Mobile devices are practically a necessity in today's technology-driven world, and they really can make your life easier. Or at least, they make your life easier until they get dropped or wet, or the battery dies for good. When these things happen, it can be a major inconvenience. If you don't have the time or money to replace the device or get it repaired right away, it can be tempting to go looking for DIY repair instructions that you can do at home. Unfortunately, there are a lot of bad tips floating around on the internet, masquerading as legitimate mobile device repair tips. Don't be fooled by these terrible pieces of technology repair advice.
Buff Scratches With Toothpaste
This little tip actually predates the tablet or the smartphone – you may remember being advised to buff scratches out of your television screen with toothpaste years ago. The same advice is sincerely recommended by well-meaning, but mistaken mobile technology users today.
The Problem: You actually may be able to buff out a small scratch with toothpaste, but you still won't like the results – you'll create a web of new scratches in the process. What you may not realize is that toothpaste is actually a pretty abrasive substance. It has to be in order to effectively clean plaque and tartar off of your teeth. While liberal use of toothpaste may result in beautiful pearly whites, it will make your tablet screen look as if you've been running sandpaper over it.
Do This Instead: This is a situation where an ounce of prevention is definitely worth a pound of cure. Don't wait until you get scratches and then look for ways to get rid of them. Invest in a supply of plastic cling-on screen protectors. They're inexpensive and they'll keep you from having to worry about scratch repair. The only real solution once the screen is already scratched is to have it replaced.
Dry Out A Wet Device With a Blow Dryer
Everyone knows that liquids and electronics don't mix, but that doesn't stop most people from reading their tablets while drinking a soda or texting on their smartphones while brushing their teeth. Do this often enough, and you're bound to eventually wind up with a wet device. The next thing that you know, someone will suggest aiming the hair dryer at it for a quick fix.
The Problem: At first glance, this actually does sound like reasonable advice. You might well assume that the longer the water stays in contact with the electronic device, the more damage it will do, and a blow dryer is a quick way to remove the water. Unfortunately, while the blow dryer is evaporating the water, it's also melting small plastic and electrical components, which will very likely disable your device permanently.
Do This Instead: First, turn the device off as soon as possible. The longer it stays on while wet, the greater the risk of shorting it out entirely. Next, remove anything that can be removed – take it out of the protective case or covering, remove the battery cover, and take out the battery. Put all the parts into a bag of dry rice or pasta, seal it tightly, and try to forget about it for a few hours to a few days, depending on whether the phone was just a little wet or thoroughly submerged. The rice or pasta will absorb the water from the phone. It's not a guarantee, but it will at least give you a chance of getting your phone working again.
Microwave the Device to Improve the Battery Life
Don't you hate when your battery dies when you don't have access to a plug or stops being able to keep a charge, especially when the device's manufacturers make it tough to access the battery or purchase a replacement? Wouldn't it be great if you could just toss the device into a handy household device – say, a microwave – and breathe new life into the battery? In some corners of the internet, you may be advised to do just that.
The Problem: The problem with this advice is that it's a complete hoax, perpetrated by an internet group that's famous for hoaxes and pranks. Anyone who recommends this strategy to you is either grossly misinformed or really doesn't have your best interests at heart. Sadly, many people have been fooled by this particular prank. At best, they wound up with scorched, blackened, and completely unsalvageable devices. At worst, they started kitchen fires.
Do This Instead: Let the battery run down to nothing before you plug it into the charger. Force-stop apps that you're no longer using. Dim the brightness on your screen, and set the display to turn off after a short period of non-use. All of these tricks will help extend the life of your battery. With that said, the lithium-ion batteries in mobile devices have a limited shelf life, and they lose their ability to hold a charge eventually, even if they're not being used. That means that you can occasionally get a device with a battery that's weak from the time you open the box, simply because the battery has been on the shelf for too long. You may start to notice your battery getting weaker in as little as a year. When it can no longer hold a charge, all you can do is replace the battery or replace the device.
Repairing mobile electronic devices like tablets or smartphones is a job that's usually best left for professionals. Before you go looking for DIY fixes, find out what a legitimate repair shop like Nation's First Office Repair has to say. A real repair that won't further damage your device may be easier and less expensive than you think.