For the last few years, I've become obsessed with the community of independent electronics repair pros. From spending a bit of time with many of them, I've quickly learned that they don't treat phones like you or I do—I've seen them toss their phones in glasses of water just to prove they can fix them, for instance.
What I like most about them, though, is that indie repair folks have seen it all, and so they don't flinch when you tell them your dog ate your phone. As part of our iPhone week, I finally had an excuse to ask them: What's the most absurd broken phone you've fixed?
Erica Douglass, 1Uprepairs—Austin, Texas
It was run over by a motorcycle! We've also fixed many that were run over by cars and one that was dropped off an 8-story parking structure and found on the ground in pieces.
Justin Drake Caroll, FruitFixed—Richmond, Virginia
Best story hands down was an incident we call "The Lube Phone." Guy comes in and his phone looks like it got dunked in KY. He and his boyfriend fell asleep and knocked it over onto the phone. So, it spent an entire evening getting into every crevasse of the iPhone 6. Took us hours to clean and we ultimately fixed it. It needed a new screen assembly, speakers, front and rear cameras and a couple of other small repairs that collectively created a large bill. I'll never forget ringing him up at the register and telling him the $200+ total. He replied, "Hmmm, guess it was worth it."
We had to buy dinner for the employee that volunteered for the repair.
Ryan Sadegh, Hays Phone Doctor—Hays, Kansas
The craziest repair that came through my door. The customer stated that the salesman at his carrier store told him his screen protector would be basically bulletproof. So the customer decided to "test" the durability of his tempered glass by shooting it with a .22 pellet.
And I've fixed an iPhone 5 that fell off a 300ft high wind turbine. The lcd was just hanging by the cable when it came it. The bottom part of the glass just came all the way off there.
Loren Nunley, The Cell Phone Doctor—Corinth, Mississippi
I fixed an iPhone a few years back that had been lost underwater while on a fishing trip. The gentleman had come by for a screen repair on another phone and we talked about other things we repair. Water damage being one of them. He stated the phone had been under water for over 6 months. He fished the phone out, put it in a ziplock back full of water and brought it to me. I called him a week later from the same device and all his data was intact.
Another one was a truck driver who set his iPhone 6+ on the rear wheels of his truck while filling up on fuel. Ran over his iPhone with a fully loaded truck. The phone came into the shop obliterated and left a couple hours later fully functional. Replaced the LCD, digitizer, home button FPCs [display connectors], screen, battery, frame, rear camera, and front camera flex.
Another is an iPhone 6S belonging to a harbor owner that was in the cup holder of a golf cart that rolled down a boat ramp and into the lake. He hired a diver to dive down and get his phone. (We had fixed the same phone two weeks prior for water damage). He brought it in after it was still in the cup holder for the three days it was at the bottom of the lake. We again fixed his phone for him. To my knowledge, the golf cart is still at the bottom of the lake.
Pedro Ferrer, TechRx Smartphone and Tablet Repair—Dublin, Georgia
A pilot had placed his iPad on the wing of his plane while he did his preflight walk around. He finished and took off and he didn't realize until he saw something fall off his plane from the corner of his eye. He said at first he thought a piece of his wing broke off, then realized that it was his iPad. He was still close to the airport and was able to radio someone to retrieve it for him. The iPad was bent like a taco but the motherboard was intact. He was very concerned about his data that wasn't backed up. We were able to transfer the mobo to another housing and get him squared away.
A guy taped his phone to the ceiling fan trying to cheat on Pokémon GO, it flew off and hit the wall...it doesn't work anyway since it uses the GPS. I've also had several phones fall out of helicopters, they usually aren't that bad though.
Maaz Kamani, Ask Computers—Toronto
A few years ago. Had customer drop their phone 6 stories down an elevator.
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