Quick fixes for summertime cellphone damage

Cellphones on the beach run a risk of getting too gritty and grimy from sand, sunscreen and sweat. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — Summertime fun that includes sun, sand, water and remote locations can create challenges for cellphones. But, cellphone emergencies don’t have to become permanent disasters if handled quickly and correctly.

Some common scenarios and expert advice from Consumer Reports’ Shop Smart Magazine and others include:

  • Too hot. Overheated cellphones will turn off or will shut down automatically. Once returned to a safe temperature, they should be fine. In hot temperature situations About.com recommends removing protective cases and turning off features and apps that can generate heat by making phones work harder. In general, tech toys work safely between 50 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Too wet. If your cellphone gets wet, dismantle phone parts as much as possible. Rinse salt water-exposed areas with fresh water. Cover parts with dry uncooked rice in a sealed jar for about a week, according to Consumer Reports. Android recommends at least 24 hours of rice time. Good luck, it might not work. Water voids phone warranties.
  • Too gritty. If you get sand in your phone, remove it from crevices and ports using canned compressed air, a shaving brush or soft tooth brush. Prevent sand, water, sunscreen goop and other related issues by sealing phones in a zip lock sandwich bag.
  • Totally dead. A dead battery when you’re on-the-go can be remedied by external battery pack. The battery packs come in many price ranges and power supply levels. The $39.95 JackeryBar reviewed by Mashable is said to be small, powerful and compatible with numbers of devices. Consumer Reports finds the $100 Samsung Galaxy Portable Battery Pack EEB-EI1CBA will recharge a Galaxy S 4 phone in 1 hour, 40 minutes and recharge an Apple iPhone 5s in 4 hours, 20 minutes. Some phone cases include built-in back up batteries.

The easy answer to all the issues is to leave cellphones out of the vacation equation.

Staying in touch with friends, social media and work — even in vacation locations — is a must for some people though. The compulsion to stay connected is like an addiction for many college students, according to a study by the International Center for Media and the Public Agenda.

It’s an issue for some businesses, too.

“Vacations are meant to serve as the ultimate reset button, helping you drop out of the rat race and recharge so you can return to work with a renewed focus,” says CareerCast.

A sponsor of the National Day of Unplugging held March 7-8 asks people to pledge to unplug from technology regularly. The Sabbath Manifesto says a weekly timeout helps slow down lives in an increasingly hectic world.

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