Cleaning out my Canals

iPhone, Tech

About three weeks ago my Shure iPhone earbuds stopped functioning. I could still hear music ok, no issues there, but the pause/answer call/forward/backward button suddenly became a large unusable knob on the earphone wire. I replaced the headphones with other iPhone jacks and still nothing.

I tried the #1 popular “reset earbuds solution”: insert and remove the jack swiftly 5 times and nada.

I even restored from a fresh OS download, etc. Nothing. By this point it’s a hardware issue, somewhere within the iPhone. I take it to the Genius Bar at Apple.

The counter at the Apple store is the most chaotic yet civil mess of human activity I’ve ever experienced. People wander around the counter like plankton to sunlight, yet there is no discernible line to the cashiers. While I’m getting asked if I’m in line for purchases, I’m wedged between a woman with a sick MacBook Pro and someone with a dead 16G white iPhone. And I mean wedged. I’m sideways on to the counter while the Sick MacBook lady has to stick her knees into my personal space due to the “Bar” not having space for human legs. Apple design sometimes isn’t human. Thankfully the customer service is excellent.

After explaining the above to the Genius, she instantly takes out her trusted paper clip and gets to work. All Apple employees have one on their lanyards. Have a looky see next time you go in. The lowly unbent paper clip is the universal screwdriver, CTRL-ALT-DEL and a spoonful of sugar to Apple techs. Is there nothing it can’t do to an Apple product?

I digress. She takes the paperclip to the earphone socket like Julia Childs whisking a bowl of eggs. As she does, I’m eerily reminded of times when my father would painfully dig into my ears with his perfectly manicured nails and haul out gobs of wax just to show me the importance of good ear hygiene.

And then I think: “gunk”.

Holy shit there’s gunk in my headphones socket and these two people on either side of me are going to know I put my iPhone in inappropriate places…

“Does Apple cover …gunk?” I offer.

“Oh sure. You’d be amazed at what we have to clean out sometimes.”

“I bet keyboards are the worst,” offers the woman with the MacBook. The Genius helping her smiles without looking up. His non-look alludes to unspoken horrors. He’s seen things that would make Chuck Norris cry like a baby.

I get my iPhone handed back to me in perfect working order.

“So, a paperclip? And lots of digging? What about using an air can?”

“Don’t use those compressed air cans in the earphones canal. You can void the warranty because they generate water when they blow.”

Lesson learned.

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