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How to fix a water damaged phone in 10 easy steps

Authored by: Loie Favre — 6 months ago

So you've dropped your smartphone into the toilet, sink or pool. Don't panic! If you act fast you can prevent your smartphone from becoming water damaged without spending a penny. Here are 10 simple steps to fix a phone dropped in water.

Moto G video agua 2
The Moto G is waterproof, but if your device isn't, it is possible to fix a phone that's been dropped in water. / © ANDROIDPIT

Remove the phone from the water as quickly as possible. The longer it stays there, the more water or liquid will seep through the cracks and openings of your phone. Once it's out of the water, there are certain things you need to do right away, and certain things you should absolutely avoid doing in order to prevent water damage.

What not to do

  • Do not turn it on 
  • Do not press any buttons or keys (unless this is to immediately switch off the phone. See below)
  • Do not shake, tap or bang the phone
  • Do not take the phone apart. Your device comes with a Liquid Damage Indicator (LDI) which, when activated, could void your warranty, and this could be triggered when you open your phone. Only take it apart if you absolutely need to and you have experience
  • Do not blow on it. This could send water into other internal parts of the phone that it hadn't already reached, causing more damage in the process
  • Do not heat it up (that includes using a blow dryer or microwaving it) 
  • Do not cool it down (that includes sticking it in the freezer)

10 steps to save your water damaged phone

1. Turn it off if, it isn’t already, and do so quickly. 

2. Remove any protective casing and, if your phone has them, remove your SIM and microSD cards from their slots.

3. Open up the back and remove the battery, SIM card(s) and microSD card if you are able to (note that this won't be possible with all phone models).

phone battery
Remove the microSD and SIM cards, as well as the battery. / © ANDROIDPIT

4. Use a cloth, sleeve or paper towel to dab your phone dry. Avoid spreading the liquid around, because that could push it into more of the phone's openings. Just soak up as much as possible.

5. If the water damage is more extensive, you can use a vacuum to carefully suck out water stuck from the cracks that are harder to get at. Make sure any small parts, such as the microSD card, SIM card, or battery, are out of the way before attempting this.

6. Bury the phone in a ziplock bag full of uncooked rice. Rice is great for absorbing liquid and this is actually a common method for drying smartphones and tablets. You can also buy dedicated phone drying pouches, which are worth having in reserve if you're a clumsy type. Don't wait to get hold of one if you don't already have one to hand though – get your phone in the rice!

androidpit save a phone
You can buy phone drying pouches anywhere. This one is from a company called Save A Phone. / © Save A Phone

7. Let your phone dry for a day or two. Do not be tempted to switch it on see if it still works. Put your SIM card in an old phone, or ask a friend or family if they have a spare that you can borrow. 

8. After a couple of days, you can remove the phone from the rice back, insert the battery into the phone and switch the phone on. 

9. If your phone doesn't turn on, try charging it. If it doesn't charge, the battery may be damaged. You could try a replacement battery, or consider taking your smartphone to a repair shop to be checked by a professional.

10. If your phone has turned on and it is running as it should, you should still keep a close eye on it for the next few days, to see if you notice anything out of the ordinary. Play some music to check the speakers and ensure the touch screen still responds as it should.

In the future, avoid taking the phone with you when you go to the pool, use the bathroom or do the dishes.

motog2014underwater
Some phones, including some from Sony, Motorola and Samsung, are water resistant. / © ANDROIDPIT

Water resistant cases

Hopefully these steps have helped your rescue your phone from an untimely death by drowning. If you want to protect your phone from water in future, you can also purchase a waterproof phone case. There are some good options available from brands such as Otterbox, Griffin Survivor and Catalyst.

Water resistant phones

A number of phones are advertised as "water-resistant". Be aware that when phone manufacturers say this, it only applies under a special set of circumstances. A phone's resistance to water often depends on the clarity of the water, the depth of submersion, and the length of time for which it is submerged. We wouldn't advise submerging any smartphone in water unless it is absolutely necessary.

Water hero
The Sony Xperia Z3+ is a water-resistant phone. / © ANDROIDPIT

Do you have any other tips and tricks for saving a phone from water damage to suggest? Let us know in the comments.

Loie Favre found her way to her present passion for Android and smartphone technology after experiencing an epiphany when she held her Galaxy Note 2. From that point onwards, you can find her with her nose buried in countless Android apps and different smartphone models, and thanking her lucky stars that she gets to work at something she loves.

35 comments

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  • I am scared right now. I actually tried to press the buttons and tried to turn on my phone after drying it with a towel. I also actually tapped and shook the phone. I didn't read this beforehand so I didn't know it was wrong to do it. Right now I really hope my phone would be fine after being in a container full of uncooked rice :( Also, my Samsung phone is really hard to remove the back cover so I cannot retreat the battery and sim card out of it :(

  • ok so i took a bath with my phone (moto g 2015 model ) just scrolling through assignments and the shower head turned on so i took all the cases off and put it in a bag of rice for a hour (im not the brightest person as you can see..) then spent a hour trying to get the rice out which actually only kindia failed then i tried to charge it but it isnt charging help please ;_;


    and i need my phone for college so i really cant put it back in rice for longer then a day considering all my assignments and notes are there NO WAY i can buy a new phone or really buy anything to that matter

  • I took my phone to the pool today... It was in a waterproof case and i was swimming with it for several minutes before i noticed that water was inside the case. I tried to turn on my phone and so did my mom. After a while it started vibrating so we took out the battery. I just barely placed it in rice and I'm praying it will work. Do I have any chances? Please respond...

