Pocket Lint Can Destroy Your iPhone

by Barrett

You may not know it, but this dusty mess is growing in your iPhone right now! It’s time to get rid of it…

You may not know it, but this dusty mess is growing in your iPhone right now! It’s time to get rid of it…

Recently, I noticed my year-old iPhone 6 Plus was acting quirky.
(Maybe it’s cranky that it’s no longer the latest and greatest with the new 6S line just released.)

I first started having problems a couple weeks back while using the EarPods. First, the onboard volume buttons on the cable stopped working. Then, the microphone started wigging out. So I figured the earphones had simply gone bad.

I pulled out my backup pair of EarPods.
Same problem.
Hmmm…

Cupertino, We Have a Problem
Then I considered a separate iPhone issue that was simultaneously annoying me. It had to do with my nightly ritual of charging up my trusty iPhone before I went to bed. I began to notice that inserting my Lighting charging cable didn’t create that confident ‘clicking’ sound anymore. The cable went in, but it felt like the connection wasn’t firm. On occasion, I had to push in the cable a second time to activate the charge. It was as if… the connection was failing. As if something was blocking it.

And in fact there was…

A Dusty Blob
I grabbed a flashlight and took a look inside the small opening of the Lightning connector port. I peered closer…

Perhaps not so surprisingly, the hole was partially filled up with pocket link and dust from the right front pocket in all of my pants. I guess it’s been building up over the past 11 months, and it finally grew to a large enough mini-mass, which had been crammed to the back end of the jack hole through my daily charging cycle. Would this prevent the connector from seating properly?

You betcha!

It was time for some emergency surgery.

Calling Dr. Lester!
So I took a pin and carefully extracted portions of the dusty mass until all was clear again.

Bingo!

A toothpick would work too, and I imagine occasionally blowing in some compressed air would be a deterrent to prevent dusty build up.
(I don’t know how durable the inside of the lightning port is to be… so I would tread lightly.)

The Operation Continues
Then I peered into the EarPod jack. Same issue?

It was harder to tell by visual inspection. It just appeared to be a bottomless black hole. So I took the pin and carefully dropped it down like I was a kid again playing my Milton Bradley game of ‘Operation.’

And then I felt it. The spongy muck.
Yep….identical problem… not a surprise.

So I carefully performed the same procedure.
And voilà… my EarPods suddenly worked again!

It’s Not Just Pocket Lint
Who knew pocket lint could be so destructive?

It makes sense that over the course of months, bits of dust and pocked lint will inevitably enter the holes in your iPhone. That said, I never had a problem with the earphone jacks of my older iPhones. Perhaps that’s because they weren’t located on the bottom of the iPhone next to the Lightning jack.
(And in fact, the bottom of my iPhone always touches the bottom of my pocket. So if there’s pocket link to be found, my iPhone will make contact…)

And as for the Lightning connector problem… I jumped from the 4S to the 6 Plus… so this is my first experience with a Lightning port.

Clean Up!
If your iPhone has been living in your pants or purse for a while, you might want to think about giving it a lint inspection.
(It’s probably a good idea to turn your iPhone off first before beginning the operation and don’t use any liquids.)

I guess the other choice is to vacuum your pockets…
(Hey… new tech gadget idea!)

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