How Apple Lost A Dedicated Customer Over A Stupid Pink Dot

For several years, we’ve been writing about the iPhone’s built-in humidity detector and numerous customers’ complaints that an incorrect reading had voided the phone’s warranty. Now one Consumerist reader explains why he’s voided his long-term relationship with Apple over this little pink dot.

Reader Jon says he’s stuck with the iPhone since it first launched: “I’ve never had issue with its price, the fact that it cant be modified beyond Apple’s policies, that the iPhone 4 lost antenna power without the bumpers, that there were cheaper, more customizable models with Droids. No – I just was happy that I had a phone that was perfect for everything I need. After nearly 5 years it’s stayed my most reliable electronic device.”

That is until about a month ago when Jon’s latest iPhone began freezing up and and its Home button became unresponsive. A call to Apple support walked him through a factory reset and all was back to normal for a couple of weeks.

Then the iPhone began acting up again so after it froze on the loading screen, Jon took it to the Genius Bar:

The guy behind the counter was nice enough to try and help, but told me that a small pink dot hidden in the charger slot had appeared, meaning that there was water damage to the phone, and although I still had time left before my year warranty ran out, I didn’t qualify for a replacement.

He did however inform me that if the dot was not pink, they would immediately have been able to switch it out my obviously faulty iPhone for a new model that did not fail continually. He spent another 10 minutes behind the counter with my phone plugged into a computer before handing me back my phone with a half-sincere, “This is the best we can do for you.”

Jon says the Apple staffer was eventually able to do a forced restart of the iPhone but that the Home button wouldn’t work and there was still a ton of lag. Yet all the Apple employee could say was, “I’m sorry, but there’s a pink dot.”

He was told that the dot would only appear if the phone had been submerged in water, but he also says that he takes every measure to avoid getting any water on or in the device. “The phone has never been in my bathroom during a shower or in the kitchen while I’m cooking because I am paranoid about steam,” says Jon. “The phone never goes into the gym with me because I’m paranoid about sweat or dropping a weight on it. But somehow THAT phone got submerged in water.”

Jon’s roommate works for Verizon and when he heard Jon’s tale about the pink dot, he laughed and said the indicators can change because of anything from humidity to sweat on your hands and that stores use the humidity detector as a first option to refuse to service to a customer because it saves money.

It was at this point that Jon’s decade of Apple fan-dom ended. The man who had learned to type on a lime green iMac, whose first laptop was a MacBook, who had rocked the original iPod, he went out and bought his new laptop — a Sony VAIO.

He and his roommate had also been talking about getting an Apple TV, but this weekend they purchased a Roku box instead. And it almost goes without saying that he’ll be switching to an Android phone.

“Maybe Ive been too obsessed with Apple products over the past decade,” Jon writes. “Maybe that pink dot was just the wake up call to make me realize that Apple cares little about their customers when there;s a bottom line… Congrats Apple. I hope you choke on your pink dots.”

PREVIOUSLY:
Can High Humidity Void Your iPhone’s Warranty?
Is The iPhone 3G Liquid Sensor A Filthy Liar?

Comments

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  1. JuneBugApril says:

    He should call Apple, and keep escalating the call until he gets to management. Amazing, how well that has worked for me.

    • EllenRose says:

      Why do that much work? Apple showed right off the bat that it was company policy to be unhelpful. Either that, or company policy to believe all the people with pink dots were clumsy liars.

      • Rayon Fog says:

        But that’s not the experience of a vast majority of users, even according his site’s patron. Good luck with Sony or Roku if either of those items break.. He’ll be pining for Apple customer support.

        He should have escalated it. It seems like an excessive, knee-jerk reaction to me.

        • adamstew says:

          Agreed. I’ve dealt with both Sony’s, Roku’s, and a whole wide smattering of tech companies… both large and small… and Apple’s tech and warranty support beats the pants off of the others every single time.

          One odd thing is that the OP should have been offerred a $199 flat rate repair on his iPhone. You could bring the iPhone in in a ziplock bag filled with water, and they would replace it for a flat $199.

          Maybe he got one tech who was having a bad day or the entire story isn’t being told. I definitely would have escalated and see what other options there may have been. I know Apple’s policy is to check both water sensors, if they are both tripped, then they open the phone up and check the internal sensor… if that’s tripped, then they have grounds to charge you. If any one of the 3 sensors is not tripped, then you get the warranty repair.

          Now on to my 3 stories of above-and-beyond apple warranty support. All three were at Genius bars:

          1) We had a laptop whose battery was starting to bulge…seriously bulge. The laptop was out of warranty by more than a year on a standard one year warranty. I made an appointment at the genius bar, expecting to have to pay for a new battery. They checked the warranty, said your 1 year out of warranty and went ahead and just swapped the battery for a new one any way. $120 I didn’t have to spend for a new battery.

          2) An iPod of mine, the click-wheel was starting to every so slightly warp. The click wheel still worked fine. You couldn’t see it, but as you ran your fingers over the wheel, you could feel slight bumps at the up/down/left/right positions on the wheel. So I took it to the genius bar and they just swapped it out for a new one, for an issue that was entirely cosmetic, and not even visible.

          3) My laptop keyboard was acting up. about 2-3 times a day, both my keyboard and mouse would become unresponsive. I knew it was a hardware problem, because the software was still responsive…things would continue on screen. I could even plug in a USB keyboard and mouse and keep working, even though the built-in keyboard and trackpad wasn’t working. The only way to fix it was to reboot the computer. My limited knowledge of electrical engineering suggested that it was a short somewhere on the line between the keyboard/trackpad and the mainboard. Since the issue only manifested itself 2-3 times a day, it definitely wasn’t reproducible during a 15-minute appointment at the genius bar, unless I got really lucky. I explained the issue, they played with it a little bit and just went ahead and replaced the keyboard/trackpad assembly on my word. They said it might be a software issue, but we’ll just eliminate the hardware problems first.

