How VoiceOver saved an iPhone

The iPhone 3GS is more robust than one might think, its body is made from plastic, after all. My wife and I recently realised this when her iPhone 3 GS survived a truly painful incident.

A few years ago, when I got an iPhone 4S with a bill plan, my wife took my iPhone 3 GS and has been very happy with this phone ever since. We use it nearly every night to listen to audio books before going to sleep; my wife says that the 3GS with its plastic body has a better, fuller sound than my current 5S, and I agree with her on this. She likes this phone a lot, and it is needless to say that she was gutted two weeks ago, when her iPhone fell out of her pocket as we were walking on a gravel footpath in the countryside. Unfortunately, the story didn’t end here…
When my wife noticed that the phone was missing, we walked back to look for it. A few minutes later, we met a car coming in our direction. The car stopped, the driver opened the window and asked if we had lost an iphone. He then handed her the phone. “Sorry, I only noticed it after I had driven over it.” With these words he drove away.
the screen was dark, the glass was shattered. She got very sad, and I, too, had the image in my mind of my wife having to throw her phone away. As I put the phone into my pocket I touched the screen and…VoiceOver said the time and “Unlock button”. Wow! What a surprise! I carefully moved my finger on the screen and it still seemed responsive. Later that day, I was able to get the number from a missed call, so she could return the call on my phone…while I was pulling tiny splinters of glass out of my finger. “Sometimes being blind can be quite an advantage!”, I thought.
My brother-in-law ordered a replacement screen which came with a tool kit and, as it turned out, with the entire top of the phone including frame, screen and Home button. He is very good at hardware stuff and was able to fix his sister’s 3GS. Thanks, Joe!
(The old Home button had got a bit lazy with age, and this, too, is fixed and as responsive as a new one. Nice side effect.)

My wife is not visually impaired and doesn’t need VoiceOver; however, we left VoiceOver set to triple click on the Home button, so I can, for example, reply to a text message or set the SatNav while my wife is driving.
Now VoiceOver saved her iPhone. Without VoiceOver the phone would have been a case for the trash as we wouldn’t have known that the phone is still working. This in itself is quite remarkable. It felt a bit as if the phone was saying to us: “I’m still alive! Don’t give up on me!

If I have learned one lesson from this, it is: “Never give up, even if you feel as if a car just drove over you!”

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