So you’ve gone and done it, you’ve dropped your smartphone into the toilet or sink or pool or whichever body of water you are near to. After a moment of panic accompanied by some very bad words, you need to try and save your mobile device from becoming water damaged. Here are the steps you should take to fix a phone that's been dropped in water.
Before you do anything else, remove the phone as quickly as possible from the water! The longer it stays there, the more water or liquid will trickle through the cracks and openings of your phone. After this point, there are certain things that you should definitely do and other things you should avoid when you've plucked it out.
What NOT to do
- Do not turn it on if it was off or use it in any way.
- Do not press on any buttons or keys.
- Do not shake, tap or bang the phone.
- Do not take the phone apart, this could void your warranty. Your device comes with a Liquid Damage Indicator (LDI) which when activated could void your warranty, this could be triggered when you open your phone. If you absolutely need to take it apart, do this only if you have experience.
- Do not try to blow on it. This could send water into other internal parts of the phone which haven't been reached yet, causing more damage in the process.
- Do not apply heat of any kind, including a blow dryer or microwaving it. Also, don’t do the opposite and stick it in the freezer.
11 steps to save your phone
1. Turn it off if it isn’t already and keep it in an upright position.
2. Remove the protective casing if you have one around it and take out the microSD and SIM cards from their slots.
3. Open up the back and remove the battery if you are able to. This won't be possible with certain models that have a battery that isn’t removable, like the HTC One (M8).
4. Take a cloth or paper towel to delicately dab it dry. You want to avoid spreading the liquid around as it could go to into the phone's openings.
5. If the water damage is more extensive, you can use a vacuum to carefully suck out water stuck within the cracks that are harder to get at.
6. Bury it in a ziplock bag full of uncooked rice. This may seem odd to you, but rice is great at absorbing liquid and is actually a common practice for drying smartphones and tablets. I've tried it before and it works.
7. If you have a phone drying pouch, use it! If you know your rather clumsy, you might want to think of preemptively buying one. They are sold in most electronic or department stores.
8. Use another phone in the meantime and let it dry for a day or two. If you have a SIM card, you might want to use an old phone that lying around or as a friend or family if they have one available.
9. After one or two days, you can insert the battery and turn on. At this point you want to see if everything is working as it should be. Try playing some music to check the speakers and test out touch screen responsiveness.
10. If your phone doesn't want to turn on at all, try charging the phone to see if this will work. If not, the battery may still be damaged. You might need to replace it or let it dry for longer. In worse case scenarios, your phone might be damaged beyond repair. You can try bringing your smartphone to a repair shop to be checked by a professional.
11. If your phone has turned on and it is running as it should, you still want to keep a close eye on it for the next few days to see if you notice anything out of the ordinary.
In the future, avoid taking the phone with you to the pool, bathroom, while doing dishes etc.
Water resistant phones and cases
Hopefully these steps have helped your rescue your phone from an untimely drowning. You can also purchase a waterproof case, some good brands are Otterbox, Griffin Survivor and Catalyst.
Many phones are made watertight and dust-proof, like the Sony Xperia Z3. These can go under water up to one meter deep for 30 minutes. Other manufacturers also make water resistant phones, like Samsung with the Galaxy S5 Active and Motorola with the second generation Moto G and Moto X. Even the Nexus 6 is water resistant.
Do you have any other tips and tricks to suggest when it comes to saving a phone from water damage?