Can iPhone be damaged from Lightning Storm?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by andrewsjra, Aug 14, 2015.

  1. andrewsjra macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2013
    #1
    Just last week we had a bad lightning storm which we're not accustomed to in California. All my major electronics including my iPhone were plugged into surge protectors however I didn't think much of it when the storm was happening. I decided to charge my my iPhone and went downstairs. During this time, we experienced what appeared to be 3 power blips where the power went out for less than a second. After reading up on lightning storms I believe these were lightning surges that may have struck power lines in the power grid of our neighborhood. Does anyone know if these surges would have damaged my iPhone or any other electronics? I own a new home (4 years old) and all the lines running to the house are underground. Not sure if that makes any difference. All electronics appear fine including my iPhone but I've heard they could still be damaged and working. Does anyone know? Sorry if this isn't the correct group to post this.
     
  2. bobr1952 macrumors 68020

    bobr1952

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    Location:
    Melbourne, FL
    #2
    You were plugged into a surge protector so that would normally cover any normal power surges. Believe me, if your outside power cable is struck by lighting, you will know it and that would most likely fry your iPhone as well as anything else in the way of the strike. You can usually tell a direct hit when the lightning bolt and sound are simultaneous--Florida is the lighting capital of the US. ;)
     
  3. andrewsjra thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2013
    #3
    Yeah the surges felt minor like a normal power blip. If I was asleep I wouldn't have noticed it went out. Just curious in case we have another crazy storm what I should do. I read that it's best to unplug all sensitive electronics. I'm 36 years old and have never experienced anything like this. Maybe a once in my lifetime experience.
     
  4. bobr1952 macrumors 68020

    bobr1952

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    Location:
    Melbourne, FL
    #4
    Safest is certainly to unplug sensitive electronics during a lightning storm. Somewhat impractical in Florida but certainly something you can do in CA. My house was struck once since I've lived here but struck the telephone cable not electric cable so fried my phones and alarm system.
     
  5. andrewsjra thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2013
    #5
    Thanks for the all the info. I'll definitely keep it in mind if this happens again.
     
  6. zorinlynx macrumors 601

    zorinlynx

    Joined:
    May 31, 2007
    Location:
    Florida, USA
    #6
    It's always fun when the power goes out during a storm and my AT&T reception goes down from 5 bars to 1 because the local tower doesn't have a UPS.

    I've already tried calling AT&T about it but they have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about. It's been this way for a year now. It's a bit distressing that one might be left without any communication when the power goes out.
     
  7. Newtons Apple Suspended

    Newtons Apple

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2014
    Location:
    Jacksonville, Florida
    #7
    Come see us in Florida and lightning can happen multiple times a day. If you phone is working it will be fine. I have had my house hit by lightning and it knocked out all the TVs, surround sound system and hard wired security alarm system. It was a direct hit and the surge protectors did no good for the TV so they are all on UPS power back-up so it will not happen again. Lightning when directed close enough will ruin most anything in it's path.

    Sounds like all else in your house is fine so you likely just suffered an interruption in power and not a surge.
     
  8. andrewsjra thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2013
    #8
    Thx everyone. I love this forum. Not like Apple forum where nobody replies to me.
     
  9. Newtons Apple Suspended

    Newtons Apple

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2014
    Location:
    Jacksonville, Florida
    #9
    I hear you have a weather pattern that will bring you much rain soon. Hope it is not too much but you people need the rain for sure.

    Have a great weekend!
     
  10. westom macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2009
    #10
    Potentially destructive surges can occur maybe once every seven years. A number that can vary significantly even in the same town.

    Nothing inside the house claims to protect from destructive type of surges. Those protect strips only claim to protect from surges tyically made irrelevant by what is already inside the charger for that iPhone ... and all other appliances.

    Protection means that surge does not enter the house. Does not matter if utility lines ore underground or overhead. If the surge is not connected to earth BEFORE entering, then it will go hunting for earth ground destructively via anything inside a building.

    What is damaged? That surge is incoming to everything. Damage occurs on the fewer items that also make an outgoing connection.

