Apple adopts more thorough iPod water damage review policy

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
Apple this week revised its internal support policy on iPod water damage, requiring that employees look for signs of damage beyond an activated liquid contact indicator.



The confidential internal document, obtained by Boy Genius Report, shows that on Monday, Apple officially changed the way it screens iPods for liquid damage. The change would seem to benefit those who may have had the internal liquid contact indicator triggered inappropriately.



"When an Apple Retail Store or AppleCare Repair Center checks for liquid damage, if the Liquid Contact Indicator (LCI) inside the headphone jack has been activated, the iPod must be inspected for additional signs of liquid damage," the document reads.



The policy makes no mention of the iPhone, but it's possible that Apple has modified its stance for its smartphones as well. Apple's portable devices include LCIs to determine if a returned item was broken by being accidentally submerged in liquids.



In April, Apple was sued by a San Francisco, Calif., resident who said the company unfairly declines warranty coverage for its products based solely on triggered moisture sensors. That lawsuit attempted to prove that the sensors are unreliable, and do not necessarily serve as evidence of abuse.







Apple began equipping its notebooks and iPhones with LCIs in 2008. In iPhones and iPods, they are located at the bottom of the headphone jack. iPhones also have an indicator near the 30-pin dock connector.



"These indicators will be activated when they come in direct contact with water or liquid containing water," Apple's support documentation reads. "They are not designed to be triggered by humidity and temperature changes that are within the product's environmental requirements described by Apple."



Users can check if their LCI has been triggered by looking directly down into a headphone jack. Normally, the indicator is white or silver, but if it has been exposed to water it will turn red or pink.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 26
    steve-jsteve-j Posts: 320member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post




    In April, Apple was sued by a San Francisco, Calif., resident who said the company unfairly declines warranty coverage for its products based solely on triggered moisture sensors. That lawsuit attempted to prove that the sensors are unreliable, and do not necessarily serve as evidence of abuse.







    Glad to know it worked. Sad to know it took a lawsuit to do it.
  • Reply 2 of 26
    I work for a cellular provider and liquid damage is something that I have very little sympathy for. I wouldn't let my electronic device that costs upward of $200 (heck $100 for that matter) near anything that could damage it. But most phones have the LDI behind the battery so it isn't left exposed. Putting it on the charging port or the headphone jack is just a bit unfair. Folks sweat or just may be in a humid place. Leaving those exposed to the air sets folks up for a fall.
  • Reply 3 of 26
    mgl323mgl323 Posts: 247member
    Dropped my iPhone 3GS on water and I did the whole put in the rice bag, blow dry it for an half an hour or so and waited 2 days for recovery. After that I checked for the pink/light red mark inside the headphone jack and inside the 30-pin. Yup it was pink alright but after I plugged it in to charge it, it booted up and it still works like a charm. Except for wifi.. I get weaker signal and sometimes it disconnects on it's own.
  • Reply 4 of 26
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chaseism View Post


    I work for a cellular provider and liquid damage is something that I have very little sympathy for. I wouldn't let my electronic device that costs upward of $200 (heck $100 for that matter) near anything that could damage it...



    Sad that technology has not evolved to be able to be resistant to typical customer behavior.



    Curiously, I have had an iPhone get water splashed on it by the headphone and the LCI did not trigger. Got it replaced a year later due to an iOS 4.1 update that killed WiFi and Bluetooth (as happens to many) without a word from the Genius Bar about water damage.
  • Reply 5 of 26
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Steve-J View Post


    Glad to know it worked. Sad to know it took a lawsuit to do it.



    Your mistaken if you think the lawsuit had any affect, or that this change in policy is actually to do with giving customers the benefit of the doubt on the water sensors.



    All it says is that instead of assuming that the item is water damaged inside when the headphone jack sensor has been triggered, that they have to open it up and confirm it's the case. In other words it's telling the Apple employees to check even closer, than before, to make sure the facts are what they say they are.



