A Pocketful Of (Smart Phone) Woes

June 7, 2019

Like most of us these days, I have a smartphone. I have had it a few years now, and it has served me well.

Or it did until people starting complaining they couldn’t hear me very well.

I usually use it to make phone calls when in the car – on hands-free, of course – or in my office. It was only in my office that I got the complaints, so I initially put it down to my location. I would curse where I was, move to another room, and that sometimes helped. The issue continued, however, and people would still not hear me well in other locations too.

So I cursed the phone, assumed it must be faulty and was on the verge of replacing it for a new one. That was until I had a thought – where is the microphone situated on my phone? It turns out to be a hole on the bottom edge of the phone. And, being a hole, makes it very important.

I put my phone in my pocket when it’s either not in use, in the car cradle or when charging – A trouser pocket that carries lint, dust and whatever else happens to appear in there. In and out of my pocket the phone goes. And over time, this stuff accumulates in the holes – including the microphone.  A quick examination proves this to be right – it’s a tiny hole, but it is jam-packed full of bits. No wonder nobody could hear me well.

A careful blow out with compressed air and I could now see down the hole. And nobody has complained about not hearing me since.

That’s Not All, Folks

But that is not the end of the story. My phone has a good battery life. Well, as good as smartphones go, and it usually lasts all day. It’s also possible to charge it quickly using a system called dash charge.

I had noticed of late that it was taking it’s time to charge but, as it was still doing it with a timeframe I was happy with, I accepted this as an age issue. I realised, however, what was going on during a trip down to the Cotswolds a few weeks later.

I used my phone as a Sat Nav, so I needed to charge it on the go to ensure I had enough power to guide me to my destination. I used the cigarette lighter – do we call them that anymore? – and power lead. What I found, however, was that the cable into the phone kept coming loose with the vibration of the car and falling out. I hadn’t noticed this before now as I charge on a flat surface at home and typically don’t need to charge it in the car day-to-day. With the phone stood up vertically in a car cradle, however, it was apparent that the phone charging port was not holding the charging lead in properly.

I assume by now you have guessed the reason for the problem? Yes, dust and gunk were hiding deep at the bottom of the charging port stopping the lead plug from going all the way in. Very, very careful use of a bent paperclip and compressed air cleared out the hole and all is well again. The phone charges exceptionally quickly, and the lead stays in.

If you are therefore ever having issues like this, it may be worth looking at your phones holes and, if needed, cleaning them out. Be very careful if you do, however, as you can very easily damage those areas. If you are unsure, then it would be best to give it to some like myself who has the equipment – bent paperclip and all – and expertise to do it right.

Any questions on any of the above – or anything else – just get in touch.