Device survival 101: Essential Life Hacks for Safeguarding Your Tech

Indonesia, as is well known, is a country with a tropical climate. It's hot, humid, and rainy. Yoda Service, specializing in servicing Apple devices, has thrived in this climate. As for how the peculiarities of the local weather affect your iPhone or MacBook, professionals with microscopes and screwdrivers will tell you more.
In fact, Yoda shared with us life hacks and secrets of iPhones suitable for any climate zones. Can you bathe your iPhone in the pool and ocean? Why is installing your phone on the steering wheel for navigation not the best idea? Read on about these and other interesting nuances of your gadgets' life.
Tell me a bit about yourself, how did you come to be in the electronics repair service?
Yuriy: Hello. My name is Yuriy, and I'm the founder and owner of an Apple repair service called Yoda Service. I've been repairing electronic devices for over 10 years, starting with modular repairs in St. Petersburg. I gradually improved my skills by buying dead devices, attempting to restore them, and spending a lot of time on electronics forums gathering, analyzing, and structuring information. In those days, YouTube wasn't as developed, so I had to gather knowledge bit by bit. Some engineering solutions and repair techniques had to be invented and developed independently. In recent years, I've been working for myself in a small service in St. Petersburg.
The name Yoda Service came with me from St. Petersburg thanks to my American friends. It was difficult for them to pronounce the name Yuri, so it ended up sounding something like Yoda. Additionally, it's due to my love for Star Wars, which features a character named Master Yoda.
Why did you choose Bali, and how did it all begin?
Yuriy: In 2017, I came to Bali for vacation for the first time. Like many others, I found the local climate and friendly atmosphere very appealing. I wanted to stay longer, but I needed a source of income.
Initially, I didn't consider doing electronics repair in Bali because I was concerned about the lack of good spare parts and the difficulties in purchasing and delivering equipment to the island (even to this day, this remains a problem, although to a much lesser extent).
When my financial cushion started noticeably shrinking, I decided to return to what I do best - repairing technology. I brought with me a tiny set of tools consisting of a few screwdrivers and a soldering iron that I took with me just in case I needed to fix something for myself. I asked friends if anyone needed help with repairs, made a couple of posts on Instagram, and got my first clients.
Initially, I started with the simplest modular repairs: replacing charging cables on MacBooks, replacing batteries, screens, etc. Everything was done directly with the client, on-site. Of course, the technological process in those conditions could not be followed 100%, but one way or another, I tried to do everything as qualitatively as possible, while also explaining the principles of operation and functioning of various components of the equipment, which clients really appreciated.
After a few months, word of mouth started working. In those years, services in Bali were quite pathetic: a master sitting on a tiled floor strewn with various laptop parts, trying to open an iPhone screen with his pinky nail while smoking a cigarette. Against this backdrop, a clean room with neatly laid out tools on the table and the ability to understand the client's "pain" became decisive advantages. Nowadays, of course, the customer orientation of local services is much higher, and the services, at least their "customer" part, are quite up to par.
When the influx of clients began to exceed my physical capabilities, I decided to open a service center and hire employees. At that time, I didn't have enough funds, so I found a partner who agreed to invest in the opening and help with the paperwork. After discussing the details in December 2019, we submitted the documents to open the company. Since we needed to do everything as quickly as possible, we had to "slightly" overpay. Looking back now, I realize that the overpayment was colossal, and we could have done everything much cheaper, but those were the bumps we needed to experience ourselves, to go through it to gain experience. As a result, everything was processed really quickly, and by February, we rented an office, did some minor renovations ourselves, and officially opened in March 2020, with absolutely zero funds in our accounts. All the money we had saved up until then went towards paperwork, office rent, and renovations.
We started working as a duo, with my partner handling customer intake and equipment issuance while I did the repairs. After a couple of weeks, we decided to hire a local engineer to assist us. Conducting interviews is a pain; those who have tried to hire employees in Indonesia will understand. Half of the candidates simply don't show up, without even notifying us, and a large portion of those who do show up act in a manner like "I don't know how to repair devices, but I learn quickly. Or hire me as a security guard." With great difficulty, we finally found an employee, and the long process of improving his skills and explaining the meaning of the word "service" in all its senses began. A lot of time was spent explaining seemingly basic things: returning screws to their places, even if the device can function without them, always discussing the cost of work with the client BEFORE performing it, cleaning the device after repair, and so on. However, we slowly but surely improved the quality of our services, and to this day, we continue to do so.