          In every single one of those instances at almost every other company i’ve had to deal with in regards to warranty service, I would have had to fight and/or pay money to get my repair. In instance 1, I would have had to buy a new battery. In instance 2, I probably would’ve gotten blown off about it being a cosmetic issue, and told if I wanted it to be fixed that I would have to buy a new one. With issue 3, I would’ve had to ship it off, wait 6-8 weeks for it to be returned, just to have it returned to me with no action being done because the tech wasn’t able to reproduce the issue in the 38 seconds he had the machine open on his work bench.

          • shanelee24 says:

            They dont replace the iPhone for 199 anymore, they wont replace it unless you have the new applecare +.

            • hugothebear says:

              you’re wrong.
              the still replace it for $199 plus tax *not an upgrade*.

              AppleCare+ will just give you a lower price replacement.

          • moyawyvern says:

            I went to a Genius Bar with a seriously bulging battery that was about a year out of warrantee, and they told me that I needed a new battery, and told me it was $129. I was half hoping they would do something for me, since the battery wasn’t that old, but nadda. I bought it anyway, because it was that or buy a new computer. Plus, this computer was free, so I really don’t have all that much cause to complain. I may or may not get a new Mac when this one kicks the bucket. I like it okay, but I am not convinced Apple is the end-all and be-all of electronics.

    • ddbEntertainment says:

      I’ve supported Apple and Microsoft and always thought Microsoft was the evil empire until my recent dealings with Apple Corporate Executive Relations. That experience ranks among the worse I have ever had with any company and left a very bitter taste in my mouth. 3 defective iPod 4 units purchased back to back and Apple wants me to jump through hoops? Apple has lost me as a long time customer…

    • MeowMaximus says:

      Jon is to be congratulated for escaping the CrApple tyranny. There is NEVER a reason to buy an over-priced iToy. In every category there are better, cheaper alternatives.

    • Verdant Pine Trees says:

      I won’t even call and escalate. I document, and then I write a letter, sent certified mail, to someone “who counts” (a higher-up). THAT works very quickly no matter how long the people below have been dithering.

  2. DrMcFacekick says:

    And the assumption is that this will never happen with any other manufacturer or carrier, right?

    • StarKillerX says:

      I’m not sure, but a safe assumption is that any story posted anywhere even remotely critical of Apple in any way will result in a post such as your’s which tries to excuse the issue because some other non-apple company might also do something similar.

      What ever happened to “Think Different?”

    • Darrone says:

      Do double-homicide articles include a caveat that not everyone is a double-murderer? Get over it fanboi.

      • minjche says:

        I didn’t find that to be a “fanboi” comment at all, and actually I thought it was a much more valid point to raise than some weird analogy about double-homicide. IIRC I’ve read plenty of stories on Consumerist about non-Apple phones being refused replacement because of the moisture-sensing-pink-dot-of-doom.

      • DrMcFacekick says:

        You guys are *adorable* with the fanboy assumptions. I was merely pointing out that any phone on any carrier is likely to have the same problems, and storming around like a tempest in a teapot while publicly declaring “You’re dead to me, Apple! You hear me? Dead!” makes the OP look like a loon.

        For the record, I hate Apple with the fire of a thousand suns and the only reason I have an iPhone is because I get it free through my employer, and my hatred of Apple is not greater than my love of money.

    • Bionic Data Drop says:

      This is the problem with a lot of consumer’s complaints. They never stop and think “Would this have happened at a different store or a different product?” because most of the time, it would. If the OP would’ve had a Droid Charge, does he think that Samsung wouldn’t have voided the warranty if the water indicator was pink? He knows damn well they would have.

    • JedediahJ says:

      I am going to have to agree. While unfortunate its going to happen with anyone using any product. Moving to Android wont give it a magic barrier. Never did for me.

    • hmburgers says:

      I think the point is that he feels like his years of Apple love are unrequited…

      The fact is that Apple, and all other companies selling products, really don’t give two cents what you’ve spent in the past, only what you will spend in the future.

      Putting this Consumerist post aside, I don’t see anything in this interchange that shows that the OP attempted to get someone above the “Genius” level to listen to him.

      He needs to raise the attention of someone else in the Apple ecosphere and hopefully convince them that no only has he been a model fan boy, but would probably not stop gushing about the service he received from them if they would just replace this defective product…

    • tsumeone says:

      No, but it will cost half as much to replace when it doesn’t have the ridiculous Apple markup attached to the price tag.

      • rdm says:

        You are correct, sir!

      • Jawaka says:

        Yet he chose most expensive option #2, a Sony.

      • SJActress says:

        Not even half. I bought my laptop for $450 and spent $20 upgrading the RAM. My boyfriend got a Macbook with specs just below mine for $1300.

        If mine breaks in two years, I will buy a new laptop with even better specs for $450. He will be stuck with an outdated machine and still spent $400 more than me. Even if they fix it for free, to get what I will then have, he’d have to shell out another $1300.

        No thank you, Apple (although I love me some iPod…that’s actually reasonably priced).

    • nXt says:

      Other phones, the water detector is mostly under the battery inside the phone, and that’s the only one (along with one on the battery itself). So if the phone was REALLY submerged, it would turn pink.

      iPhones on the other hand has about 3 dots hidden all over the place.
      Inside the headphone jack, inside the SIM slot and inside the charging port.
      The SIM slot is covered by the sim tray/sim card, the headphone jack well if you stick a wet headphone plug that’ll trigger it, and the dot inside the charging port, it’s right there easily can be triggered.

      • RedShirt says:

        On all phones, it’s VERY easy to find corrosion anywhere on the PCB and the warranty is voided by it, not just if the LDI is triggered.

