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Watch out for the iPhone Moisture Sensor


Back on March 25, 2009 I wrote "Phone Moisture sensor: I am pretty peeved at Apple right now" about my issues with my iPhone 3G and the experience that I had with the Genius bar at the Apple store telling me that my warranty was void due to the fact that my moisture sensor in the bottom USB port was activated (turned red). After that post, my iPhone and I received a lot of attention. I had known from Googling that I was not the only one with the issue. There are tons of people that have never gotten their iPhone "submerged" in water, but yet their sensors are tripped thus voiding their warranty.

I work for a major University and we use ATT as our primary cell provider. We give them a LOT of business. In my position, I am often contacted for advice when folks are looking to get new phones. After a couple of calls from me and folks higher up than me to ATT and Apple, Apple agreed to replace my phone and use my damaged phone as a test case. The tech that I spoke to said that they would call me once they had time to dissect my phone and tell me whether or not the phone showed signs of being submerged. The iPhone has 4 moisture sensors, one inside the USB connector port, one in the headphone jack, and 2 inside the phone were users cannot reach. If the phone had been completely submerged in water as Apple claims would have to happen for the sensors to turn red, the 2 sensors inside the phone would be triggered. I heard back from the same guy once about a month after my initial report just to tell me that they did not forget about me, things had been busy and they would be in touch. However, I never heard back regarding whether or not my phone has passed the test. Why? I can only guess it's because it did not show signs of being submerged. I would assume that they would have been quick to call and tell how the sensors INSIDE the phone were tripped and how I was wrong in my theory that the sensors were faulty, or just too exposed.

I was contacted by Lisa France of who published the story Moisture, cold irritate some smart phone users. That story caused some major backlash from Apple fanboys in the comments on many websites and blogs, and lots of attention from those that had also encountered a problem with their iPhones and moisture. Some people had nothing nice to say going as far as to say that those of us that had gotten our phones wet were stupid. Well of course we would expect the phone to act crazy had we gotten them wet and the warranty should indeed be void in that case, but that is NOT what this is about. This is about phones that do NOT get wet. Some people in humid areas like the lower United States are having their sensors triggered just by walking around outside on a hot day.

I was also contacted by Laura Stebbins of NBC in Boston who's special report iPhones not working out also discussed the problem. Obviously, mine was not an isolated incident. Search terms related to this issue are the most popular term that bring people to my blog.

Since my original posts I have received a ton of emails, comments, and inquiries from others with the same exactly issue. Since that was before the release of the new model iPhone 3Gs, I was hoping that Apple would modify the design on that one so that this would not continue to be a problem, but they did not. What they did do was alter their iPhone warranty policy as it relates to iPhones with tripped sensors.

If you have had similar problems with your iPhone, please let us know. And I would suggest that you do call and complain to Apple. Hopefully the more complaints they get, they will realize that they need to do something about this problem and fix it before the next version of the iPhone is released.


  • Clint 5 years ago

    I've had my first iPhone sent to the shop and returned with the "moisture" message. And I know for a fact that my phone was never wet. I've had it in my pocket on a rainy day, and I have been sweating while it was in my pocket, but it has never been in water, and water has never been spilled on it.

  • Kris Cain 5 years ago

    I'm sorry to hear that Clint. It still really surprises me that they have not done more to help folks with this issue since it is so obvious that the sensors are too sensitive.

  • Brenda Green - Topeka Freethought Examiner 5 years ago

    That sucks. Subscribed and posted...return the professional courtesy?

  • Jessi 5 years ago

    This is good to know. We've been considering new phones lately...

  • John 5 years ago

    I just had the same experience where the apple genius bar person told me that my moisture sensor has been tripped. The problem is that my iphone has not been near any water. I've only had the phone for 2 month. If there is a class action suit, I'm in!

  • John 5 years ago

    Ok. So I googled what moisture sensor tripping would look like. Then I checked my phone and saw that both sensors do not look pink like the pictures. So did the "genius" lie to me to get me to pay them $199 for a replacement for an iphone that broke after 2 month? My actual problem is that the speaker does not work any more.

  • Kris Cain 5 years ago

    Really John? Wow! Which one did they tell you was tripped? If that is true I would certainly pay them another visit.

  • Kris Cain 5 years ago

    Brenda, thanks for the follow. I will search you out and follow. It would be so much easier if this commenting system worked more like a blog one so I could just click names. :)

  • Will 5 years ago

    Same Probem with IPod nano 16GB. Denied warranty on 5 month old looks like new product. Not in contact with liquid on it or submerged as they deny for Liquid Contact Indicator. Have had 6 Ipods over the years, 2 nanos and one Itouch. But latest Nano with this experience with Apple will Never Again trust a company like how Apple commits this larceny on their customers they have now and will not have in the future. Class Action lawsuit is happening now on Apple Liquid Contact Indicator filed April 2010 Dont buy Apple products.

  • Zachary 5 years ago

    I'm not shire if this is a moisture damage result but the touch screen is inaccurate so I'm going to the apple store today wish me luck hope there stupid censor isn't tripped

  • Haley 3 years ago

    I have the same thing!!! My phone just got one drop of rain on it and now all the sensors are triggered! My parents think that I'm lying and that i dropped it in the toilet or something!!! Thanks this article will probably get me my parents trust back! Thanks again!

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