    Disconnecting is consider ineffective since most surges occur long before you might disconnect. Meanwhile, if the phone is a risk, then so is a dishwasher, microwave, dimmer switches, LED bulbs, clocks, and everything else. Informed homeowners upgrade earthing to meet and exceed code requirements. And properly earth what actually causes hundreds of thousands of joules to harmlessly dissipate outside - 'whole house' protection.

    Any protector that degrades or must be replaced after a direct lightning strike is typically undersized and often costs tens of times more money compared to the well proven 'whole house' solution.
     
  11. andrewsjra thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2013
    #11
    Definitely wasn't a direct strike but possibly to the local power lines. Our tv and satellite receiver reset each time this happened. Other than that nothing missed a beat. I'm just very anal when it comes to my electronics. I definitely know now it's best to unplug all my valuable electronics.
     
  12. cynics macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2012
    #12
    I used to experience that weekly, you are fine. You'll know when you have lightning damage pretty quick.
     
  13. thedeske macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2013
    #13
    Yep - My client in S Florida is an expert at unplugging. She's right on the coast and they don't make a surge protector that big ;)
     
  14. Newtons Apple Suspended

    Newtons Apple

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2014
    Location:
    Jacksonville, Florida
    #14
    Unplugging is good but does not help if you are not home. People havE had things like their washer/dryer blown out if the Lightning is strong enough. I use a UPS on all my TV and home Theater systems but if you get a direct hit, it will still do damage.

    Life goes on and you can not be freaked out about this if you live in Florida. It is just a fact of life.
     
  15. Gav2k macrumors G3

    Gav2k

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    #15
    We've had a few big hits at work recently and it's always led drivers and power packs that fail not the device plugged into them.
     
  16. westom macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2009
    #16
    A strike to power lines far down the street is a direct strike incoming to every household appliance - including air conditioner, dishwasher, clocks, furnace, GFCIs (in kitchen and bath), all recharging devices, and even (this most needs protection during a surge) smoke detectors. How does anyone unplug them?

    Proven solution is located where all utility wires enter AND within feet of the single point earth ground. This completely different device (also called a surge protector) is necessary to even protect the near zero protector devices inside power strips or a UPS.

    All appliances contain robust protection. The other type of surge (ie due to a direct strike to wires far down the street) typically occurs once every seven years. That is the reason why all facilities that cannot have damage use a 'whole house' solution; do not waste money on miracle plug-in boxes.
     
  17. bobr1952 macrumors 68020

    bobr1952

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    Location:
    Melbourne, FL
    #17
    A popular option here in Florida--also called a whole house surge protector which is located at the meter box (at least I think that is what you are referring to). I have one on my house along with multiple outlet surge protectors inside.
     
  18. Ray Brady macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2011
    #18
    Of course, power lines aren't the only way into your house. We had a lightning strike a few years ago that got into the house via our phone lines. Anything that was plugged into a landline phone wire was fried, including our cable router and the Time Capsule that was plugged into that router.
     
  19. bobr1952 macrumors 68020

    bobr1952

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    Location:
    Melbourne, FL
    #19
    That's what got me in 2005--took out my phones, alarm system and a couple outlets in the garage.
     
  20. westom macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2009
    #20
    Assumed: damage was on the incoming path. A direct lightning strike far down the street is incoming to everything. Is everything damaged? Of course not. To have damage, electricity also must have an outgoing path to earth. Incoming on AC mains. Outgoing to earth via devices connected to a properly earthed protector, installed for free, on all phone lines.

    Phone devices were damaged because a best (outgoing) connection to earth was via wires already earthed by a 'whole house' protector (installed for free by the telco on everyone's phone line).

    Observation often results in junk science. Many assume incoming was the phone line by ignoring that existing protector. Damage to phone appliances was probably due to no properly earthed 'whole house' protector on AC mains. Damage because phone lines had properly earthed (effective) protection. So that was the outgoing path. Damage directly traceable to an incoming path that all but invited the surge inside to go hunting destructively via things connected to that properly earthed Telco line protector.

    How to increase protection? How to make a protector better? Upgrade the earthing. A protector is only as effective as its earth ground. Power strip protectors have no earth ground, will not discuss it, and sometimes can make adjacent appliance damage easier. Only 'whole house' protectors (and only if properly installed) provide effective protection.
     

Share This Page