        - Former cell phone repair tech

    • krunk4ever says:

      Would have to agree 100%. Halfway through the article, I was thinking to myself, does he expect other manufacturer’s to act differently when they detected water damage.

      The iPhone comes with 3 indicators, 2 close to the surface and 1 hidden deep inside which requires tools to get to. Most other phones I know probably don’t even have 2. Having said that, it is not entirely impossible for things such as high humidity to get to it, but then it’s your word against the indicator’s.

      I’m also not sure if you know but Apple does have $199 replacement policy for phones out of warranty or damaged in a way not covered by warranty. My friend recently dropped her iPhone into a sink full of water and got it replaced for $199.

  3. consumer420 says:

    Sometimes different stores give different answers, so they should try another store. Also try asking for a manager. There are four liquid sensors on the iPhone, and they should check the others as well.

    • BobOki says:

      Yes, becuase there are Apple stores on every street corner.
      While I would have escalated this issue up, after doing just a tad of research, Apple still has some of the BEST support hands down bar none.

    • shanelee24 says:

      No store will ignore water damage. And all those “faulty readings”? In my experience, it’s a bunch of entitled people who just cant beleive that they got copius amounts of sweat all over the phone, or left it on the bathroom counter when they showered, or spilled just a little water on the speaker. Its a chemical strip, if it is pink, you got it wet.

      • Darsynia says:

        Except, no, there’s a known problem with iPhones and humidity since the first iPhone came out.

        • shanelee24 says:

          Wrong. There is not a known issue with that. I work for one of the verizon and I see way more water damage on basic phones, hardly any on iphones at all. If it were a major issue, I think after four years people would stay away from buying them. Not the case, as it were. You are misinformed.

          • teamplur says:

            it’s apple. People will buy it even if it required a suppository to start up every day. There’s plenty of “known issues” that still don’t cause people to switch en masse. It’s the popular brand and it will be for a long time. Bad reception, nazi controls on the phone. Those are all issues that still don’t detract people. I’ve seen plenty of phones I own, iphone or not, go pink from anything like humidity. The only iphone that i dropped in water actually didn’t go pink and I had no problem selling it back to radio shack for a discount on my iphone4. I’ve also switched to an android phone as of this month. Just tired of apple phones.

  4. exconsumer says:

    Those things turn pink from regular humidity, and Apple and every company that makes use of them knows it. They would never hold up in court and serve no purpose other than cutting warranty costs.

    Every phone I’ve ever had has had a dot that turned pink, and none of them were exposed to anything but ambient humidity.

    • JennQPublic says:

      I’ve heard this many times, so I just got curious and checked the devices in the house.

      Two iPhone 3Gs, one 4, one 4S, and one iPad. All of them have been treated carelessly, in moist locations, frequently used to play music in bathrooms during showers, carried in (sometimes sweaty) pockets. (Don’t judge- we’ve probably spent less on phones in the last five years than most people, and the iPad was free.)

      One of the dots inside a phone was covered in grime, but none of them was pink.

      I’m a satisfied customer.

  5. EnergyStarr says:

    maybe the Apple Genius was attempting to give Reader Jon the sly hint that he needed to spend some careful time painting the pink dot white.

  6. Coffee says:

    Hmmm…this whole humidity sensor issue is understandably maddening, but I still question the OP’s decision to stop using Apple products. Apple may have been right and they may have been wrong…that’s irrelevant to me. The relevant question is can he trust any other company to not do exactly the same thing? These humidity sensors are in all high-end phones these days, and I’m guessing that he would have similar luck if a sensor were tripped in a Samsung, an HTC, a Motorola, etc.

    Disclaimer: I am not a fan of Apple, and I refuse to own any of their products because I don’t like the strategies they employ vis a vis competition and exclusivity.

    • StarKillerX says:

      So, you support sticking with a company that has screwed you because any company you switch to might screw you also? Really?

      • _Rand_ says:

        Think of it this way.

        Company Y has better products (in your opinion) than Company X. However, on matters of customer service Company Y will screw you over equally to Company X.

        So even with customer service being equal, Company Y is still better.

        Personally speaking though, I’ve had fantastic experience with Apple support. I have Applecare on my laptop and it replaced a broken Time Capsule I bought nearly 2 years before the warrantied macbook. How many other companies cover random connected equipment on their extended warranties? Especially stuff not purchased with the laptop?

        • Coffee says:

          Thank you. This is exactly what I am saying. Apple does not have a history of screwing this guy over, and the specific problem he has with warranty is something we’ve heard about in regards to many phones. If this were part of a pattern, sure, leave the company. But it’s not.

      • Nobody can say "Teehee" with a straight face says:

        Well I used to live next to this guy that stole from me. I could have reported him or moved somewhere else… But you know, my new neighbors that replace him might steal from me too. I’ll just let him keep stealing from me I guess.

      • ChuckECheese says:

        In his defense, this is the rationale that keeps many victims in the hands of their abusers.

      • shanelee24 says:

        No, he supports staying with a company that has treated the customer well for well over a decade. Many good memories and many great products, and he up and runs over a situation that can and will happen no matter the phone he gets. The OP sounds like an entitled troublemaker to me, who just cant beleive that he might have damaged his phone. And the issues he was having with the screen and the home button? Sounds like water damage to me.

    • longfeltwant says:

      I disagree. If a company does me wrong (or a person), then I move on to a new company (or person). Maybe I’ll have to move on from the new company, too, but that hardly excuses the behavior of the first company. And to suggest that it does, as you have done, is disingenuous, untenable, and an indicator of motivated reasoning.

