Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Of Rice and iPhones

Not too long after I got my much loved iPhone, I managed to drop the bloody thing in a toilet bowl while doing my husbandly cleaning duties!  It fell right out of my shirt pocket and plummeted helplessly down into the water, with me screaming in horror all the while. I fished it out within seconds, but I thought the poor thing would be well and truly deceased.

But around the same time, with my Hoax-Slayer hat on, I was checking into a circulating tip that claimed that you could save the life of a wet mobile phone by covering it in uncooked rice overnight.   So I thought I'd give it a go.
Well, the good news is that the phone dried out! I left it in the rice for around 24 hours, cranked it up, and it worked perfectly and has been going ever since.

So did the rice actually save the phone? In truth, there is no way of knowing for sure. It is quite possible that even if I'd left the phone, forlorn and riceless on the bench, it may well have dried out and fully recovered anyway.

Unless you were to take two identical phones in precisely the same condition, immerse them in water for precisely the same length of time and then place one in rice and the other on the bench, there is no real proof that the rice method is effective or not. Even if you did conduct such a controlled experiment, other uncontrolled factors such as the relative robustness of components inside the phones might affect the results. To be really sure, you'd probably have to conduct the same experiment a number of times and correlate the overall results.

The theory is that the rice helps to draw out and absorb the liquid caught in the phone.  That may well be the case. Anyway, regardless of whether the rice saved the day or not, I was just glad to have my iPhone back!

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