline cracks to phones where the screen was a maze of pieces. This man’s phone screen had shattered. He had been holding the pieces in place with packing tape but clearly had been using it even though splinters of glass were peeling off and cutting his fingers as he continued to use it.

Clearly, he couldn’t be separated from his phone for long. Even as he stood at our counter, ready to hand it over for a much-needed screen replacement, it rang and we watched as he lifted the broken, cracked phone to his face. We waited … we’ve seen a lot of people make “one more phone call.” As he concluded his call, we were horrified to see blood trickling down the side of his face.

His broken iPhone had cut his ear! Even though he’d already sliced his fingers more than once, he had no idea he had just cut himself again with this cracked screen. While Jeff fixed his phone, I got him a Band-Aid and soon he left with a brand new screen and matching bandaged fingers and ears.

Why You Shouldn’t Wait

While this is an extreme case, we see too many people come in with broken iPhone screen (or iPad or iPod) that they’ve waited far too long to get repaired. Certainly you’d expect us, an iPhone repair business, to recommend you get it fixed right away… It’s because we care about you & your devices and a cracked screen will never get better on its own!

In fact, a cracked screen will continue to split and can eventually lead to total failure of your device. If you’ve ever had a chipped windshield, you know it’s only a matter of time before the crack spreads. It damaged the integrity of your entire windshield, letting air and, more likely, rain leak into your car.

Your iPhone will have the same problem. Even the tiniest crack will let dust and moisture in, causing corrosion and damage you can’t see. Larger cracks or even missing pieces can cause damage to the LCD screen. Parts of the screen may go white or have big blotches. That’s not usable. Plus a broken LCD adds to your repair bill and exposes more of your internal components to damage. An iPad is a big investment and suffers the same intrusion as well from cracked screens.

We also replace a lot of lost home buttons. The glass screen holds that in place. If pieces of your screen are coming out, chances are that home button will soon be following. Again, we can easily replace that lost home button (we keep plenty in stock!), but it just adds to the final cost of your iPhone repair. But for some model that have the touch ID home buttons that part is made for your device ONLY and will not function properly unless we put that same button back in your broke device. It is crucial to use the Touch ID Home button that was made for your phone. If we have to use an aftermarket button you will lose your touch security capabilities.

What to do When Your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Screen Cracks

If you didn’t already have a screen protector on your phone, adding one when you first get a small crack can help you keep dust and moisture out of the phone until you get it to a repair shop. Don’t let this be a long-term solution! These cracks won’t repair themselves. Remember, there are a lot more expensive parts and repairs than just the screen.

Clear packing tape can do in a pinch, but again, this is a very temporary fix designed to keep your device intact and your fingers safe until you can get it to us. You can also put your device in a resealable plastic bag, again to keep it away from moisture and retain any pieces (like the home button) that are falling off.

The Cost of Repair vs. Replace

We know that our clients often come to us when they’re not able to afford a brand new phone, or their current iDevice is out of warranty, or they’ve got too much time before their contract is up or they’re able to upgrade their phone.

We want to make repairing your broken iPhone, iPad, or iPod screen an affordable, quick, and easy option. Feel free to give us a call at 270-866-9566 for a free, no obligation quote!

Rice? Not to Fix Electronics.

It's the first warm day of summer. You, some friends, and family are out poolside. The sun is warm, the air smells like sizzling burgers and fresh-cut grass. You're standing beside the pool on your phone when that mischievous friend you have pushes you into the pool, $800 smartphone and all. Or maybe you're jamming out to some tunes at the sink when your air guitar solo knocks your phone right into some nasty dish water. Or maybe you're at your laptop, writing the world's next greatest novel, when your coffee ends up all over your keyboard instead of in your mouth. You turn off your device as quickly as you can, and dash to the kitchen. Rice is supposed to fix this sort of thing, right? You fill the biggest airtight container you have with rice, shove your device inside, and hope. Twenty-four hours later, you pull it out, and everything seems to be fine. All is well. Right? Wrong.