In March, something that no one could have expected happened - the coronavirus, a pandemic, and lockdown. The main flow of customers drastically decreased. It's a very unpleasant feeling to invest everything you have and realize that it was all in vain. It felt like panic was looming.
However, the following months slightly changed the situation. People started working remotely. If before, for most of our clients, the MacBook was simply a media hub - for listening to music, YouTube, storing photos, etc., during the pandemic, it became a work tool, a means to earn money. Broken devices that were waiting for "better times" in closets started coming to our service. It also turned out that the number of expats permanently living on the island was still quite impressive, and the humid climate with sand and salty water didn't go on quarantine vacation but continued to "work" tirelessly, destroying electronic components. Many small local services closed down, and locals, who used to prefer servicing with "their" masters, started turning to us. We worked at minimal prices, trying to provide quality service, thus earning the trust of local residents. At that time, the opportunity to have coffee or play Xbox in an air-conditioned room while the phone was being repaired was a pleasant novelty for them. The service didn't bring us mountains of gold, but it kept us from starving. All the money we earned during that period was spent on training employees, upgrading equipment, and mastering the latest repair technologies.
Why do equipment break down so often in Bali?
Yuriy: Let's start with laptops. The main reason for laptops failing on the island is high humidity. Since cooling is one of the conditions for normal operation of any computer, i.e., air circulation inside the system, it is impossible to make a laptop dust- or waterproof. In simple terms, the laptop draws in air along with the water it contains, passes it through the board, heats it up, and blows it out. Some moisture from the air remains on the laptop's board in the form of oxides and corrosion, damaging the conductive tracks, components, soldering, and other parts.
If a laptop hasn't been serviced and cleaned of dust for a long time, it significantly worsens the situation. Dust particles stuck to the board act like a sponge and, literally absorbing water, start to destroy the board much faster, acting in a pinpoint manner. The fiberglass deteriorates, and sometimes it was necessary to cut out entire layers of the motherboard using dental drills and restore the conductive tracks.
How to minimize the risk of damage?
Yuriy: The first and most important rule is timely and regular laptop servicing at a service center. Disassembling and visually inspecting the motherboard will help detect corrosion spots in advance and prevent further damage and costly repairs. We recommend cleaning and replacing the thermal paste at least every six months in our climate conditions, even if your laptop is not overheating and is working stably. Statistics show that 85%-90% of devices, regardless of their age, already have oxides and corrosion on the motherboard.
Secondly, never take a cooled laptop from an air-conditioned room outside. A sharp temperature difference of a few degrees will lead to condensation. Sometimes you can even notice how a cold MacBook becomes moist when exiting a room with air conditioning to the outside. The same thing happens inside the MacBook, on the motherboard, but inside there is also a battery, which means an electric current. It is known from basic physics courses that electricity and water do not interact well with each other. If you need to leave a cold room, wrap the laptop in a towel or any other fabric and put it in a backpack. You need to let it gradually adjust to the ambient temperature, avoiding a sudden change and the formation of condensation.
Thirdly: dry boxes. This is a special device capable of maintaining a certain percentage of humidity in the air for storing expensive and "delicate" equipment. You can make the simplest dry box yourself by buying a plastic container at the nearest hardware store and filling it with silica gel. The silica gel will absorb moisture from the air, preventing the computer from "breathing" water. Although, to be honest, we don't use dry boxes ourselves. We consider it "excessive" care for the computer. After all, the main advantage of a laptop is its mobility, and it's not very convenient to take it out of the box every time. However, everything depends on the scenarios of using the equipment, and if you work exclusively at home and rarely take the laptop outside, but live in coastal areas or mountains with frequent fogs and rains, then a dry box will not be superfluous.
Now let's talk about iPhones. In addition to the standard damages caused by careless handling (such as a broken display, rear glass, bent casing, etc.), it's worth noting water damage. Yes, an iPhone is NOT A WATERPROOF DEVICE! No matter what advertisements and catchy slogans tell you, the truth is written in the user manual, but unfortunately, it's rarely read. Here's one of the most interesting parts of the manual (which is available on the official Apple website, and you can check it out yourself):
"Resistance to splashes, water, and dust is not a permanent characteristic and may decrease due to normal wear and tear. Damage caused by liquid exposure is not covered by the warranty."
