Frugal NationFrugal Nation

Top 5 ways to kill your iPhone

A new survey indicates we've spent nearly $6 billion on repairs and replacements to damaged iPhones. And the device is 10 times more likely to be accidentally damaged than lost or stolen.

By Donna_Freedman Sep 18, 2012 1:42PM
Logo: Businessman in car with smartphone Image Source, Image Source, Getty ImagesAre you one of those people who has to upgrade with every iPhone iteration? Let me give you two pieces of advice: 
  • The iPhone 5 is probably just as hard to hold on to as its predecessors.
  • IPhones can't swim.
Impact and water are the top dangers to iPhones, according to a new survey from the consumer electronics warranty company SquareTrade. And it's costing users a pretty penny.

Think "billions."

Some $5.9 billion has been spent on insurance deductibles, repair and replacement since the brand's 2007 introduction, the report says. Not that everyone is willing to pay big bucks for repairs: 6% of the 2,000 survey respondents said they used tape on their cracked phones.

The top five ways phones are damaged or destroyed: 
  1. Phone dropped from hand.
  2. Phone fell into a toilet, swimming pool or lake.
  3. Phone dropped from lap.
  4. Phone knocked off a table.
  5. Phone drenched by "some liquid."
"We were astonished at how many people drop their phones in the toilet, as well as how frequently an innocuous drop from the hand actually killed the device," says Ty Shay of SquareTrade.

The iPhone 5 isn't immune to hacking, either. For tips on how to protect yourself, see "IPhone 5: How to keep it secure."

It's a little scary to think of spending so much money on a piece of hardware and then dropping it in the drink. Given how some people consider smartphones to be extensions of their brains, I guess they don't want to quit tweeting or Facebooking even long enough to use the toilet.

(Seriously: Stop it. No one wants to see that particular status update.)

Bathroom mishaps
But one guy I know says that men like taking smartphones into the restroom because it gives them something to read. No need to carry a rolled-up newspaper under your arm, which means that (A) you get newsprint on your shirt, and (B) everybody knows where you're going and what's about to go down.

(None of the women I know take reading material into the can. Is this a man thing?)

The same guy told me that a common mishap is the smartphone sliding out of one’s shirt pocket when they lean over to flush. It almost happened to him, in fact, but he made a save that would have drawn applause from Willie Mays. That near loss was enough to make him "far more careful" ever since.
But what if you bobble that particular save and your iPhone gets baptized? Or suppose your cellphone ends up in the washing machine? Try the dry-out tips in this Smart Spending post, "Cell phone in the toilet bowl?" Another guy I know sent his smartphone through the wash and was able to resuscitate it using the rice technique noted in the post.

Obviously, you should check your pockets very carefully before dumping clothes in the washer. I'd also suggest not taking your phone into the bathroom. You might wind up like the poor sap who tried to fish his cellphone from a commuter-train toilet and wound up with his arm stuck in the commode. This New Yorker's need to be rescued (by the fire department, not a plumber) caused a massive backup of the evening commute out of Grand Central Station.

Worse: His name wound up in the paper. Imagine the ribbing he took from co-workers every time he took a bathroom break.

What's the weirdest way you ever damaged a cellphone?

More on MSN Money:

Sep 19, 2012 11:42AM
Can you learn from someone else's mistakes?  Always always always... Locate your phone before you start the washing machine.
Sep 19, 2012 11:25AM

My android has fallen many times to the floor off the table and it still works and looks better than most IPhones with cracked screens. One up for Android!


Sep 19, 2012 11:25AM
i stripped the sheets off my bed and dumped them in the washing machine. I did not realise that I had left my phone on my bed... so of course when i went to look for it I couldn't find it and decided to call it. BIG MISTAKE. After finding it buried deep in the sheets I dried it off and put it into a bag of rice. When I turned it on it gave a few heaves and convulsions and then died. I went to replace it and two days later dropped the new in the driveway and cracked the screen. Of course the crack has progressed and some of the damage prevents me from reading certain parts of the screen. So I am up a creek now and am thinking I need to fork out the money to replace the screen.....
Sep 19, 2012 10:39AM
My iPhone 4S has been dropped on my driveway, knocked off of my dining room table, and had an unfortunate meeting with my horse's mouth and STILL works perfectly :) My case looks terrible (and this is the second one in a year), but it's a small price to pay!
Sep 19, 2012 10:29AM
I dropped my iPhone in a pitcher of beer once. I am still drunk texting folks. It is always picking fights with other smart phones one minute, then hugging on them the next minute. If only it were powered by "AA" batteries, then maybe it could talk about its problems and get help.
Sep 19, 2012 9:33AM
I would say, the solution is to invest in a good case. I have and Iphone and paid for a case that is water, snow, sand proof and also protects it if I drop it. I love my LIFEPROOF case. With 2 toddlers at home I feel my phone is protected with this case.
Sep 19, 2012 7:44AM
I was driving with my husband next to me, he put his phone on the console between us and I did see it it. I put my elbow down and knocked his blackberry into his drink...he does not like a straw, so he had the lid off his fountain drink. After trying to dry the phone in rice, it still would work. It would cut on and off and make some random buzzing noises. Whoops

question. why german car is very expensive than any competitor?

i like i phone is easy to use i will get a new .

Sep 19, 2012 12:37AM

Does anyone else question the so-called ""$6 billion"" in  deductable/repairs?


One word: unlikely.

Sep 18, 2012 11:50PM
I was thinking more along the lines of "Threw it out the window and watched it shatter."
Sep 18, 2012 11:15PM
I would say this list is pretty accurate but my son's phone became the exception this summer. We were on vacation and out paddle boating on a lake. As we were getting off my son's iphone slipped out of his hand and right into the lake. A very mucky, almost like a pond lake. I tried desperately to grab it with my hand but could not locate it. So my son jumped in (eww) and found it. It was in the lake for almost 5 minutes. As he pulled it out it buzzed and just shut off. We thought that was it and just left it alone. A day later assuming it was toast for good my son decided to just turn it on and see what happens. It worked! In fact it worked like it did before. He still uses it and that was in late June!
Sep 18, 2012 10:28PM
I killed my second ever legitimate cellphone by dropping it into a bowl of ramen. Poor old thing didn't live. That whole incident let me upgrade from a three-year out dated slider phone to an Android, so things ended happily. xD
After my phone was stolden, 18 days after buying a new one I went to take a dump but my new phone in a holster came off my belt dove right in to the toilet which killed it made one call then died for ever.
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


Donna Freedman's Frugal Nation blog is for readers who want to live cheaply -- whether due to necessity or a lifestyle choice. It explores living sustainably and making life more meaningful at the same time.


Donna Freedman

Donna Freedman, a writer based in Anchorage, Alaska, writes the Frugal Nation blog for MSN Money. She won regional and national prizes during an 18-year newspaper career and earned a college degree in midlife without taking out student loans. Donna also writes about the frugal life for her own site, Surviving and Thriving.