  • I've drowned my HTC butterfly 2 and water seeped in the screen.. The phone is okay.. Just the screen is messed up.. I've placed it in rice and left it there for a week and magically.. It looks like new

  • I dropped my phone in water and I immediately put in rice its been a few hours so I decided to check on it (before reading this) I turned it on to see if it still works did I make it worse by doing that

  • Androsurf 6 months ago Link to comment

    Good article...

  • dropped mine in a stream for at least half hour got it worked perfectly with no drying! it was a z3compact though

  • Tim 7 months ago Link to comment

    I dropped my phone in water, and left the case on and didnt know that I should've done these things, now my wifi doesn't turn on. Do I buy a new phone?

  • I bought a new Samsung note 4 few days back and unluckily dropped it in water. I immediately took out the battery and removed the sim card and dried it up. Later I vacuumed it and then put it in bag of rice for 2 days. Now when I switched it on its not working. What should I do?

  • I dropped my phone moto g second gen in the washing machine and it stopped working. I haven't done anything about it!! Help!!

    Also guys I've seen a lot of people drop Samsung and Motorola smartphones in water!!
    That's just my opinion.

  • I dropped my phone in water twice. When I did it the first time, I got it out of water almost immediately and I put it in rice for a few days. Incredibly enough, it worked! However, when I dropped it the second time, the trick didn't work and I had to get it fixed... Thanks for the helpful tips, I am getting this phone drying pouch you mention in your article!
    www.devicedr911.net/samsung-repair/

  • Good topic.

  • Diz 9 months ago Link to comment

    Couple of things, if you're going to the beach, camping, hikes in the rain etc? put your phone in a Ziploc bag, be safe and get the good ones with the double zip at the top, it'll save you lots of grief and money.

    Also those silica dry bags you get with shoes, electronics etc? save them too and put them in a bag with rice, and super dry it , I've been using mine for years and they work like a champ, just don't eat the rice afterwards.

  • Dropped my Samsung Note 2 yesterday into the water.. I tried to switchoff my phone by pressing the button,. Meanwhile screen showed like empty battery sign and it turnoff automatically. I removed the battery and placed it over my table. Next morning i put my phone into my car dashboard and i placed my car in the sun heat.. Because the temperature is high these a days and inside the car it is like almost 48-50 DigCel.

    I will try to turn on my phone at the evening,. Let's see if it works..

  • Kay Kraw 9 months ago Link to comment

    I dropped my Samsung Galaxy S3 mini (out of contract now) into a full mug of hot coffee (totally submerged). I immediately pulled it out. Dried the outside first with clean paper towel. Removed the outside holster case, the back panel of the phone, the battery and the SIM card and dried all of those carefully with paper towel. I dried the exposed phone as well. Then I let everything sit for about a half hour (finishing getting ready to go to work). Put it back together, turned it on and it booted up but kept saying "Sim card removed...Unable to read Sim card...Your device will restart" with a white bar below with "Restart" printed in it. I hit the restart prompt and it restarted. Well, again, after a few seconds gazing at the home screen the "Restart" thing kept showing up. I asked some coworkers (younger than me) what to do and they said to buy a bag of rice. A grocery store was next door so I bought a bag of rice and placed the phone with the back and battery removed (left the SIM card in this time in case it needed more drying off) and left it in the rest of the work day. When I got home, I removed it from the rice and put it back together again. Same thing happened with the restart, but it wouldn't show
    up as quick as before.
    Long story short it is now exactly two weeks later and the phone works as it used to except that the lighted "menu" and "back/return" buttons on the bottom are the only things that still do not work. So I just went under settings to "Accessibility" and scrolled down to the "Dexterity" section and clicked "ON" the Assistant menu. After you click that, a little white square box pops up with 4 smaller light gray squares inside of it. When you click on that, you'll immediately see four functions to choose from. The home and settings are permanent, you cannot move them from the basic screen but you can add 2 or more functions (there are 13 more to choose from). I really just needed the menu and back/return functions but you can add any or all of what are shown. The home function takes you back to your home screen but the settings function is for this "Edit" section of Assistant Menu" in case you ever want to change the functions you want to use here.
    To customize the small white box with your own function choices just touch the "Settings" function shown in the white box. You will then see "Dominant hand" and "Edit". When you "touch" Dominant hand, you make your choice. That takes you back to the same screen where now you would "touch" Edit - Reorder or remove menu. Now a large screen appears with 13 more functions to choose from. Press and hold on one of them until it turns light gray then move it up to the upper box. You will notice that you cannot remove the home and settings icons.
    The square white box will now be on any screen you work on. It can be annoying in that it shows up and blocks you from seeing a vital portion of your viewing screen, but all you have to do then is just touch it and move it where it will be out of your way.

    In short I was hoping my phone would eventually work, again. For me it was worth waiting two weeks because the main feature I love about this phone is the "mini" of it. I like it smaller because I clip it to my belt/waist which is very convenient for the type of work I do all day. My phone is 3 years old and the original battery lasts two days without recharging, probably because I rarely have my Mobile Data turned on. I only use the internet to check UPS orders twice a week. If I could, I'd keep this phone until I die.

  • Gary Brunt 11 months ago Link to comment

    Believe me the Nexus 6 is not waterproof. Dropped my down the toilet 2 weeks ago, had it in rice etc. Now dead as a do do!!!!

  • Grammar issues.

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