    Despite the spin you see around the web this morning on this topic Apple hasn't admitted (nor is there any evidence so far) that the sensors are triggered by normal humidity as opposed to water damage. There is also no indication from this that the woman with the lawsuit has "won" or anything of the sort. She's arguing a very subjective case and those usually lose in court.



    What people forget is that "normal humidity" (which is supposed to be okay and not set off the sensor), is not the same as water droplets in the air. If you take the iPhone in the bathroom for instance while you have a shower, the "humid air" in the bathroom actually qualifies as complete water immersion by the standards used. In terms of what it does to the electronics, it's practically the same as dropping it in the toilet.



    Until I see one piece of actual evidence, I'm going to go with Apple's position that "normal humidity" doesn't actually set off the sensors. So far there is nothing to indicate Apple is wrong on this at all.
  • Reply 6 of 26
    Typical. I work for an apple specialist, and we see this crap all the time: people trying to get out of accidental damage (spillage, drops, etc.) They will lie, fudge, and pretty much sell their first born child to make you think it's the machine's fault, as if machines break and damage themselves.



    LSI's (Liquid Spill Indicators) are NOT faulty- they clearly show that water damage has occurred. Therefore, I see no reason for apple to do this. It's apple's discretion if accidental damage has occurred, NOT the customer's opinion of what occurred.



    Apple controls their own warranty. All they have to do is put in their applecare terms and conditions if the LSIs are tripped, then the unit has accidental damage, period. That will avoid the lawsuits, while shutting up the people who continually try to find cracks in apple's armor, thinking they can get something for free.



    Don't drop/spill/break your shit, and you won't have a problem.
  • Reply 7 of 26
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JimDreamworx View Post


    Sad that technology has not evolved to be able to be resistant to typical customer behavior.



    The typical customer does not take care of the stuff they buy, and instead blames any fault on the manufacturer, even if it's user error. Technology can not make people tell the truth.
  • Reply 8 of 26
    My iPhone 3G was rejected for warranty replacement water damage even though the dampest place it had been was the pocket of the shorts I used to run in. It hobbled along (eventually no wifi) until I upgraded to 4.
  • Reply 9 of 26
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JimDreamworx View Post


    Sad that technology has not evolved to be able to be resistant to typical customer behavior.



    My thoughts exactly. Quantum leaps in capability and portability... but still can't tolerate even a hint of weather. A glaring weakness in our high-tech pretensions.
  • Reply 10 of 26
    steve-jsteve-j Posts: 320member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tjb1013 View Post


    My iPhone 3G was rejected for warranty replacement water damage even though the dampest place it had been was the pocket of the shorts I used to run in. It hobbled along (eventually no wifi) until I upgraded to 4.



    "Typical. I work for an apple specialist, and we see this crap all the time: people trying to get out of accidental damage (spillage, drops, etc.) They will lie, fudge, and pretty much sell their first born child to make you think it's the machine's fault, as if machines break and damage themselves.

    "
  • Reply 11 of 26
    801801 Posts: 271member
    But this is like the third or forth internal message from the service end of the company. Somebody is passing this information out of Apple, and I am certain that they are not happy about it. These memos are a story in the making.
  • Reply 12 of 26
    dave k.dave k. Posts: 1,306member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by 801 View Post


    But this is like the third or forth internal message from the service end of the company. Somebody is passing this information out of Apple, and I am certain that they are not happy about it. These memos are a story in the making.



    I assume the leaks are coming out of retail stores where Apple doesn't have that much control...
  • Reply 13 of 26
    chris_cachris_ca Posts: 2,543member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Steve-J View Post


    Glad to know it worked. Sad to know it took a lawsuit to do it.



    How do you know the lawsuit had anything to do with it?
  • Reply 14 of 26
    steve-jsteve-j Posts: 320member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post


    How do you know the lawsuit had anything to do with it?



    I guess I don't know for sure.



    The story said " That lawsuit attempted to prove that the sensors are unreliable, and do not necessarily serve as evidence of abuse."



    ISTM that if Apple wants its PBTCs to check further upon seeing a tripped sensor, then Apple now agrees that the sensors are unreliable and do not necessarily serve as evidence of abuse.



