water, iPhone and brown rice
water + iPhone = not good

A couple of weeks ago, a terrible thing happened to my favourite gadget. Yes, I dropped my iPhone in a sink full of water.

Initially all looked fine and it worked as normal. However, the next morning the water that had penetrated the phone started to corrode its components and the Home button stopped working.

The rest of the iPhone worked as normal, quite an achievement after a full immersion in water.

An iPhone app developer suggested putting the phone in a bowl of brown rice to draw out the moisture. Worth a try if you can do it straight away, but unfortunately the Home button was too far gone in my case.

The beauty of the iPhone is the simplicity of its user interface, with the touchscreen requiring only two addition buttons. Of course the drawback is when one of these buttons stops working you are in trouble.

My iPhone had passed its one year warranty date, so Apple were unable to replace it for free. My phone contract only had a few weeks to run, so it seemed too expensive to buy a replacement for a few weeks only when a lower priced subsidised device was on its way, particularly as I was looking to upgrade to a 3GS.

Over time, I’ve learned how to use an iPhone without the Home button:

– Move from app to app, as most apps allow you to open at least the browser (especially ‘terms and conditions’ usually contain hyperlinks). Email contains hyperlinks which open the browser. Contacts and Calendar allow you to put in a URL which opens the browser. Open a ‘purchase app’ link within the browser and then download a free app and you are back to the starting point (or incorrectly enter your password to avoid downloading lots of unwanted apps).

– Of course, some apps are dead ends. In this case, you have to restart your phone.

– If the phone gets stuck on the Apple loading screen (about 1 in 5 times for me), then you have a problem. As you need the Home button to force a restart you have to wait for the power to run down. Fortunately, the loading screen uses up lots of power, so it normally powers down within a day. The trick is not to fully charge the phone, so you don’t wait all day if this happens.

– And most importantly of all… Don’t drop your iPhone in water!