So, now that you’ve gotten your new iPhone all set up and have even learned how to create custom ringtones for it, how about protecting it from accidental damage and keeping it in tip-top shape for as long as possible? If you paid full price for your iPhone or used a precious upgrade with your carrier to get it, you probably want to make sure that nothing bad happens to it since replacing it could easily cost a lot of money and repairing it is not always cheap or easy either. Read on for some tips and links to help you keep your iPhone safe and sound.


Screen protection

As we mentioned in our Getting Started with iPhone article, the screen of the iPhone 3GS has an oleophobic coating that makes it fingerprint resistant. There have been reports that this coating can wear off with frequent use and the screen still isn’t scratch proof and could sustain damage if it comes into contact with a sharp object, so a screen protector may be something you want to get for it.

There are several different types of screen protectors out there and it may require a little bit of trial and error to get the right one for you. If you want the clearest view of your iPhone’s screen that most closely duplicates a naked screen, opt for a clear screen protector, such as the Power Support Crystal Film Set sold in Apple stores. One downside with these screen protectors is that they’ll show fingerprints since they lack the oleophobic coating of the screen itself.

Another option is an anti-glare screen protector, which largely eliminates fingerprints and glare but decreases the clarity of your iPhone’s screen a little bit. Yet another option is a privacy screen protector that limits the viewing angle so that someone next to you cannot read your iPhone’s screen – not a bad idea if you are frequently in crowded areas and don’t want anyone looking over your shoulder as you read your email, look through personal photos, and other activities.

(You can find all of these kinds of screen protectors in the store.)


There are moisture indicators in the headphone jack and dock connector – these indicators are white and turn red or pink when exposed to moisture. A forum member took a picture of the indicator in the headphone jack and posted it –  you can find this thread here.

Apple has posted a support article specifying the location of these indicators – which they call Liquid Submersion Indicators – with clear statements that any damage caused by liquid will not be covered under the Apple Limited Warranty or Applecare Protection plan.


While Apple calls them Liquid Submersion Indicators to imply that it takes a significant amount of moisture to trip them, we have read reports around the internet that these indicators have been tripped without the owners’ knowledge of any liquid making its way to them. We haven’t seen any formal tests about how much liquid is required to trip these indicators, but we encourage you to be mindful of them when out in the rain or in other situations where moisture could reach them.


We haven’t done an official count, but it’s safe to say that you have hundreds, if not thousands, of options if you decide you want a case for your iPhone to protect it from drops, scratches, or simply to offer a better grip over its smooth plastic exterior. From leather to silicone and waterproof to ultra-thin, you will be hard-pressed to not find a case that will suit your tastes.


When choosing a case, be conscious of how you use your iPhone and what you want access to the most to find the one that will work the best for you. Do you carry your iPhone in a bag or pocket most often? Are there other objects in your pocket or bag that could scratch your iPhone while it’s there that may require a case that protects the screen as well? Or, are you most concerned with immediate access to your iPhone’s screen but just want some basic drop protection? Do you work in an industrial environment where impact resistance is absolutely key? Thinking through the locales in which you find yourself most often will help you narrow down your choices.

A good place to start shopping for a case is in’s own store.

Operating Conditions

Apple lists the following on the iPhone specifications page:

  • Operating temperature: 32° to 95° F (0° to 35° C)
  • Nonoperating temperature: -4° to 113° F (-20° to 45° C)
  • Relative humidity: 5% to 95% noncondensing
  • Maximum operating altitude: 10,000 feet (3000 m)

Consider these limitations if you expect to use your iPhone in extreme conditions. One easy condition to overlook is your own car on a hot summer day. The temperature inside your car sitting outside on a hot summer day can easily exceed 113º F and leaving your iPhone there could possibly damage it.

That’s it on caring for your iPhone. Later this week we’ll cover tracking your voice, messaging, and data usage on your iPhone to minimize any surprises in your monthly bill.