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back to article Apple sued over iPhone aqua sensors

Apple is facing a class-action lawsuit that alleges Cupertino is using faulty moisture sensors in its iPhones and iPods to unfairly deny warranty service. The lawsuit, filed in the US District Court of Northern California last Thursday, alleges that Apple denies coverage when a device's Liquid Contact Indicators (LCIs) show that …

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Bronze badge

You want what? Support? We're (cr)apple!

No surprise all they want is your money. Service and support are non optional, non supply items. "We are crapple you are the idiots for shopping with us". Sorry if you deal with an arrogant bunch of image queens then expect the royal shaft.

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FAIL

@Richard Jones 1

Seen the Microsoft Terms and Conditions yet?

No surprise that "all they want is your money. Service and support are non optional, non supply items."

Also they seem to believe "you are the idiots for shopping with us".

My experience with Microsoft is that "if you deal with an arrogant bunch of image queens then expect the royal shaft.". Image queens becuase our boss buys MS stuff just because everyone else does!

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Flame

Par for the course

with Steve 'Botch' Jobs

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Troll

Do you

troll much?

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Happy

Isn't it obvious?

The reason Apple choose to expose the LCI in the way that they do is so that they can very quickly, and at zero cost, dismiss any claim without actually bothering to investingate the real fault.

Which is, of course, exactly what they are doing.

The fact that these devices are, by design, not the easiest to open up and get into may also have something to do with it.

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Anonymous Coward

RE: Isn't it obvious?

"The fact that these devices are, by design, not the easiest to open up and get into..."

May explain why these sensors are in a place that's easily accessable....

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sweaty fingers

I wonder if holding a sweaty finger over the detector would set it off.

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NRT

Clean water does not cause damage

My wife dropped her phone into the toilet (fortunately before use). We removed the battery & then washed the phone thoroughly with de-ionised water.

After the phone was dried out (24hrs on a radiator) it worked correctly.

That being the case, why does immersion invalidate the warranty?

Nick.

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Boffin

Clean water DOES cause damage

Even de-ionised water will disolve all sorts of things that are naturally present on surfaces and become conductive / corrosive. Given the voltage that occurs between conductive parts inside the phone, metalic parts will start to migrate, disolving from some places, "growing" in others. Eventually open-circuits and short-circuits will occur. In addition, the mildly conductive water may allow voltages/currents high enough to damage some parts.

In your case, prompt action of removing the battery, flushing it with de-ionised water and drying it out probably saved it (or at least reduced the amount of damage).

In other news, somebody somewhere once survived a car crash. Car crashes do not kill people.

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RE: Clean water does not cause damage

Yep. My ex-flatmate put his phone through an entire washing machine cycle and it still worked.

One drunken night he dropped it in a puddle and it was forever dead.

I think it might be dependent on what the phone was doing when it got wet. If it's not up to much, you might be OK...

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Can you remove batteries from iphones?

I remember the only way to take the battery out an ipod was with the aid of a screwdriver.

Removing the battery as soon as possible will reduce the risk of damage to the device.

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@NRT / Toiletphone

OK, the phone still works but the relevant question is: was the sensor tripped? I think we should be told.

M

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Anonymous Coward

So for maximum warranty coverage?

Find the LCI and cover it with a suitable material - eg a non-aqueus glue.

Should you drop your (i)phone in the sink or toilet bowl, I'm sure the resulting damage will be more than obvious to the repair centre and so you won't be diddling them out of repair. But it might stop a climatic induced false positive

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WTF?

RE: So for maximum warranty coverage?

"Find the LCI and cover it with a suitable material - eg a non-aqueus glue."

Thereby invalidating your warranty immediately?

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Be persistent

I have just been through this exact problem with Applecare. My home key was unresponsive and I was told by a "genius" at an Apple store that I had clearly submerged my phone as both indicators had been tripped. I knew this was not the case, though my iPhone had been used extensively on dog walks and whilst exercising (are they not designed for these purposes?).

I contacted Applecare, after 45 minutes on a premium rate call I explained my problem to a senior advisor, who eventually authorised a return for inspection. They found that the internal indicator had NOT been affected, it had not been submerged, and a replacement phone is being shipped.

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PLease tell me

I hope to god you went back to the store to let the expert know :)

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That's weird

I could see why they might say "Look, the water sensors have been tripped, if the one inside has also tripped then the repair won't covered under your warranty, but we'll give you a quote" so that you know that you might have to pay.

I can't see why they might refuse to repair it altogether, though.

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Anonymous Coward

@NRT

Being put in a washing machine (twice) doesnt stop a phone from working either, my wife has done it twice, all i did was take it apart, to let it dry, then put it back together (wasnt an iphone, was a samsung)

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Gold badge
Happy

Samsung?

For some reason Samsungs seem to be quite resiliant in this regard.

I once accidently took an old A300 swimming. By the time I noticed, I could clearly see the water sloshing around inside behind the front screen (maybe that's why it's porthole shaped?).

Dismantle*, leave bits to dry for a couple of days, reassemble. Worked just fine.

*It helps if you're the sort of geeky type who just happens to have a complete set of miniature screwdrivers on them whilst on holiday in Croatia. The feeling of vindication I got from actually needing them was wonderful though.

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Coat

Now we know

This is the reason Apple doesn't allow p0rn on the iPhone presumably.

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is my iPhone not real?

holy shit my iPhone runs pr0n fine...

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Same At HTC

My colleague, who is *very* careful with his phone, had HTC pull the same trick, after a lot of arguing they eventually agreed to fix it. Bother of us have had bad experiences with HTC repairs.

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Anonymous Coward

False claims - Motorola repairers too.

I was working at a large phone manufacturer a few years ago and all the phone repairs were subcontracted out. We started getting lots of people complaining about their phone repairs being refused because of 'water damage' so we sent some faulty phones into the repair loop. The majority of phones came back as faulty due to water damage when obviously none of them had ever been near water. The subcontractor was obviously using 'water damage' as an excuse not to have to repair, which would have reduced their repair times.

Having a water sensor can work both ways. If it detects too easily, it gives the repairer a good excuse to not to repair, but if it is not set off, there is no excuse. (mind you, if I was that repairer, having a humid location I can leave the phones in overnight to set off the phone's water detector would seem to be an easy getout).

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FAIL

Can't think of a title today

Maybe someone should remind apple that just because they design everything in california doesn't mean their products aren't going to be used by people in more rainy climates.

Also you have to love the irony of a product with LCI's that can (allegedly) be triggered by sweat given that "sweatshops" are (allegedly) where apple's products are made :)

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Gegraphical design flaw

That kind of placement for moisture sensors can only be thought up by someone working in the near-desert Silicon Valley environment... If a device intended for daily handheld use cannot take a few drops of water on the outside, or some condensation when taken indoors, it is useless in much of the world.

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Concerns me a little...

...many is the time where I have grabbed the phone to snooze the alarm, and left it in my hand under the covers/pillow waiting 9 minutes for the next alarm, only to discover that I have held the glass side to my palm which then has a nice layer of condensation on it...

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Cold to hot

I have a secure shed in which I keep a bit of PA equipment, on account of how bashing dents in doorframes and walls with speakers and amps tends to make more work for me. It's currently unheated, so things get chilly in there, but it tends not to get damp.

But when you take stuff out of there and put it in a nice warm gig or practise environment, all the moisture in that warm air instantly condenses on the cold metalwork of the microphones and stands, in the same way as it would on a cold glass. As a result, there are still a few delicate things I need to keep inside to avoid problems there.

I can see this *very* easily being a problem with anything like an iPhone. A particular problem with the iPhone is that it's not really pocket-sized, so a lot of people use holsters for them, meaning that they're out in the cold air. Spend ten minutes outside in winter and then go indoors, and condensation *is* going to happen.

So not a very clever idea really.

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Boffin

Condensation

"But when you take stuff out of there and put it in a nice warm gig or practise environment, all the moisture in that warm air instantly condenses on the cold metalwork of the microphones and stands, in the same way as it would on a cold glass. As a result, there are still a few delicate things I need to keep inside to avoid problems there."

There's a simple way to fix this problem, plastic bags. The condensing water omes from the warm air that has more water. If you pack the gear into plastic bags the air inside bags will be low moisture, and if given time to warm inside gear will not get wet.

This is partly the reason why phone insides arent that much affected by condensation. Inside the phone air is low moisture, and air doesnt get exchanged very fast. If there is condensation on the outside it doesnt mean there's some inside. THat is why moisture detectors outside of the phone wont work. Or work too well.

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Sly
FAIL

another reason to not get an apple product

I eat apples... I don't computer with them.

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Submerged 3GS and no pinkness in the sensors...

I dropped my 3GS in a deep puddle for a good few seconds while I was getting into the car - it was pitch black and I couldn't see/find it. Message on display "This accessory is not designed for iPhone" (well it was muddy water...) 24hrs in the airing cupboard and it was right as rain (lolz)

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Anonymous Coward

Response to anonymous coward 12:27 GMT

So your boss buys MS things because they get his business done, where is the style queening in that?

I talked only of the posers who bought into the so called cool style of crapple.

Have you ever tried to understand the crapple logic?

Here is a sample, they withdrew the ability to buy gift vouchers on line because acording to them, it was so easy to drive round town to buy them. Yes that WAS the crapple explanation.

Reality check, they could not get the system to work reliably, I suggested that MS might be able to help but they were far too style aware to accept.

So far MS stuff just works, unlike the apple that my work foisted on me, 25% of my work time was lost per day by the system crashing, thank god that pile went the way that piles of do-do should go.

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FAIL

Re. condensation

this problem is more Apple not wanting to deal with intermittent condensation-induced faults under warranty.

Having had a Samsung phone where the batteries LCI tripped for no good reason (jn this case it was taking the battery out and leaving it in a kitchen while troubleshooting the phone), these do go off way too easily.

Contrary to popular belief water does not cause immediate irreversible damage, as long as the phone is not powered at the time.

I've successfully resurrected drowned phones by rinsing the pcbs in distilled water then IPA, followed by a gentle drying in an oven (with cooking thermometer) at just above 100C.

Powered phones generally die very quickly which is why I wont buy an Iphone until they add a "hard power" switch that isolates the battery when asked.

AC, for um, "security" reasons....

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Bronze badge
Boffin

Power switches and batteries

>I've successfully resurrected drowned phones by rinsing the pcbs in distilled water then IPA, followed by a gentle drying in an oven (with cooking thermometer) at just above 100C.

Above 100C? Wouldn't it be safer to limit the heating to something like 75C? But if it has worked for you, interesting to hear.

> Powered phones generally die very quickly which is why I wont buy an Iphone until they add a "hard power" switch that isolates the battery when asked.

I don't think ANY modern phone has an actual hard power switch. There is some electronics always on. One annoying manifestation of this that I have seen in several Nokias I have had is that if a battery is totally depleted (which easily happens if you leave the phone untouched for a few months), it is impossible to use the phone itself to recharge it. It seems their charging circuits don't work, unless they get at least some voltage from the battery. Just how silly is that?

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FAIL

not just Apple (tm)

Motorola do the same with the Razor (still sold in USA) and other makers also, they just go red in hot sweaty pockets.

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Flame

Because they're robbing bastards

along with an investigation as to why Apple has chosen, unlike most other handset vendors, to make its LCIs so exposed.

Because they're robbing bastards maybe?

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