Keeping Your Mobile Safe! by Elisa Schmitz
The last thing anyone wants is to be sidelined with a mobile phone that doesn’t work. Things like water, extreme temperatures and falls are all problems that can and do occur on a daily basis. Knowing how to care for your cell – and what to do if something happens to it – can keep you and your phone going for the long haul. Here are some helpful ideas brought to you by our friends at U.S. Cellular.
Basic Mobile Maintenance
It’s true: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Take care of your phone to prevent damage from occurring by using a protective cover. Whether it’s a hard plastic case or silicone sleeve, a cover takes the knocks and scratches for your phone, leaving it safer and protected inside. To prevent scratches on your display screen, invest a few bucks in a glass shield. You can even multi-task the maintenance a bit with accessories like a protective cover for your phone with a built-in rechargeable battery.
Clean the surface of your phone as needed using a soft cloth to get rid of oils from your skin and everyday gunk build-up. Harsh cleaners can seep into your phone’s insides and cause damage. If you absolutely need to use something to clean your phone’s exterior, dip just a bit of rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab and dab lightly.
Basic battery charging also can keep your phone in peak performance. Most newer cell phones use a lithium-ion battery, which doesn’t have to be completely depleted before you charge it, as with older battery types. In fact, regular daily charging instead of charging only when your battery is empty can prolong battery life. Just remember to disconnect from the charger once your phone is fully charged. Overcharging your battery also can wear it out sooner.
Water, Sand and Dust
Despite your best efforts to protect your phone, you dropped it in the sink (or worse, the toilet!), spilled a drink on it, got caught in the rain or were surprised by a rogue ocean wave – now what? Using a blow dryer, microwave or the sun’s rays to dry your phone can damage it further by exposing it to excessive heat levels. Instead, turn off your phone and rinse off liquids like salt water or soda by dipping the phone in plain water. Remove the SIM card, memory card and battery, and wipe wet parts down with a cloth. Then bury all the parts in a container filled with uncooked rice. Leave it there for at least 24 hours for the rice to absorb the moisture.
For sand or dust in the cracks and crevices of your phone, use a can of compressed air to blow particles out of the keypad and sockets. And consider getting a waterproof cover to keep out sand, dust and moisture if your phone frequently is exposed to these elements.
Cell phones are finicky about their surroundings – they don’t like extremely hot or cold temperatures. Leaving your cell in the car, taking it out in the snow or laying it next to you while you sunbathe can all expose your phone to temps that are way too hot or cold for it to handle. Colder weather typically is the milder of the two, as experts say cell phones often bounce back from cold temps better than overheating. Cold weather can slow your battery or phone’s functioning down, and freezing temps may cause liquid crystals in your phone’s display to freeze. However, a 2009 “Popular Mechanics” investigation of extreme cold and cell phones showed that it would have to be colder than -10 degrees F to cause any real problems. Hot weather causes similar issues, but heat can permanently damage a battery.
The best remedy in either case is to get your cell back to room temperature, wiping down any condensation on the phone with a soft cloth and leaving it turned off while it recovers. Then prevent future problems by keeping your phone in an inner pocket of your coat when out in the cold and away from direct sunlight and hot temps.
A cover can protect your phone from everyday wear and tear, but sometimes it’s not enough to prevent damage from falls or being crushed. Cracked glass may just mean a cracked outer layer and the phone’s touch screen and display are OK. It looks bad, but if the crack’s not extreme, you can still operate the phone. Other times, cracks or broken parts can render your phone useless. For this kind of damage, your cell phone manufacturer may be able to repair it. A number of independent businesses also specialize in cell phone repair. Just look online or ask around at local electronics stores. If it’s minor or surface damage – and you’re technically inclined – you may opt to repair or replace broken parts yourself.
If your phone still doesn’t work after you’ve tried the proper remedy or repair, you might need a new one – or at least a new battery, which is a much less expensive proposition than replacing your entire phone. If you think you need a new phone, first check your paperwork or contact your service provider to see if the phone or damage is covered under warranty.