      Specifically, I personally moved on from Apple several years ago. They did me wrong a few times, but the final straw was when they demanded $50 for Apple-branded video cables to my new iPod, whereas the physically identical cables which worked for my previous-gen iPod cost eight cents (yes, seriously, eight cents). No, Apple, no; I won’t pay you a thousand times more money for the same product, just because you put in some code which makes iPods work only with your ridiculous video cables. I haven’t bought an Apple product since, after growing up with my LC III and my original bondi blue iMac and my FOUR Apple laptops and my Apple printer and my other Apple stuff. Now I really like my Android phone and my Android tablet. I can really stretch my legs now that I’m outside of the walled garden. It turns out I don’t like walls very much.

    • TheCorporateGeek Says Common Sense Is The Key says:

      You should rethink your ethics…practically every electronics company including Intel and Microsoft partake in the same policies. Apple isn’t special in that department. Don’t look like a hypocrite!

  7. deejmer says:

    Good move Jon. Welcome to the dark side. ;-)

  8. sirwired says:

    There are places online that will swap out pinked Apple humidity indicators for a small fee.

  9. RiverStyX says:

    You better get that dot checked out, My uncle died of pink dot.

  10. K-Bo says:

    I had a roommate in college who tended to be a little emotional. The techs told her to stop crying while talking on the phone because it was setting off the phone’s moisture sensors.

  11. milty45654 says:

    All electronics have little dots on them that turn different colors; getting rid of one will only lead you to another…don’t buy their warranties…just take care of your devices.
    5 years is a pretty decent run for a phone…i don’t keep mine past 2

    not blaming anyone, but that policy is all over; so getting rid of a companies device that lasted super long(imo), doesn’t get back at them…you will find that same policy with other companies

    • teke367 says:

      I’m under the impression its not the original iPhone, as he said he would have been eligible for an upgrade if not for the water damage.

  12. humphrmi says:

    The home button problem on the 4 is a well known problem. My wife’s phone had it, until we replaced it. Funny how this is a known problem and not related to moisture, but they still won’t replace it because of the moisture sensor.

  13. Jane_Gage says:

    I guess I’m officially 35+ and chronically unhip, but it blows my mind someone would spend over twenty bucks on a phone.

    • jshier says:

      Nah, you’re just cheap.

    • K-Bo says:

      For a phone, no I wouldn’t spend more than $25. For a mini computer that replaces my gps,mp3 player, personal organizer and my calendar, plus allows me to check my email, read kindle books and watch TV/Movies, yes, I will pay more than $25. At the time I bought my last smartphone, my GPS and MP3 Player were both kaput, it was cheaper to get a smart phone that contained the functionality of all 3 than it was to buy a cheap phone, a gps and a mp3 player.

      • Unclaoshi says:

        How long do your batteries last? I have never had a smart phone that lets me brows the internet, read a few news stories, send some text messages and make a phone call without out dropping below 20% before 1 pm. I havent even tried to watch a movie on it yet or listening to Mp3s.

        • rdaex says:

          You need to get better phones. Motorola Photon, routinely get from 8am-7pm with normal use. Can watch almost 4 hours of netflix straight through without issue. Also have a power pack that will charge the phone without being plugged in.
          Theres literally NO phone on the market that has battery life as bad as youre claiming now.

    • LanMan04 says:

      $20 for an internet-connected computer in your pocket, you mean.

      • Cor Aquilonis says:

        An internet connected computer with web browser, video camera, still camera, microphone, address book, calendar, email, picture messaging, text chat, radio, mp3 player, social media, weather… and so on.

        Plus, I got it for free, used from a friend who got an upgrade.

        • Jane_Gage says:

          I see how people get frustrated with the size of the keypad on a netbook, I can only imagine the difficulties of typing on something that fits in your hand. I’d rather pull out my laptop from the back seat and make a starbucks pit stop. Besides, I’m one of those people who would drop it in the toilet three days after buying it.

    • aja175 says:

      $20 for the sum of human knowledge in your pocket you mean.

    • threeoutside says:

      You and me both. I don’t need the internet in my pocket. I don’t need an ebook reader. I need a phone on which I can make phone calls. Period.

    • ansjc09 says:

      I’m 25 and also do not have a smartphone. LG Env2 is still alive and kicking, even though I’ve replaced the battery twice now. I can’t get myself to pay $30 a month for data on top of the X price of a smartphone. Of course, being a graduate student and constantly in front of my laptop while in lab maybe part of the reason. Long live dumb phones!

      • pythonspam says:

        I get 300 minutes and unlimited sms and data all for $25 a month, mind you, sprint has started throttling data use above certain thresholds now, but still a deal because I don’t ever come close to using that many voice minutes.

    • Jules Noctambule says:

      It’s a tax-deductible business expense for me — and so is the data plan.
      :)

    • RayanneGraff says:

      I’m 31 & for me it’s NEVER been about being “hip”. I’ve never bought a smartphone for any reason other than that I like having a pocket-size computer with me at all times. It’s my GPS, e-reader, flashlight, music/video player, Netflix streamer, camera, etc…

  14. CaughtLooking says:

    Plead your case to Costanza. He had a book with a dot that he couldn’t return too.

  15. Firevine says:

    Hooray, Jon! You got away from that awful anti-competition company, and switched to…

    “he went out and bought his new laptop ‚Äî a Sony VAIO”

    …fuck…

    • Hi_Hello says:

      hahaha my thought exactly.

      plus roku is awesome..to get a product just because of the name (apple tv) is kinda whack

    • PeanutButter says:

      Of all the laptops to choose, a VAIO? Really? I have one for work, and it is one of the shittiest computers that I’ve ever owned, just above a Gateway. I detest the texturized trackpad, it’s so annoying. All the VAIO bloatware is pretty shitty too.

    • RayanneGraff says:

      I facepalmed hard upon reading that part too. It’s like dropping one polished turd in disgust only to reach down & pick up another. I’m a computer tech & I can say with 100% confidence that VAIOs are the most overpriced, proprietary, break-happy pieces of shit EVER made. They’re the one computer brand you couldn’t PAY ME to own.