This modern home remedy for a water-logged electronic device seems to make a lot of sense. The goal is to dry off the device inside and out. Rice will naturally absorb moisture. So, put the device into the rice, seal it off, and give the rice enough time to do its magic and absorb all of the moisture from the device, or so the story goes. However, while rice may remove some liquid from the device, it does not actually repair the damage the liquid has caused. Not only that, but rice itself can further damage the device.

Why isn't rice enough to repair your liquid-damaged device? It has to do with two different reasons liquid actually damages your device in the first place. The first way is the one we're probably most familiar with. Liquid (or actually, the minerals and impurities in liquid. Fun fact: pure water is actually a poor conductor of electricity!) combined with the electricity in your device sends electrical currents to places they're not supposed to go. Think of your device's logic board (motherboard, mainboard—the main component that makes it work) like a freeway system. Driving on a freeway, you take a certain combination of interstates to get to a certain destination. Take a different combination and you may never end up at your destination. Try to enter on the exit ramp, and you may end up dead! Circuits on the logic board are like the interstates, and electricity is like the cars on the road. Allowing liquid into the device is like taking down all the interstate signs. Just like cars would end up all over the place, liquid allows electricity to go wherever it wants, including places it is not designed to go. Connections get bridged, which causes short circuits. This mayhem can destroy components in the device, cause excess heat which will eventually ruin your device over the long term, or a host of other problems. The problem isn't even necessarily solved by drying out your device—liquids can leave behind their impurities when they dry up, and those impurities can continue to send electricity places it's not supposed to go and cause those short circuits.

The second way that liquid causes damage is sneakier: corrosion. Even if your device is completely dry (which is more difficult than you might think—liquid can become trapped underneath components on a circuit board), significant damage could already be done. Liquid does not only interact with electricity, but with some of the metal components in your device. Metals like copper react very poorly to water, and the combination of water and oxygen begins a process called corrosion. The corrosion we're most familiar with is rust, the corrosion of iron. Just like rust eats up metal, corrosion is actually slowly destroying the metal in the device. Left to itself, corrosion can completely ruin circuits in the device and leave it unrepairable. Not only that, corrosion is really difficult to remove. If you've tried to remove rust from anything, you know that a lot of sand paper and hard work is involved! Likewise, you have to have the right tools to remove corrosion.

Here's why rice shouldn't quit its day job. It only handles our first problem, liquid, reasonably well. It will remove some of the liquid from the device, but usually it does not do a thorough job. Often, rice will not get close enough to some areas to effectively remove the liquid, while in other instances it gets too close. We've opened devices with sitting liquid and rice inside! When this happens, rice can deposit starch onto electrical components that actually damage the device further, just like the liquid. Rice doesn't handle our second problem of corrosion at all. Rice, you're tasty steamed, fried, or even boiled, but not inside my $2,000 MacBook.

So, what should you do if you just dropped your device into the sink? The first part of the rice solution is sound: you need to remove power from your device as soon as possible. Unplug and/or power down your device immediately after the incident, and do not power it back on until it has been properly cleaned. Internet articles and YouTube videos will recommend tooth brushes, mineral spirits, vinegar, baking soda, rubbing alcohol, and other household items to clean off the insides of your device. While these solutions can be used to clean your device, they are not thorough, and can ruin your device if not used carefully. The best use of your time and money, and the best chance of saving your device, is to power it off and bring it to a professional as soon as possible after a liquid accident.

We specialize in professional liquid damage repair and board-level repair. We can dry out your device, remove corrosion and other impurities, and actually replace damaged components on the main board of your device. We use a professional cleaning process involving specially-formulated chemical cleaners and a wave-heat cycle. This process is safe for your device, handled by trained technicians, and can often restore functionality to a device with no further repair if we receive it shortly after the incident.

We have a 95% success rate of repairing seemingly dead MacBooks, Laptops and Cell Phones. In fact, most failed liquid damage repairs are the result of a device being dried out with rice and then used extensively. The initial liquid damage, mineral deposit from the liquid, and starch from the rice work out their evil magic over time, making your device a ticking time bomb waiting to die at the most inopportune time. So remember: rice is for dinner and a side dish at your favorite Mexican Restaurant, not an electronic repair.