Tuesday, December 10, 2013

10:39 PM

Tech experts predict a day in the future when smartphones are built so durable that hardly anything will damage them. Not only that, but developers are also working to create handheld devices that are virtually water resistant. And maybe there will one day be mobile screens impervious to scuffs and scratches. But alas, this perfect future is not here just yet.

That means average folks are going to have to deal with the common problems that can plague mobile devices. Some are even so severe that the damage warrants total replacement of the handheld. But what many people may not know is that there are a number of common household remedies that can work wonders at getting that busted up smartphone back on the mend. Here are just a few.

Water Damage

It happens to the best of us from time to time. A day at the beach or an afternoon by the pool can be ruined in an instant with a fumble of a smartphone and a plop into the water. In these harrowing moments, time is of the essence.

The most important thing is to keep the phone powered off (turning it on while wet will surely fry the device). Removing the battery as soon as possible is the next step. Mobile owners should then dry the unit with a cloth and place it and the battery in a bowl of dry rice overnight. With any luck, the rice will draw out the remaining moisture over a period of time.

Screen Scratches

This is another issue that affects many mobile owners. After all, how many people keep their smartphone and their keys in the same pocket? The answer is enough to create a common problem. Even scratches caused by dropping the phone can usually be cleared up with an inexpensive bottle of scratch remover. However, those who don’t want to make a run to the mobile accessories store can opt for a home screen-scratch remedy – the toothpaste method.

Provided the toothpaste in question is plain without whiteners or other additives, it can be used to remove small scratches on glass and plastic. Simply apply a dollop of toothpaste to a dry soft cloth and massage the substance over the damaged area in a circular motion. Continue this step until the area is thoroughly coated and dry. Wait 10 minutes and then wipe the area clean with a slightly damp cloth. Make sure the cloth in question is not wet. Repeat the process until the scratch is adequately diminished.

Frozen/dead pixels

Dead or frozen screen pixels are certainly unseemly, but on top of being a superficial problem they can prevent proper touchscreen function. If the pixel in question isn’t too far gone, then another massage of the area (sans toothpaste) with a soft cloth just may bring it back to life. The key is to be gentle during the process.

The above methods have a high success rate as far as smartphone rehabilitation is concerned. That being said, it would behoove owners of severely damaged handsets to check their warranty and insurance, as replacement is often covered under many mobile contracts.

Sara Wells writes about tech and gadget news, and blogs on behalf of iPhone 5s insurance brand Protect Your Bubble.