  16. Swins says:

    Jon is an idiot.

  17. OldSchool says:

    Lord knows why this didn’t turninto a class action suit ages ago.

  18. donjumpsuit says:

    There are actually three pink dot locations. In the headphone jack, in the charging jack, and a third I cannot remember at this time. All THREE have to be positive to deny service. SO something is fishy with this post.

    • jvanbrecht says:

      The third one is actually inside the phone, and is the ultimate decider, the other 2 can be pink, as long as the internal one is not triggered, you are fine, although you will have to fight with support (Apple, Sony, whomever, it makes no difference, they all do the same thing) to get them to actually look at the internal moisture sensor.

      Also, and unfortunate for those in extremely high humidity areas, generally, all 3 sensors get triggered, even if they have never been submerged.

  19. nopirates says:

    OP could be lying, who knows….

    my point is that his new droid or whatever will have the same sort of moisture detector. they all do.

  20. muenginerd says:

    Sounds like you just got a person on a bad day. Apple’s staff has always been the most helpful to me.

    I would say to escalate the issue, espcially if only one sensor is tripped. It would be pretty hard for them to deny repair due to water damage with only one sensor and still keep a straight face about it. I had dropped my phone a month after getting it in a puddle and the bottom sensor was tripped but not the top. The genius bar told me that because both sensors weren’t tripped they couldn’t say the phone was submerged and they would replace it.

    Careful playing ignorant to a tripped sensor though, I know at least my apple store will not in records if they’ve informed a customer had a water sensor activated. Playing ignorant, painting the sensor, etc, may raise questions. And if they believe you’re trying to pull a fast one on them then they certainly won’t want to help.

  21. Cat says:

    I dated a girl from India. I found out too late that the when the dot turned pink, her warranty was void.

  22. Portlandia says:

    Funny, I take mine to the gym, in the bathroom when I shower, on hikes where it gets very steamy in my jacket pocket and no pink dot of death. Perhaps he just got unlucky.

    There is an option of paying like $200 and switching it out for a new phone. Sucks, but not a lot you can do.

  23. ancientone567 says:

    Your mistake is that you bought APPLE. Never do that again!

    • Portlandia says:

      Right, because Android or other phones don’t have water damage sensor issues either?

      Stupid comment is stupid.

  24. j4bles says:

    I don’t think so. If anything, the “genius” would have told him to pony up $199 for a replacement, there are hundreds of accounts online of Apple going above and beyond with iPhone and iPad replacements. I think the thing left out of this story is the fact that he didn’t want to pay any more money for something that was his fault. Having participated on the macrumors forum for so long, I’ve never heard of an issue with the moisture sensors being bad or set off without being dunked.

  25. thesalad says:

    I had gone in for a screen replacement (big ole dust spots on the screen) and the nice woman at the counter informed me that my dot was red, but that a second dot inside the phone was fine.
    I said.. how can that happen, I’ve never dropped it in water.. I mean it may have gotten water on it while maybe washing dishes or something.. I’m always careful to not have it on me when I’m washing my car or hanging out near / in the pool. Could it have been caused by being in the bathroom while I was in the shower?
    No, it’s not that sensitive… I wasn’t too worried.. I was fixing the screen so I could sell it.. My brother was lending me his 3gs so I could ride out the rest of my contract.

    Now I”m on a prepaid android.. never Look back!

  26. Lyn Torden says:

    The humidity the iPhone gets exposed to depends on what day it was manufactured. FYI, it often gets very humid in China.

  27. Such an Interesting Monster says:

    Congratulation Jon on freeing yourself from the iCult!

  28. Holo20 says:

    That dot is incredibly inaccurate. Here in Alaska, it has been proven that even the cold can activate the dot. I wear my iPhone on a belt holster, and am exposed to sub-zero temps for sometimes 20 or 30 minutes at a time. I *try* to remember to put the phone in an inner coat pocket, but it doesn’t always happen. Anyways I just saw the other day that Apple is trying to implement a more reliable moisture detector in future iPhones…

    • rdaex says:

      Whats amazing to me is that you say ‘here in alaska’, yet cant admit that POSSIBLY the phone got wet without you knowing it…
      But, I suppose it could have just gotten snow on it, which we all know evaporates into thin air when it gets warm

  29. Bluth_Cornballer says:

    John Mellencamp had a similar problem with little houses.

  30. Liam Kinkaid says:

    You love that pile of bricks until your heart bleeds, but that pile of bricks never seems to love you back.

  31. kobresia says:

    I think the dot must also double as a planned obsolescence feature if continuous exposure to atmospheric humidity has a cumulative effect that turns the color, such as Apple periodically refusing all backwards compatibility with “older” products when it comes to new OS X releases.

    While I’m not a fan of Microsoft’s software DRM shenanigans, at least it’s generally possible to install Windows on machines that are horribly under-spec and they leave it to the customer to decide if it’s functional enough. And of course, many new Linux distributions are designed to scale gracefully to the capabilities of outdated hardware. Apple’s disowning of its products when they reach a certain age is really lame, especially considering they carried a premium price tag when they were new.

  32. ClemsonEE says:

    Just jailbreak the thing and install activator to mimic the home button with a swipe feature.

  33. AngryK9 says:

    There is no company, business, or corporation that care about customers. All any of them care about is their profit margin. If they can make a buck by screwing a customer, they will do it.

    • The Cybernetic Entomologist says:

      That’s such an ignorant statement. There are plenty of companies out there (some even show up on here) who care about their customers and do the right thing, as their customers are the ones paying the bills.

  34. leprofie says:

    I once dropped an iPhone in the toilet. Took it in, told them the stupid thing I had done, and they replaced it because the pink dot wasn’t showing.

  35. spittingangels says:

    Yes, because his roommate, the Verizon employee, is also an engineering expert.

    Look, I realize this is anecdotal but I’ve forgotten my phone in my pocket when running or performing under stage lights and pulled it out with actual condensation on the glass from being in my pocket while I was sweating. I still don’t have a pink dot in the headphone jack or charger slot. Now, I imagine, based on my own experience, that for these dots to turn pink on just ambient humidity, it must be chronic like leaving it in the bathroom all the time when showering or something.

    I hear apocryphal evidence about how these dots turn pink from humidity from phone company employees and those butthurt over getting denied warranty service all the time but I have yet to hear or see any evidence from 3rd party tech/hardware groups to confirm or deny the case. This would be a great issue for Anandtech or Ars Technica or another site to test. Even Consumer Reports could test this and keep their results behind a paywall for all I care, as long as it was done by an independent and trustworthy source.

    • Sarek says:

      I second the motion for CR to test the moisture sensors on cell phones (and whatever other equipment that has them.)

    • Sparkstalker says:

      I came here to suggest the exact same thing – this is an issue that CR should be right up CR’s alley.

    • shanelee24 says:

      Agreed. Too many of the “experts” in this thread claim that this is a known issue to everyone, but like you said, i’ve only ever heard it from butthurt customers and the commenters on this site. Given that I am an avid Boy Genuis reader and Gizmodo, among others, I’m positive I would have heard about this major issue if it really existed.

  36. pot_roast says:

    He went out and bought a VAIO? Yeah, that’s a way to show them. I have never seen junkier laptops..

    Stick it to the man. And I have the feeling that there’s more to this story than he’s letting on.. iirc, policy is to check the other water sensors as well. There are either 3 or 4 sensors. I smell shenanigans.

  37. 2 Replies says:

    “He did however inform me that if the dot was not pink, they would immediately have been able to switch it out my obviously faulty iPhone for a new model that did not fail continually.”

    False.
    Apple will NOT swap out an older model for a newer one.
    They WILL swap your faulty phone for a refurbished one of the SAME model though.

  38. jeb says:

    It really depends on the rep. I went in because my touchscreen stopped working on my iPod touch (I played dumb and didn’t mention that I had dropped part of it into standing water, although it was not submerged.) They said they would charge me $99 for a replacement since the water trigger was on.

    I go in a few months later (I didn’t have $99 until then, since I was going to sell it at cost) and they replaced it for free. Didn’t change anything.

  39. Lucky225 says:

    The irony of going from Apple to Sony is killing me, WAKE UP iFanboy, go with a company that doesn’t make you rely on themself.

  40. limbodog says:

    I feel like these humidity traps are just another scam like the mail in rebates with 40% rejection rates.

    Why can’t companies behave in an ethical manner? Is it really that fine a line? Is Apple (or any other phone manufacturer) going to go under if they start supporting product issues?

    • Buckus says:

      …because there’s more money to behave unethically? Banks figured this out a long time ago. if the consumer adheres to one set of ethical rules, but the bank doesn’t adhere to one at all, they can make more money.

    • shanelee24 says:

      Whats unethical about making sure that before your company takes a loss on a warranty issue, that it is indeed a warranty issue? Find me one article confirming a LDI scam on any of the actual tech sites (gizmodo, boy genuis, and the like…..) and I’ll consider that as proof of a conspiracy. Until then, educate yourself, and stop making false and stupid claims.

  41. Republicrat says:

    Remove or color over the dot so that it no longer shows pink. Problem solved.

  42. BoneThugg77 says:

    Pro tip: when you buy a phone, cut out little rectangles of scotch tape and affix them over the moisture sensors. I’ve dunked a taped phone in water and had it replaced under warranty. Make sure you take off the tape before you make the “I don’t know what happened, it just stopped working” call.

  43. samonela says:

    Here you go:

    http://www.amazon.com/Map-Dot-Stickers-Assorted-Transparent/dp/B003M6RPPM

    Find the appropriate color, problem solved.

  44. IowaCowboy says:

    He should bring a lawsuit under the Magnussom-Moss warranty act. I think that means that Apple has to prove that moisture is causing the issue and not some other issue. I am surprised that there has not been more warranty litigation because a “pink dot” is not sufficient (especially since it is on the outside of the device) enough to void the warranty. I am not an attorney but I have done quite a bit of research on consumer law.

    • psm321 says:

      good point

    • shanelee24 says:

      Except a LDI is not on the outside of the device. It is right on the inside, with all the other goodies. And most phone models have several, Apple having three or four themselves. And water damage and the indication that a phone has been water damaged has been found sufficent to void a warranty in just about any electronic product.

  45. Bent Rooney says:

    A quick dip in some black paint = no more pink dot.

  46. axiomatic says:

    Another replier sid it below but I will say it shorter.

    There are multiple moisture sensors. Ask the Apple Genius to open up the phone and check them all. Body sweat alone can trip the one in the headset slot and the data port but not the internal one.

    If the (deep) internal one is pink though, you’re screwed.

  47. Buckus says:

    The purpose of the pink dot is to make you buy a new Apple product.

  48. Chester Copperpot says:

    Every single Apple product that I have owned has had a major problem, resulting in needing repair of being replaced. 2 ipods, 1 iphone and one macbook pro.

  49. oops says:

    Sorry it took you so long to figure out that apple products come prepackaged with lots o bull manure! Hopefully the apple sheeple will see the light b4 it’s too late.

  50. Dracoster says:

    I’m so glad Norway has proper consumer protection laws. Here they have to prove that the water is the cause of the problem, if they try to use it as a cause to not replace the phone.

  51. RegBevWil says:

    I had quite the opposite experience after my iPhone 4 was waterlogged for 2 hours (unbeknownst to me) during an international flight. I was stranded in Krakow, phoneless, unable to speak the language, with a very wet, very expensive paperweight.

    I got back to the states 10 days later and took my phone to the Apple store. The dude at the Genius Bar told me what I already knew: all four moisture sensors were bright pink. He then checked to see if I was under warranty. Bad news, my warranty had expired four days prior. Good news, he swapped out my broken phone for a brand new one. Free of charge. To this day, I cannot figure out why he did this. I suspect it was because the iPhone 5 was about to launch and he was trying to push old stock, but that’s the only reason I could fathom.

    I went in that day fully expecting and perfectly willing to pay full price for a replacement, only to walk out with a brand new, free phone. Can anyone explain this?

  52. arb says:

    Jon can’t have been that dedicated a customer if he was so willing to jump ship so fast. If he had’ve done what any sane person would have done, he would have asked to speak to a manager and/or did some simple Googling when he got home. There have been many cases of the dreaded pink dot turning out to be a false indicator and Apple would have happily replaced the iPhone if he had bothered to escalate…

    Oh well, good luck trying to get any support out of Sony!

  53. Weekilter says:

    the only trouble with swearing off Apple products is that all phones now have the water exposure dot. Who’s to say that the same thing won’t happen with an Android from Samsung or Motorola.

  54. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    Maybe the phones are just too fragile. I’m using a Motorola Verizon slider phone with touch screen that I borrowed from a friend & activated under my number. It’s a casualty of too much drinking and a fall into the river. Her husband retrieved it from the bottom, and they dried it out in some rice. I’m sure somewhere inside there are colored dots, but it works perfectly.

  55. agraham999 says:

    I suppose it isn’t possible at all that he did actually have water or moisture damage to his phone which caused the problems he was having with the Home button considering the proximity to the charger port. But no of course it’s gotta be faulty product and bad customer service or it wouldn’t be a story you could post here for clicks.

    My wife had somehow exposed her phone to excessive humidity and the phone started working improperly, but instead of blaming the company, we simply paid to have it repaired/replaced.

    This person seems a little knee-jerk reactionary and sensationalistic. You really are going to switch from a Mac to a PC because you are unhappy with your phone experience? And the quote:

    “Congrats Apple. I hope you choke on your pink dots.”

    Really, hyperbole much?

  56. Coyote says:

    Eh, I don’t know. Intermittent problems and a non-responsive home button does sound like what happens if the phone has been exposed to enough moisture to develop corrosion on the button/dock connector assembly.

    He might have been better off just telling Apple he dunked it somehow. The genuis bar once replaced my phone “under warranty” because I fell into a pool with it in my pocket. That was a strictly a one-time thing and was noted as such on my account, so YMMV.

    And they still do the $199 swap for any non-warranty repair.

  57. The Online Presence says:

    First of all, it is a LIQUID immersion indicator, not a HUMIDITY indicator. As a computer technician I have worked with them for many years. They do not turn pink/red without coming in contact with liquid. In fact, if a single drop of liquid is place on it the indicator still remains white. There must be some “pooling” of water over the indicator to trigger the change in color.

    What I have seen often, however, are customers who refuse to consider that maybe their device in fact has come in contact with water or some liquid. It may not even be them who made the device come in contact with water or liquid. It could have been a family member or friend who was using the device. If it was true that the indicators were defective everyone living in a humid state would have their indicator turn pink/red and this is not the case.

    • DcChick says:

      Amen. I live in a very humid place. No red sensors. Also former Apple tech..and I’ve heard all these stories before while having the benefit of having super high res photos of the damage. The things people come up with!

  58. SiddhimaAmythaon says:

    Apple set out a memo to store a while back not to just trust the dot. but to look for signs of real water damage.. http://www.tuaw.com/2011/02/01/apples-softened-water-damage-policy-gains-notice/

  59. SiddhimaAmythaon says:

    This is one of the reasons i bought a lifeproof case. and applecare +

  60. Gary says:

    I love all the Apple apologists… “He should escalate…”, “Try a different store…”, “This will never happen with any other manufacturer…”.
    Why? He did nothing wrong. Why does HE have to run around either in person or on the phone, etc.
    He got crappy customer service. He changed services. He should be congratulated for having acted, rather than suffering, running around and escalating.

    • The Online Presence says:

      He did not get poor customer service (he said the guy behind the counter was “nice enough.”). His phone was wet as per the liquid indicator and that is why it was not covered under his warranty. Had the iPhone not been wet it would still be under warranty (and probably still working as its likely the water that damaged the iPhone in the first place). Those sensors aren’t put there to unjustly prevent warranty claims. They are there to determine if the issue is related to a manufacturers defect or physical (liquid) damage.

      If you want to say that the indicators are rigged to turn pink/red then that is another issue (conspiracy maybe) to take up with the companies that manufacturers them for ALL electronic companies, not just Apple.

  61. DcChick says:

    I moved to Florida a year ago and it’s very hot and humid. Like woah. I also take very hot showers in a room with no vent fan and both visible sensors are perfect. I also go to the gym, I sweat, I ride my motorcycle in the rain with the phone just in my jeans pocket. I’ve retrieved it to find both front and back glass slightly moist…still no pink sensors.

    I also worked for Apple’s iPhone division in a supervisory capacity, so that paired with my current experience lets me understand that Jon has damaged his phone. I saw some BS comment about how all sensors have to be tripped. That is 100% not true. More people than you know drop their phones in cereal bowls, coffee cups, etc. The top sensor wouldn’t be tripped but the bottom one certainly would be. The symptoms he describes line up perfectly with exposure to water in the dock area.

    Have Apple deny the repair, then request images of the phone from the repair depot. They take super close up pictures of the damage and they will share them with you. I guarantee there will be green discoloring in the port and other obvious signs of water damage.

  62. Levk says:

    Yea that pink dot is BS is why you put clear nail polish on it to prevent it from turning pink for any reason

  63. mikells43 says:

    u can also remove the sticker totally too. so no pink dot at all:). or u can buy a new one on ebay, pink dot that is… i know u have to replace the whole headphone port to fix the pink dot issue in it. but yea . he should have worked harder. poor customer skillllzzz

  64. pika2000 says:

    LOL. He didn’t like Apple’s customer service and went with Sony? I guess he never deal with Sony’s customer service before.

  65. The_Fuzz_53 says:

    Man, this guy just likes spending money. From an Apple to a Sony…

  66. NE-Phil says:

    I know someone who purchased their iphone from Verizon. When she experienced the same problems as the user above, Verizon told her the same thing – it’s been in water. She knew it had not been any where near water.
    So she then took it to the apple store, one of their people looked at it, and replaced it on the spot. He told her the dot turned pink due to the humidity in the air. It had been a humid summer. The same problem had been a reoccurring one for apple so they were just replacing the phones.

  67. sj_user1 says:

    If you buy Apple you get what you deserve.

  68. cryptique says:

    If Apple didn’t have such a great design team, people might see them for what they really are.

    Wake up, Apple cult.

  69. newmie says:

    I have never in my entire life bought an Apple product. When this sort of mistreatment occurs, my resolve to avoid Apple is justified.

  70. Thorzdad says:

    I’ve always been amazed that phones aren’t made to be more water-resistant, considering the environments people typically use them in. Like in in an emergency in the rain, for instance.

  71. atomoverride says:

    im sorry but pink dot? what if you were sick and used a humidifier to get better and your phone was on your nightstand in your room. Does that mean the pink dot would be set off?

    Fu Apple. FU

    • rfeirstein says:

      Read the written warranty! It expressly states that there must be a link between the so called mis-handling issued and the reported defect. All of the companies share similar warranty terms. It is a violation of the warranty to refuse warranty service merely because a moisture sensitive dot has changed color. But they all do it. The Justice Department needs to have a heart to heart talk with the industry over this abuse.

  72. bohemond says:

    My experience with Apple was almost the opposite of the OP’s. I had an Iphone that was more than a year old, and therefore out of warranty. The home button had become spongey and unresponsive, but I still had close to a year on my contract before I could replace the phone. When I went to the Apple store, the employee looked at the problem, agreed it was bad, and gave me a free replacement even though the warranty had expired. I was startled–the only other time I’ve had something freely replaced after the warranty had expired was about 15 years ago, when my Apple monitor just died. I am very impressed with Apple’s willingness to go beyond the warranty.

  73. blinkdmb says:

    Would not be an issue if he had a squaretrade. Square trade is amazing, I have never had an issue with them. If you do want a warranty for your Iphone this will take five bucks off of the warranty. The best thing is you get a check for your full purchase price of the phone less your deductable. This means you can buy a new phone if it were to break lets say when the Iphone 5 comes out……Or if it just breaks you don’t keep getting a crappy referb phone. Here is a link to save 5 bucks off a iphone warrenty. http://squaretrade.extole.com/a/clk/1JG4N

  74. newfenoix says:

    This has nothing to do with this specific issue but I am curious about something; I always hear about Apple’s great customer service when someone’s iWhatever broke. I have worked with and around Apple products for years and I am NOT impressed with their reliability or their performance. I have had great service out of most of the electronics that I have had owned over the years with the exception of one HP laptop. Now, I do understand that personal choice is personal choice but to me anything that receives a cult-like following like Apple everything does scares me off. My choice of phone? Samsung Focus Windows from AT&T.

  75. dwfmba says:

    The water damage indicator is far from accurate in every iteration. I’ve seen phones that have gotten wet NOT trip it and ones that have been new in a box for over a year show water damage.

  76. soj4life says:

    Apple’s sensors are alot more sensitive than most other brands. My daughter dropped my wife’s eris into a milkshake. It was acting funky and we checked the moisture detector in case we needed to return her phone, was still in pristine shape.

  77. Emily says:

    “I’ve never had issue with its price, the fact that it cant be modified beyond Apple’s policies, that the iPhone 4 lost antenna power without the bumpers, that there were cheaper, more customizable models with Droids.”

    Hmm, sounds to me like someone who does have an issue. “I never complained about the following eight detailed things…”

  78. cashxx says:

    Wait till he learns as a Google customer that he is the product being sold to Google’s real customers the Advertisers.

  79. meh_cat says:

    When I get a new phone, I stick a small piece of tape over the moisture detector. I haven’t had to turn anything in for warranty repair yet but whenever that happens, I hope the tape keeps the dot white. Is that a bad thing to do?

  80. deniedbeef30 says:

    I’m not saying that the OP should be blamed, but I did leave my iPhone 4 out in the rain one night and then dried it in rice for a day. It at first was constantly giving me the message about plugging in to a device that couldn’t charge or wasn’t compatible for about 3 days before I assume drying out. Now it works very well but as stated above, the home button is very hard to use and has been since the incident over 6 months ago. So I’m thinking though it may not have been submersed in water, like mine just getting wet in the rain can cause an issue. I’m sure my battery indicator is pink.

  81. JonBoy470 says:

    This OP is in for a rude awakening. Moisture sensors are ubiquitous in consumer electronics. And the manufacturers take a tripped sensor as an indication that the product has been immersed in water. Which constitutes abuse. Which means the warranty is void. An iPhone has, like, four moving parts. It’s much more likely that water killed it than it stopped working on its own.

  82. JonBoy470 says:

    That and buy a dang warranty for your phone. I realize that extended warranties are generally a waste of money, but let’s face it. You’ll probably kill your phone inside of two years, before you can upgrade. So the replacement cost of your $200 phone is really $600. Worth the $99 for Squaretrade (or Applecare+) definitely…