Inexpensive Remedies for a Broken iPhone

If it's broke, (cheaply) fix it.

Matt Branhamby Matt Branham

Anybody who owns an iPhone likely considers it one of their closest friends, if not family. Yet throwing, scratching, smashing and submerging iPhones are daily occurrences that may require some costly resuscitation. If you or a loved one are currently mending a broken heart/iPhone, here are some inexpensive remedies to keep your best friend looking good as new without costing you $200.

Wet iPhone

We’ve all done it, and we’ll continue to do it: dropping our iPhones in the toilet, carrying them in the pouring rain or accidentally washing them with our darks. These things happen, no matter how under the influence of alcohol you are or aren’t. The key is to remain calm and breathe before acting. Then follow these steps:

1. Initially, you’ll want to remove your iPhone from the water and get it dry. This is the point in the emergency where you decide if you love your iPhone enough to dunk your hands in a possibly unflushed toilet.

2. Once your iPhone is out, power the device down and use a soft cloth to gently remove the external water from the device. It’s important not to panic and see if it’s still working, because activating your iPhone and pressing its buttons will likely cause whatever is working to short circuit.

3. Once the iPhone is dry, use a hairdryer (not too close to the phone) or compressed-air spray to remove any further moisture from the earpiece at the top, speaker holes on the bottom and the audio jack on top (anywhere that water may have gotten in). You can even dunk your iPhone in a bowl of uncooked rice and allow the rice to soak up any nearby moisture.

4. When you’re certain your phone is as dry as it can be, wait a few minutes and hit the home button to see if there is any response. If there isn’t, you can always hold down the power and home buttons at the same time to reset the phone. Although these steps are not always fail-proof, most water damage situations are repairable depending on the body of water (or urine) the phone is dropped in. Most iPhone models are built to withstand a certain degree of water damage.

Broken Buttons

If buttons like the home, volume or mute aren’t responding, it may not be due to any incident, except the random failure and aging of the device. Without jail-breaking your phone, which is considered an unforgivable tech crime of passion, there’s a cool way to designate the task of old buttons to new ones.

1. Under Settings, scroll down to General. At the bottom of the list, select Accessibility. Choose AssistiveTouch under the Physical & Motor category. Turn on AssistiveTouch.

2. A node will appear in the bottom right corner that allows you to simulate button pushes on-screen. So if your volume buttons aren’t responding, select the node and tap Device and select the Volume option on screen.

3. You can choose from Home, Device (volume up/down, mute, rotate screen, shake, lock screen) or Favorites to make your buttons come alive in a new way, as well as customize your iPhone to make things quicker or more convenient.

Cracked Glass Case

So you got mad and threw your iPhone against the wall. It’s not your phone’s fault, but if it happens to still be fully functioning, all you have to do is deal with the broken front glass. It may work, but it’s also a danger to that face you’ve grown so fond of over the years. Apple now replaces screens, but they may empty your wallet for it. Instead, just do this:

1. A quick remedy is to use gloves and a soft cloth to lightly brush off any small glass particles without removing any large pieces.

2. Take a clear roll of reliable packaging tape and lightly wrap once around the iPhone from top to bottom. You can wrap it more than once, but it’ll probably just make your iPhone look like trash.

3. Cut holes for the receiver on the front screen and the speakers and charger at the bottom. You want the surface to feel as smooth as if you hadn’t just thrown your phone into a wall.

Charging and Saving Battery

If you iPhone isn’t responding when you try to charge it, or if your battery life is short-lived, there are a few tricks to try before taking drastic measures.

1. Close all the apps on your iPhone by double-clicking the home button to make the bar of apps appear at the bottom. Then, by holding one of the apps until the red delete markers appear and closing each individual app, you’ll slow the drain on your battery. You can also dim the screen’s brightness and turn off Bluetooth in your Settings app.

2. For the charging issue, connect your iPhone to your computer (the one on which it’s synced with iTunes). Use the computer USB port, not the keyboard USB. If the phone doesn’t appear, attempt to update the software by going to Software Update in the Settings app. If the iPhone does appear, it might offer you the latest software update, which is usually the key to most problems. Keeping the computer and iPhone up-to-date allows the apps to function as they are meant to.

3. If updating isn’t the issue, it may be best to restore your iPhone. This is a drastic measure that may result in a loss of saved data. Be sure to email or backup any important information before restoring, which takes your iPhone back to a clean slate. If these options don’t help, and you’re still under warranty, take the phone to the store and let them have the headache.

Preventative Measures

Having remedies for a comatose iPhone is great and all, but in the age we live in, it may prove easier to take the steps necessary to prevent problem situations. Get the following:

1. GPS: When you get your iPhone, you should take the time to set up the Find My iPhone app so that you can find your phone from your Apple computer or iPad. Doing anything less is pure laziness. If you haven’t done it yet, do it now. It’s free.

2. Covers and cases: When purchasing your iPhone, it’s a good idea to get a cover or case for it, so that you won’t have to research articles likes this one. If you haven’t already, go out and spend a small fraction of what you paid for the phone to keep it safe. Whether through Apple or some clever online boutique, you can get waterproof covers now too.

3. Insurance: Good, old-fashioned insurance is important, just like your mother taught you. It may be a few extra bucks a month on that cell phone bill, but you probably spend that much every day on chewing gum and baseball cards. It’s worth it!