iPhone Headphone Jack Broken Off Inside (I've been i-Jacked)
This weekend I was visiting family for my father's 85th birthday. My son and my nephew had practiced the Beatles' "Birthday" song on their guitars for months, and I was to accompany them using my DigiDrummer app on my iphone. It was to be an awesome performance. Well, during our first rehearsal, the headphone jack in my iphone decided to lose its tip and remain inside my iphone. I wasn't abusing or twisting it, I didn't bang it or bend it, I simply pulled it out like any normal person would pull a headphone jack out of the iphone. Well, for some reason, this one decided to separate and leave a "space capsule" stuck deep inside.
My first thought was.. don't panic (I listened to my first thought). I'm sure I can just stick the plug back in and the broken off piece will magically reattach itself and come out. Guess again! This is when I started to panic! Luckily, I'm a pretty handy guy, and I immediately thought of ways I could get this out. I turned the iphone upside down and gently tapped the iphone on its head, hoping to dislodge the broken piece... nope! Then I tried sucking it out (with my mouth)... nope! Then I tried a vacuum cleaner with the corner attachment tool... nope nope nope! "So... what would any other normal geek do in this case?", I thought to myself. "GO ONLINE!"
Yes, once online, I found a whole community of unlucky people who had found themselves in the same situation. Most were far more desperate, sticking a drop of super glue on a Q tip stick, then sliding it into their phones (some actually had success, some ended up gluing a Q tip in their phones). I personally would not recommend that option unless you're James "Bond". Others had paid Apple $199 to replace the phone (which is what Apple recommended YoPauly to do). Well, YoPauly thought about that option for about 3 seconds before walking out of the brightly lit white store.
I then decided to buy the smallest, thinnest set of tweezers money could buy ($8.99 at my local super market/pharmacy)... Nope, that idea didn't work either, but it did manage to scratch the inside of the jack a bit . I w ent to see a lock smith (nope), a jewler (nope)... nothing seemed to work. I tried sliding different size drinking straws and swizzle sticks in the phone, trying to slide it around the broken piece of jack... those ideas didn't work either! My last resort was to just give up and live with it. After all, I am not one to use headphones anyway... but with this little piece of jack stuck inside, the iphone assumed I was wearing headphones all the time, therefore disabling the ear piece. I was forced to use my speaker phone to make calls, which would do crazy things when my face touched the screen... "ugh!!!" Not to mention having no private phone calls again, and not being able to hear videos or music or DigiDrums through the iphone speakers.
Finally, using my 10X magnifying loupe to peer deep into the headphone jack port, I hoped to gain a better understanding of the problem. This is a really cool tool that I think every geek should own, but in this case it only made me feel that much more helpless. I decided to sleep on it and let the wheels turn a bit more before giving up. I slept on it for two nights (no, not the iphone).
Now, a few days later, and back at work, I decided to consult with a far more experienced geek in our work's electronics shop. Let's call him John. John took a quick look into the jack port and immediately headed for his work bench. There he pulled out what I thought would be a very specialized tool made to extract things from tight, deep places. Some sort of super extractor-micro-needle nose expanding pliers or something... nope. He grabbed a small drill bit ("Oh NO!", I thought). He carefully slid the drill bit into the tiny hole, put some side pressure on it and pulled it back out. "Ting!" That "ting" noise that you just heard was the tiny end of the jack hitting the floor. "There you go" he said. I couldn't believe it. A DRILL BIT?!?! "What kind of drill bit did you use?", I asked him. He walked over to a different work bench where he used his caliper to measure the diameter of the drill bit. ".500 mm", he said... "Not sure what that would be in a common drill bit size though". I thanked him and walked out in amazement, knowing that I now owed him some high quality chocolate and root beer!
In literally less than a minute, he had done what I had been struggling with for several days. And to think.. in one of my weaker moments, I even consi dered trying the super glue idea!
1. Be careful what you stick in your iphone. Check it out before you plug it in, and don't use cheap connectors.
2. Don't pay $199 to have Apple replace your perfectly good iphone.
3. Don't give up!
4. Get a second and third and fourth opinion if need be.
5. Don't stick super glue inside your headphone jack port.
6. Find someone geekier than you to help you figure it out.
7. Use a .508 mm drill bit (also known as a #76)
Last Updated (Thursday, 17 November 2011 20:33)