Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

Australians dropping phones on faces, floors, the toilet

Our phones go everywhere with us, and we rely on them for almost everything, and while you probably can’t imagine life without one, many of us are dropping them in such a way where we’re risking being forced to buy another, or at the very least repair them.

The smartphone has become integral to our lives, so much that it’s the one device you probably can’t part with. As it takes over for the camera, your portable media player, digital wallet, and the connection to the internet, your smartphone is likely the very thing you can’t part with, and yet sometimes the temporary departures are the very thing risking that phone ownership.

Australian website Finder has released some research that suggests a startling number of Australians are experiencing a phone “mishap”, with situations that can cause phone damage or breakages in some of the most unlikely of situations.

While the survey only covered 2306 people, Finder says those respondents can represent the millions of Australians across the country, and that includes a good 20 percent of people dropping the phone on their face while they were lying in bed messaging (presuming they were looking up and holding that phone above their head), 4 percent losing it in transport, 2 percent accidentally leaving it in the washing machine, and 1 percent of individuals forgetting it in a hotel room.

Staggeringly, 3 percent of individuals surveyed have damaged the phone while attempting to take a selfie, and the number jumps when you’re talking about young people, hitting 7 percent for Generation Y and Generation Z.

“Some people aren’t afraid to go to extreme lengths for an Insta-worthy ‘selfie’, but if you’re putting your phone, and more importantly your health, at risk, perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate your priorities,” said Alex Kidman, Technology Journalist at Finder.

Kidman and co’s research also suggests a good 8 percent of individuals are dropping the phone in the toilet, and while our phones are becoming more and more water resistant, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re protected solely against the ingress of water.

Rather, you may have to worry about bacterial growth, as well as what you’ve dropped the phone into.

“Even though many phones tout water resistance, that’s for clean lab water,” said Kidman. “Dropping your phone in the toilet bowl can do a fair bit of damage to even the sturdiest handset.”

“If your phone does happen to go for an accidental swim, the first thing you want to do is switch it off, pronto,” he said. “You don’t want to give yourself an electric shock after having just dropped your whole life in the dunny.”

We’d go further and say that once you turned it off, if you have a water-resistant phone like the Samsung Galaxy S8 or Apple iPhone 7 and above (including the iPhone X), wash it off under the tap thoroughly to get rid off any impurities that might have lingered. Toilet water might rely on freshwater for its reservoir, but the water inside isn’t necessarily “fresh”, with bacteria possibly left behind, and not the sort you’d want to put near your face or mouth when you talk.

If your phone isn’t waterproof and you drop it in, take it out, wipe it down, and either get a bag for phone repair lined with silica gel or go and get the commonly known bowl of rice, leaving it in either for a few days.

While rice is by no means as good as silica gel-lined packets (do not leave a phone in silica gel balls, as this may clock up ports; use the specially made phone repair packets lined with them), it at least serves as one way you can help save a drowned phone that isn’t water resistant.

And for any other damage, we’d recommend either repairing the phone ASAP, or considering a new one. It’s not worth your fingers or safety to use a screen that is damaged beyond recognition, and it doesn’t help the overall usage of your phone to leave it in a shambles.

Read next