10 Easy Ways to Destroy Your Mobile Phone

Category: Gadgets

Too often, smartphones make you feel dumb. All but the most imperturbable Zen Masters among us have felt the perfectly understandable urge to wreak utter destruction upon that pocket-sized device that makes us feel so clumsy and stupid. But in most cases, a phone’s demise is deemed “accidental.” Here are ten easy ways to destroy a smartphone, and how to avoid those inconvenient mishaps…

Don't Try This at Home

Breaking smartphones seems to be a popular American pastime, even if it is accidental in most cases. According to industry estimates, Americans spend over $4 billion annually on repair and replacement of broken phones. Popular YouTube celebrities draw millions of viewers by creatively destroying brand-new phones - usually iPhones, for some reason. If you've ever wondered what happens when you drop an iPhone into a river of red-hot lava, watch this video.

No volcanos handy? You could hop a plane to Hawaii, but there are easier ways to fold, spindle or mutilate your expensive smartphone. Here are ten tongue-in-cheek suggestions for breaking your phone, all of which you'll want to avoid.

#1 - Drop your phone on a hard surface. Manufacturers love to brag that phones can survive falls of up to ten feet onto a concrete floor. What they don’t mention is how precisely those phones are oriented before they’re dropped, to avoid landing on their most vulnerable points. In real life, a phone that lands on its glass face is very likely to shatter its display, a repair bill of $200 or more. Soft silicone cases not only cushion falls, they provide a non-slip grip that makes dropping a phone less likely.

I use and recommend Spigen Phone Cases because they fit perfectly, look good, and are very reasonably priced, from $12 to $16. For extra protection, I add a $7 Supershieldz screen protector to prevent scratching and nicks.

Broken smartphone

#2 - Get your phone wet. You don’t need a large body of liquid to short-circuit the electronics in your phone. Just leave it on a countertop at a bar, cafe, or restaurant and eventually something will spill and seep into the phone. At the beach or swimming pool, set the phone down close to the water so you can hear your favorite tunes clearly. Or take it for a swim, like I recently did. Another favorite way to drown a phone is to let it slip out of your back pocket into a toilet. (If your phone does get dunked, see my article Oops, I dropped My Phone AGAIN for tips on how to rescue a wet phone.) Speaking of the back pocket, that leads us to our third most popular way to break a phone.

#3 - Sit on it. Bending iPhones or Android phones can cause them to cease functioning and even shatter. This astounding discovery took the tech world by surprise with the release of the iPhone 6 Plus in 2014, generating dozens of test videos and heated debates about whether or not a phone should break when a 200-pound-plus person sits on it. Well yes, it should, because it isn’t a paperback book, wallet, or 2x4 board. The laws of physics are very clear on this subject. The newer iPhone X seems to fare better in bend testing, but why take that risk? I was told by a Verizon store owner that phones are most easily stolen when stored in the back pocket.

#4 - Cook it. Phones and other electronic devices don’t like excessive heat; see my article, Your Computer’s Worst Enemy. When overheated for prolonged periods, RAM will start dropping bits, disk drives will develop bad sectors, transistors and resistors will burn out, and the phone will “just stop working.” Most phones are rated to stand up to 113 degrees Fahrenheit, a temperature easily exceeded on a car’s dashboard on a sunny day. Even leaving a phone on a window sill in an air-conditioned room can lead to overheating due to the phone’s absorption of radiant energy. Freezing a phone to death is a bit harder; most are rated down to -40 F.

#5 - Leave it on always. If you don’t sleep, you get confused, slow down, and eventually stop working; the same goes for your phone. Constant background operations muddy memory, wear out hardware, and lead to early failure. Turn the phone off at night, or at least reboot it once a week.

Should you buy "device insurance" or a "protection plan" from your mobile phone carrier? My advice is no. See my article SCAM ALERT: Mobile Device Insurance and Extended Warranties to find out why, and a much cheaper alternative.

#6 - Cram it full of stuff. Photos, videos, messages, contacts, and apps take up storage space. The more crowded storage becomes, the harder the phone has to work to keep things organized and retrieve what’s needed at a given moment. I've also found that having a boatload of saved text messages can really slow or even freeze my phone. If 90% or more of your storage is full, it’s time to clean house. Move files and photos to offline or cloud storage, uninstall unused apps, and delete old text messages.