So, if the company doesn't support the warranty in case of water damage, what waterproofing are we talking about? Moreover, if you read the words carefully, even protection from splashes is not guaranteed. The folks at Apple seem to be telling us: "We've tried to protect the iPhone from splashes and water, but we don't know how well it works, and if anything happens, it's your fault." Furthermore, the manual includes points that will help you avoid unpleasant situations:
- Don't swim or bathe with your iPhone.
- Avoid exposing your iPhone to water jets under pressure or at high speed, such as in the shower, while water skiing, wakeboarding, riding a jet ski, surfing, etc.
- Don't use your iPhone in a sauna or steam room.
- Don't intentionally submerge your iPhone in water.
- Don't use your iPhone outside of the acceptable temperature range (0-35 ºC) or in very high humidity.
- Don't drop your iPhone or subject it to other impacts.
- Don't disassemble your iPhone, including unscrewing screws.
From experience, I can say that all iPhones "drown." And if you've been lucky so far and have taken a few beautiful videos in your pool, it doesn't mean you'll continue to be lucky. We have witnessed multiple instances where a phone, purchased 1-2 months ago and never repaired before, was damaged by rain or water splashes from a waterfall, even without full immersion in water. If your display goes dark, you see lines on it, Face ID stops working, or your phone restarts every 5-15 minutes, these are the first signs that your phone is likely damaged by liquid, and you should seek service as soon as possible.
In addition to water, I would also like to highlight another common problem on the island - malfunction of the main phone camera. It usually manifests as shaking or minor vibration of the main camera. This is caused by people often using their phones as a navigator, mounting it on the handlebars of their bike. The vibrations from the engine are transmitted to the handlebars and, consequently, to the phone. Modern phones have very complex camera focusing systems, and prolonged shaking of the mechanism like this leads to its failure. We recommend purchasing a cheap, basic phone for use as a navigator. It's safer for the camera, and if it gets snatched while on the move, it won't be a big loss.
Do you only repair Apple?
Yuriy: At first, we tried to repair everything that came our way, but the sheer number of devices on Windows and Android platforms made it nearly impossible to keep a stock of parts necessary for repairing each device. Moreover, many of these devices lacked available parts altogether or had parts of very low quality. This led to long wait times for parts, a high rate of returns and defects, and, consequently, unhappy customers. Eventually, we made the decision to focus only on what we do really well. Especially since we have excellent suppliers for parts covering the entire iPhone and MacBook lineup, and we have more than enough experience and knowledge about Apple products. As a result, our success rate for repairs is now 92%-95%. By concentrating on Apple products, we are able to provide truly high-quality service.
Should I take my phone to local services?
Yuriy: If we're talking about modular repairs (simple replacements of cables, buttons, batteries, screens), then generally, yes, it's possible for local technicians to handle it. If you need an urgent repair and the nearest service center is far away, but the closest one is clean, has the necessary part in stock, and the price is acceptable, then local technicians can manage simple repairs quite well.
However, when it comes to motherboard repairs, water damage restoration, face ID repairs, or working with programmers, they're not quite up to the task yet. While there are individual cases of good engineers, generally they don't delve deep into the issues, preferring to use simple technical solutions from YouTube. Unfortunately, your device becomes a "guinea pig" in this scenario, as they experiment with new techniques, and often, after such "attempts," the complex board ends up with us, accompanied by the phrase "mazerbord ded, sorry ya." And at that point, there's nothing left to repair.
There's also a practice of sending client devices to multiple service centers. The technician tries to fix it, fails, then the device gets sent to the next service center where they "definitely can fix it." Sometimes, the device goes through 3-4 services, and the client doesn't even know where their laptop or phone is at any given moment. Of course, they can't retrieve it themselves either, as the chain of custody is too convoluted. In the best-case scenario, local services send the device straight to us without attempting repairs first. Then, after we repair it, they add their commission to the price, and the client gets their device back, having overpaid the service for their intermediary role. For understandable reasons, we can't disclose the names of these services, but many large local workshops work with us through a partnership program, sending us complex repair cases.
How is your service different from others?
Yuriy: First and foremost, it's our engineers. We've invested a lot of time, money, and effort to bring the best guys here with vast experience and specialized education.