    IOW, contrary to past practices, Apple now thinks that the sensors are unreliable. Would Apple change in the absence of intense pressure? I guess I don't know for sure.
  • Reply 15 of 26
    tjwaltjwal Posts: 404member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Naboozle View Post


    My thoughts exactly. Quantum leaps in capability and portability... but still can't tolerate even a hint of weather. A glaring weakness in our high-tech pretensions.



    My wrist watch can be totally immersed as can some relatively inexpensive cameras. I don't see why phones and ipods can't be designed to be waterproof.
  • Reply 16 of 26
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by enjourni View Post


    Don't drop/spill/break your shit, and you won't have a problem.



    Unless you live in the tropics. Relative humidity in Hong Kong, for instance, is 90% or higher half of the days in a year. LCIs do get triggered here, through normal use. Your sentence, therefore, is a lie.



    So Apple has a choice. Accept LCI triggered repairs that show no damage, or stop selling the devices in humid climates. They have wisely chosen the former. It has nothing to do with customer behavior.
  • Reply 17 of 26
    djsherlydjsherly Posts: 1,022member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by enjourni View Post


    LSI's (Liquid Spill Indicators) are NOT faulty- they clearly show that water damage has occurred. Therefore, I see no reason for apple to do this. It's apple's discretion if accidental damage has occurred, NOT the customer's opinion of what occurred.



    The only thing they clearly show is that the LSI was triggered.



    Quote:

    Don't drop/spill/break your shit, and you won't have a problem.



    devices designed to be mobile should have more resistance to that shit. once it's out of the house, all bets are off.
  • Reply 18 of 26
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Naboozle View Post


    My thoughts exactly. Quantum leaps in capability and portability... but still can't tolerate even a hint of weather. A glaring weakness in our high-tech pretensions.



    There is advanced technology available for this. It is called an OtterBox.
  • Reply 19 of 26
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tjwal View Post


    My wrist watch can be totally immersed as can some relatively inexpensive cameras. I don't see why phones and ipods can't be designed to be waterproof.



    In case you haven't noticed, most waterproof electronics are much more expensive.

    Most consumers don't want to pay the higher cost and don't need their cellphone to be waterproof.

    Every customer has the choice of buying or not buying a case for their phone that meets the needs of their environment or usage habits. I have friends who work in construction and I tell all of them to get OtterBoxes for their iPhones. Guess which ones haven't had any problems with their phones? The ones who bought an appropriate case for their usage scenario.



    Apple could have designed the iPhone 4 to be a giant waterproof brick. Wouldn't that be sexy? Apple is in the business of create sexy products that consumers find appealing. If you buy an iPhone, take care of it or pay up. I have a wealthy friend who likes using his phones without a case. He also drops it and breaks it at least once a year. But he can afford to buy a new iPhone when his breaks. I can't thats why I protect my iPhone with a case.



    It is not Apple's responsibility to make an indestructible phone or to pay for careless customers who buy $600 phones for 10 year olds but don't buy a case.
  • Reply 20 of 26
    timontimon Posts: 152member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Naboozle View Post


    My thoughts exactly. Quantum leaps in capability and portability... but still can't tolerate even a hint of weather. A glaring weakness in our high-tech pretensions.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tjwal View Post


    My wrist watch can be totally immersed as can some relatively inexpensive cameras. I don't see why phones and ipods can't be designed to be waterproof.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by enjourni View Post


    Don't drop/spill/break your shit, and you won't have a problem.



    It's not that the iPhone or iPod Touch has to be water proof but it SHOULD be water resistant. First off the earphone jack should be water proof so no water coming from sweat, rain or splashes can get in through the jack. The same thing goes for the doc connector and the speaker openings. The jack is the easiest to fix as it can be made totally enclosed. Apple has a new design for the jack they use in the new iPod Touch which should be easy to make water proof.



    So if Aple can just do a little more to make them water resistant it would go along way to making everyones life easier.
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