#7 - Don’t update anything. A phone that’s running an outdated operating system or apps is operating inefficiently, even dangerously. Updates and patches improve performance (if they’re done right) by eliminating bugs and fine-tuning operating processes. Keep your phone’s software and apps up to date and it will be less likely to crash.

#8 - Install sketchy apps. Almost all mobile malware sneaks in as a result of using third-party app stores. If you jailbreak your iPhone, or change the settings on your Android phone to allow installation of apps from unknown sources, you're open to a world of hurt. Always use the official app store for your phone, and install only trusted apps with lots of good reviews.

#9 - Use the cheapest charger you can find. A two-buck no-name charger from China is not just as good as a $20-$30 OEM charger. Dirt-cheap chargers often omit feedback circuitry that prevents overcharging of a phone’s battery, and that is how smartphones burn down houses. Cheaper is not better when it comes to connecting phones to other devices, either. I explained some of the flaws and telltale signs of a dangerously cheap USB-C cable in my article, Don't Buy the Wrong USB-C Cable.

#10 - Never clean the phone. Dust, crumbs, and gunk will get between the phone and that silicone case, and into the ports on the phone. If you ignore this ick, it will eventually clog electrical contact points and your phone will stop working. Remove the case and wipe it clean with a soft cloth and water (not alcohol or soap) every now and then, and especially after a camping trip or other time spent in the great, filthy outdoors. Clean ports as gently and carefully as you would clean your ears; a soft-bristle toothbrush swept lightly over the outer rim of a port is often enough.

Have you tried any of these handy tips for ruining your mobile phone? How did they work? Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "10 Easy Ways to Destroy Your Mobile Phone"

Posted by:

07 May 2019

I use, and have for years, an Otterbox casing for my iPhone, since the 4, I think. They are pricey but well worth it as I've dropped my phone many times and not once harmed it. The newest version, for the Xr also has a glass face, not plastic, so nothing can get under it - that used to annoy me, no longer. They last as long as the phone does.

Posted by:

07 May 2019

After dropping my phone into sand and water at the beach, I placed the phone in the oven of my kitchen range, and set the oven to self clean, to clean and dry the phone. Just as promised, at the end of the cycle, there was only a small amount of ash in the bottom of the oven. No more problems with that phone. (Dear Abby can usually spot a fake letter.)

Posted by:

07 May 2019

Bob, I need some advice. I keep dropping my smart phone on the concrete, but it just won't break. Any suggestions?

Posted by:

07 May 2019

Hey Phil. Quick and easy way to solve your problem. Just keep doubling the height you drop it from. Should break within 10 doublings.

Posted by:

07 May 2019

Additional ways to destroy your phone:

#11 take a picture of someone or something when told NOT to.

#12 flash it in a bad neighborhood and watch it disappear(along with your watch and purse).

#13 take a picture holding it outside of the car window when going 70MPH.

#14 give it to Phil.

Posted by:

07 May 2019

Bob, are you sure you’ve never worked for Hillary Clinton?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Why, did I forget to mention the Hammer Method? :-)

Posted by:

Tony Nobaloney
08 May 2019

11> Do what Hillary did..smash them with a hammer that seemed to work fine.

Posted by:

top squirrel
08 May 2019

The way to make this problem go away is never to purchase a smart phone. Saves a little money, too.
Why should you want to bring into your life a device that is smarter than you are?
If you ever buy a smartphone, make sure to remove its battery and store the phone in a safe and inaccessible place. Where it can never get to you.
Hey, I read somewhere that when you're asleep, a smart phone with a battery will turn itself on and enter into a conspiracy against you with your smartwatch and your not-so-stupid-after-all computer, and here's what they'll decide to do: First, they
[This message from Paranoia Central. "You're not paranoid if they're really after you."]

Posted by:

08 May 2019

Roge, I started at .00390625", doubled it 10 times and it still won't break. :(

Mike, thanks but I have one too many phones now.

Posted by:

09 May 2019

On the contrary; In my unbiased observation these so called smart phones seem making some folks more stupid by the minute.

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