One of my employees is the administrator of the largest engineering online community. We actively participate in the development of new repair technologies, and several engineering solutions currently used worldwide for MacBook repairs were invented right here at Yoda Service in Bali.
We don't let our local employees relax either; they undergo various training and practices to improve their skills constantly.
Secondly, it's the equipment. At the moment, we are the most high-tech service on the island. We have a laser engraver, oscilloscopes, programmers, state-of-the-art soldering stations, modern software, and the ability to work with them effectively, allowing us to perform complex repairs that are inaccessible to other services.
Thirdly, our approach. We always strive to be as honest and transparent as possible in conveying information to the client, providing detailed data on diagnostic results and repair photos. The service is equipped with a large number of cameras, and any visitor can thoroughly examine the process of repairing their device if necessary. Additionally, we always perform device diagnostics for free, even if the client subsequently declines the repair.
In what cases is it better to contact the official services of the manufacturer?
Yuriy: It's important to understand that authorized service centers NEVER repair motherboards; they only handle modular repairs, where only a screwdriver is needed, so to speak. If a part is secured with screws and can be easily replaced, they will do it. But if component-level repair, soldering, etc. is required, then all they can offer is to replace the motherboard or the entire device. Of course, in this case, the client loses all their data, and the cost of such "repair" is often simply higher than the profitability threshold.
For example, Apple considers the laptop keyboard a non-replaceable part, and if even one key breaks, the official service centers will suggest replacing the top case entirely. This means that the laptop body with the keyboard, trackpad, battery, and speakers will be replaced with a new one, even if the other components are working fine. The client will naturally have to pay for all of this.
Unfortunately, there is no official Apple service in Indonesia. There are only resellers, which are companies authorized to sell Apple products and provide warranty service. If a problem arises, the device is sent to the nearest country, which is Singapore, and the minimum device readiness period will be 1-2 months.
If your device is under warranty, you don't care about your data, and you are willing to wait, then you can confidently go to the official service centers. There's a high probability that you'll get a new device with original components. If the issue is urgent and you want to preserve your data, it's better to trust professionals from an unauthorized service center; they can repair the motherboard or save important data if it's physically possible.
Why are there negative reviews about your service?
Yuriy: I have a medical background, and I see many analogies between the repair industry and medicine. People come to us with problems, and we also need to conduct preliminary diagnostics to determine the likelihood of success of the "treatment" and its cost. Unfortunately, just like in hospitals, some patients – or electronic devices in our case – don't make it. There are many reasons for this: sometimes certain chips already have irreversible damage, and a partially functioning device dies during the diagnostic process. There are insidious water damages, which are one of the most complex cases: water seeps under many components and, by remaining there, continues to damage the chips and soldering, leading to the appearance of new symptoms that weren't present before the device was brought in.
We always strive to discuss the repair process and all possible outcomes in detail with our clients. However, people are different, and sometimes it's difficult for them to accept the fact that not everything can be fixed. In the minds of some, electronics repair is still associated with the days of "electronics kits," where there were essentially just two capacitors and three transistors. Any faulty component could be easily replaced with a new one, and the concept of "impossible to repair" simply didn't exist. Modern electronics are complex mechanisms; each chip has its own software, and simply swapping it out is no longer possible. It requires preliminary work with the code, firmware updates, and so on. And often, this is not possible at all because Apple strives to complicate things for technicians, protecting its technologies and programmatically limiting repair options.
It's impossible to explain all the nuances of repair to every client, and sometimes a person who decides that everything can be repaired may end up disappointed. Sometimes people leave negative reviews just because they had a bad day. For example, we once received a negative review because we refused to repair a microwave.
In the early stages, we received a lot of negative feedback related to our inability to communicate effectively with clients. We didn't have the resources to hire a manager, so communication was handled directly by the engineers, who, as a rule, aren't particularly eager to communicate with clients. Engineers got frustrated because they couldn't convey information to the clients, and the clients got frustrated because they didn't understand why they couldn't get what they wanted, leading to conflicts. Over time, we've worked hard to rectify these mistakes, and now the communication chain between client-manager-engineer works much better.
Overall, it's important not to focus on negative reviews, as they exist in every industry, but rather on the ratio of positive to negative reviews. If 100 people say the food in a restaurant is delicious and one person says it's not, I think the picture is clear. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but if you're choosing a service based on reviews, we would recommend relying on statistics and the percentage of successful repairs.
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