Apple has won a patent related to the detection of water damage to a device. The detector, Apple says, is strategically placed within the enclosed device so users can determine water damage from the outside.
The patent, 8,210,032, describes a method by which customer service representatives can quickly determine if a product has been damaged by water. In order for the invention to work, Apple says that a detector would be placed inside an enclosed device and provide “at least one visual indication after being immersed in water.”
Apple originally filed for the patent in January 2010. The company has been including the Liquid Contact Indicator in its devices for years, including the original iPhone. Upon being immersed in water, the indicator turns red, giving Apple employees conclusive evidence that it was wet.
The company’s warranties do not cover water damage. If customers came in with a “faulty” device that in reality had been dropped in the toilet. Apple might have to replace the device if they couldn’t prove it was water damaged.
“Water exposure is among major reasons that may cause significant malfunction of devices, such as electronic devices, which include electronic, mechanical, or chemical components,” Apple writes in its patent. “Therefore, verification of significant water exposure (or water immersion) is important to manufacturers of the devices. For example, for purposes such as warranty claim assessment, trouble-shooting for repairs, and product development, a manufacturer of electronic devices typically needs to verify whether a malfunctioning device has been immersed in water.”