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Bug Iphone Apple

iPhone's Liquid Sensors Can Be Triggered By Wintertime Use 484

Posted by timothy
from the contribute-better-translation dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Polish website Moje Jabluszko ran an experiment that proves the poor reliability of the liquid contact indicators (original, in Polish) installed by Apple in the iPhone. They performed three different tests to challenge the LCIs, which they recorded as a movie. They decided to mimic regular usage of the iPhone — meaning, you go outside where it could be cold or warm, then move inside in a building where temperature might be dramatically different, but still within covered conditions. So, they placed the iPhone in its box for one hour outside at -11 C, then moved it inside at room temperature for 24 hours. They repeated the experiment 3 times, and after the third cycle they could show that the LCI located in the audio jack plug started turning red! This is a clear proof that LCIs are not reliable and could turn red while the iPhone has been used under the defined environmental requirements defined by Apple. Here, only the condensing water could have been in contact with the sensor. In other words, even moving in and out during regular winter time will make you iPhone LCI turn red!" (In the tech specs for the iPhone, Apple rates the non-operating temperature range as -20 to 45 C.)
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iPhone's Liquid Sensors Can Be Triggered By Wintertime Use

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  • Only -20C?? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by onosson (1107107) on Friday February 19, 2010 @10:47PM (#31207218) Homepage
    Wow - why do they even sell them here in Canada, then? Am I not supposed to take it outside below -20C? That's almost every night for half the winter! In fact, though, I've had my iPod Touch (1st Gen) for about 3 years, and I take and *use* it outdoors in -30 to -20 temperatures all the time - no problem. It's actually survived a dunking in the bathtub, too.
  • Re:Only -20C?? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by biryokumaru (822262) * <biryokumaru@gmail.com> on Friday February 19, 2010 @10:51PM (#31207242)
    Likewise, in much of the US the specification of 35 C is much too low for use during a large portion of the summer.
  • by syousef (465911) on Friday February 19, 2010 @10:56PM (#31207274) Journal

    While it's true that some portion of your customers are going to lie when they say there has been no water intrusion, including, at extra cost a device aimed at proving that your customer is lying on every device is unfair. Let alone close to the external extremedies of the device.

    Here's a prediction: First they will deny the problem, and try to cast doubt on the testing methodolgy, then they will acknowledge the problem but claim that it only occurs in a very limited set of circumstances and offer restitution but only for those who complain loudest. Then they'll make a minor change that doesn't actually fix the problem and claim it is fixed (oh and raise prices to cover this change). They'll stall at every step. This seems to be right out of the Apple customer service manual, and they're not the only ones (but they are some of the worst). No different to scratchable iPod minis, or cracked laptop cases. Fucking horseshit.

    But it's Apple, it just works, right? Come on fanbois, mod me into oblivion. I don't give a shit.

  • yea, hardly reliable (Score:4, Interesting)

    by X0563511 (793323) on Friday February 19, 2010 @11:26PM (#31207432) Homepage Journal

    So, Apple's LCI can trip unexpectedly...

    A few years back, I dropped my Motorola RAZR V3 into a hot tub. It was submerged about 3-5 seconds before I got it back out.

    The phone was dead, as expected - but the LCI did not "go off."

  • by Entropius (188861) on Friday February 19, 2010 @11:26PM (#31207434)

    There was no damage involved, simply a triggering of a LCI. The problem isn't that the devices can be damaged by condensation, it's that the LCI's are more sensitive than the device itself to condensation!

  • by Animats (122034) on Friday February 19, 2010 @11:33PM (#31207470) Homepage

    This just means they need more separation between the electrodes of their submersion sensor. Which is a problem in a small device.

    To sense water reliably, while ignoring condensation, you need contacts some distance apart and some distance from a surface. The distances needs to be bigger than a water droplet. The size of water droplets is limited by surface tension. About 0.3 inch is probably big enough. In a tiny device, getting an air space that big is tough.

  • by WizardX (63639) on Saturday February 20, 2010 @12:01AM (#31207644)

    The specs say differently:

    Environmental requirements

    Operating temperature: 32 to 95 F
    (0 to 35 C)
    Nonoperating temperature: -4 to 113 F
    (-20 to 45 C)
    Relative humidity: 5% to 95% noncondensing
    Maximum operating altitude: 10,000 feet (3000 m)

    You have got to be kidding me!!!

    *Minimum* operating temp of 32 F?!?!?!

    How the F can they sell this phone in northern climates? I live in WI and in Feb I will frequently go outside on a nice day to take a conf call and get some fresh air. A nice day being, at least, in the upper 20's.

    Seriously dude, WTF?

    /First /. post in like 5 years
    //Apple makes some very nice products, but their arrogance is huge.
    ///Jobs was born is SW WI.

  • by epp_b (944299) on Saturday February 20, 2010 @01:40AM (#31208096)

    Environmental requirements * Operating temperature: 32 to 95 F (0 to 35 C)

    So, does Apple just automatically void Canadian warranties or do they actually expect no one here to use an iPhone outside from October through March?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 20, 2010 @04:07AM (#31208578)

    I have an iPod Touch that I keep in my car 99% of the time in Canada where -30C weather is common. The touchscreen isn't so great when it's cold, but otherwise works fine and returns to full normality with more heat. The battery is still fine as well - lithium ion is pretty durable in cold conditions.

    I expect the spinning disk models would have a much tougher time since anything that moves groans and creaks in extreme cold. Their spec is more of a CYA statement than real-world measurements.

    Also, a phone is likely to spend most of its time in your pocket near an ample source of heat. Even when you're talking on it, it'll have a face on one side, a hand on the other, and a busy processor, radio, and discharging battery to keep itself warm. Having the internals go below freezing would be a rare occurrance.

  • Re:Doubly unreliable (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NormalVisual (565491) on Saturday February 20, 2010 @04:47AM (#31208698)
    No, it's not

    He said "to most people", and this is the absolute truth. The vast majority of people have no knowledge that mobile phones are equipped with these sensors, and there's absolutely zero on the packaging or the user documentation to indicate such in almost all cases when it would be trivial to do so, which is prima facie evidence of the manufacturer's intent to conceal the presence of the sensors from their customers. It's just like the practice of putting a Tip-N-Tell inside a crate containing expensive equipment in addition to the ones placed on the outside, to reveal if the shipper has mishandled the package and tried to cover it up - you want to make sure the shipper is honest, but you don't want the shipper to know you're watching him.

    Just the same, I don't necessarily disagree with Apple or anyone else using them (even covertly), as long as they're absolutely reliable - warranty fraud is a real problem, but so is having a legitimate warranty claim denied just because you live in Florida and it got cold one day.
  • by bakons (1641619) on Saturday February 20, 2010 @05:42AM (#31208878)
    As a technician at a rival company to ATT in the US, I can tell you that the LDI or LCI is usually just that, an indicator. We see one of those tripped and then dig deeper into the device to see if there is further evidence that the device has been exposed to abnormal conditions, like a toilet. Some of the non-full service stores may not look so deep, but all of ours will take a device completely out of it's housing before making the determination. We're really not out to screw the customer, unless he's a douche.
  • by Mr. DOS (1276020) on Saturday February 20, 2010 @03:24PM (#31212054)

    I'm lucky this season, but most winters it's considerably colder at this point in the year and I've got to FedEx my packets down to an Internet uplink in New York or they'll freeze and clog up the tubes.

    The latency's a bitch...

          --- Mr. DOS

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