July 13, 2012, 2:47 PM — Drop your iPhone into the toilet, fish it out, stare stunned at a blank screen, throw the brick into a bowl of uncooked rice, and pray for the best. The next day, you'll likely have to trudge off to the Apple Store and fork out hundreds of dollars for a new iPhone, because Apple Care doesn't cover water-damage-the number one killer of iPhones.
That's usually how it goes.
Soon, you'll suffer the added indignity of seeing an indicator on the phone change colors. You, an Apple Genius, and the rest of the world will immediately know that you've foolishly allowed your iPhone to take on water.
Last week, Apple was awarded an outside-the-case detection patent that lets users know if their iPhone has water damage. Think of a warning light on your car dashboard that flicks on just before the engine dies. Currently, an Apple Genius has to open up the iPhone to check and see if a strip has a red line indicating water damage.
"I think the patent is more consumer friendly," says Ty Shay, chief marketing officer at third-party warranty provider SquareTrade. "Consumers can't crack open a case, so a lot of times they go to an Apple Store and are surprised to find out a failure is caused by water damage. It becomes kind of confrontational."
Most iPhone users have heard about the dangers of water. Stories range from an iPhone sliding out of the back pocket into the toilet to an iPhone ending up in the washing machine. (Want more tales of woe? Check out 5 Strange Ways iPhones Die: Insurer Hears it All.)
A new set of water dangers has been showing up lately, SquareTrade says. Here are a few of them: