What The Tech: Phone Dangers
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — If you’re planning to be on the water or celebrating the 4th of July any other way, you should be aware that it is historically the most dangerous day of the year for smartphones.
According to Asurion, an insurance and repair company, the number of damage claims for smartphones is nearly 50% higher on the 4th of July compared to its next busiest day.
“Primarily two things,” says Larry Murphy of Asurion. “Cracked glass and liquid damage. People are out and about and doing things with their devices. They’re excited, lots of movement, lots of cracks, lots of drops, and lots of liquid damage.”
Asurion sees an 80% increase in water damage, a 10% increase in cracked screens and glass, and a 65% surge in unrecoverable phones. That includes smartphones that are dropped to the bottom of a lake or ocean or accidentally dropped off a cliff. Stolen or lost phones are also ordinary on the 4th of July.
There are a few things you can do ahead of time to protect not only your phone but what’s on it.
“First and foremost, back up your device,” said Murphy. “Set your device to back up on a regular basis, whether that’s daily, weekly, or monthly.”
If a damaged phone cannot be repaired, the backup is critical to restoring data from Google or iCloud on a new replacement phone. Photos and contacts that have not been backed up are not recoverable.
“Put a case on there,” Murphy recommends. “If you’re going to be near an environment where there’s lots of water, we recommend going after a waterproof case.”
Waterproof cases are more expensive but they will keep the phone protected if it’s dropped into salt water or chlorine. Heavy-duty waterproof cases also float in the event they fall out of a boat or off a dock. Clear plastic pouches are available that hold the phone so it can still be used and come with a strap that hangs from your neck.
“If you don’t want to put a case on there, put some type of liquid glass on your screen. It’s going to help prevent, or at least save your device when you drop it,” said Murphy.
Liquid glass screens are relatively new. They’re applied to the screen with a damp cloth and strengthen the glass to resist scratches and cracks.
The good news is that most new smartphones have some degree of water resistance. While no phone is waterproof on its own, most will be able to handle splashes from the pool or even a quick drop in shallow water.
The best way to protect your phone from an accident on the 4th of July is to put it somewhere safe and only take it out if it’s completely necessary and enjoy the holiday.