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How to fix a water damaged phone in 10 easy steps

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. In today's article, we'll show you how you can save (or try at least) a water that has just dropped in water.

First of all, 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
  • 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) 
motog ipx7
Unlike our friend the fish here, smartphones can't be dunked in water for very long periods of time. © Motorola

11 steps to saving your water damaged phone

1. Turn it off if, it isn’t already and hold it upright.

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).

ANDROIDPIT battery 4
Take out all that you can: battery, SD and SIM cards. © 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 at home if you're the clumsy type. If you don't have one at home, don't bother going out to buy one. Indeed, time is of essence, so get your phone into rice as soon as possible.

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.

Water resistant cases

Hopefully these steps have helped you rescue your phone from 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.

androidpit otterbox drybox
Otterbox cases may not be the most slick, but what they lack in delicacy, they make up in functionality. © Otterbox

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.

androidpit s7edge
Some phones like the Galaxy S7 Edge are water and dust resistant. / © AndroidPIT

Some water resistant smartphones worth mentioning

Do you have any other tips on how to save a smartphone that that could have possible water damage? Did our advice help you? Let us know in the comments.

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  • Does it have to be a ziplock bag? I don't have any big enough for my phone. I have it in a bowl with foil & a lid right now.

    • It doesn't have to be neccasirly a zip lock bag. It should be consealed properly in whatever case or bag it is.

  • About 5 hours ago I dropped my phone (Vodafone smart prime 6) in my dogs water bowl somehow. I immediately turned my phone off (holding down the power button once then shutting down.) and I grabbed a container, filled it with rice and submerged my phone into it. I then realized that there would be moisture stuck behind the back plate/cover so i removed that, though I haven't removed the SIM or microSD and the battery isn't removable. Only after reading this just now have I moved it into a plastic bag full of rice. If there is anything I have done wrong or anything else I could do please let me know as it would be very helpful. Thanks

    • Hi Lyall, I don't know if it is good to leave sim and memory card inside the phone or not. But would recommend to remove cards from your cell.
      As you said your phones battery is irremoveable how did you manage to switch off your cell?
      Read my comment with the name Vibhor Gupta, what I did?

      This thing needs a lot of patience.

  • 2hrs ago I dropped my Lenovo Vibe K4 note in a bucket of water,took it out as soon as I can. Seemed fine for first few minutes then it started to show sign as it shows while starting up but couldn't start and kept on doing so then some chinese or korean or japanese text came on screen till then I started to diassemble it so don't know if it got shutdown due to short circuit in IC or because I undid some connections it. While diassembling it I destroyed my battery but all the parts are apart now. Kept them under a warm led bulb as it is the only the that I have at 06:00AM in the morning for a little warmth for water droplets to evaporate. I am seeing forward to order a new battery and
    a strip of some silicon wire, I guess. Which was under the battery connecting motherboard to some other part which I destroyed.
    Also waiting to go out and grab some silica gel packets to keep with my mobiles parts to get out every drop of water rice will be 2nd in my list of options.
    Hope it does the trick and my smartphone works again.
    Please advice, what can be the best thing to do now?
    I am writing this from my roommates mobile and his account.
    (Mine is : yshivam.yadav7@gmail.com)
    Anyone if interested, write me up.
    And would suggest any one not to do what I did if you don't know about your phones interior.

    • Hi all, I am the same guy who commented the above comment.
      Last year my brother was also in the same situation when he dropped his phone in water. He didn't know what to do and left the cell as it was, after a month or so when he went to the service center they charged him amount that was equivalent to the phones value, stating that it has carbon in somewhere and motherboard needs to be changed(maybe they were true). But you can't believe these service centres. I had no option but to take risk and open every bits and pieces of my phone(because my battery was irremoveable). I have been to service center and they were charging me ₹1500 $22) for the battery and ₹7000 ($103)for the motherboard, I came home ordered a battery online for ₹675 ($9.9)and received it today and installed it in my phone and now it works fine.I am happy that it saved me ₹7825 ($115).

      • Hii shivam I think I am same situation I was using lenovo vibex2 and I dropped my phone in ocean water which is salty but I try to open and I think it get spark and as I was staying in island in Maldives didn't have service center facility so I waited 5 month and after 5 month of that incident I send my phone Delhi,India my friend went gafar market which is famous for mobile repair and this people said your phone can't repair again..I didn't understand why...Can u tell me that where your brother repaired it

  • my MotoG4 Plus fell in water, it took around a minute or 2 to get it out. it still worked so i used it for another 5mins and answered a call after disconnecting the call the touch stopped working, though the fingerprint sensor and the display worked perfectly the touch still didnt work. i tried shaking my phone and some water came out. the touch worked again so i switched it off. but i wanted to check again so i switched it on again and after a while the touch stopped working. my phone doesnt switch off as i require the touch to shut it down. its showing some fastboot thing on screen. i even blew in the phone & basically done everything told not to do. i do not know what to do now. please help!!!!!!

  • Kim Cox 1 month ago Link to comment

    Happy ending! My phone recovered.... eventually. Hope the details in my story (below) help!

    I had had a stressful week! I thought it would be awesome to watch anime on my phone while I soaked in the tub! Relaxing right?! Until my phone slipped into the bathtub!! NOT relaxing!

    It took a good month for my phone to completely recover but here's what I did- good and bad:

    I took the case off! Yay!, now the water got in more and there are w tiny pieces of paper that turn red when there's water damage. That's okay, I got the warranty that covered everything!

    WRONG! I was confused by what the salespeople told me when I bought the phone and somehow it wasnt covered.

    SO, when it happened, I removed sd cards and battery- good. I put it in rice- good. Kept pressing buttons- bad. My dad put it halfway in the oven on lowest temp- bad. We used a hair dryer- bad. I put it in rice- again- good. Also, I prayed.

    Okay so a quick note:: Yes a phone is trivial thing to pray about. But I was so broke. God is cool- He always understands what I'm going through. He helped me calm down about it and stop worrying as much.

    Signs of life: First few days, when I'd turn it on, it shut itself off to a blue screen. Next few days, it turned on for very short periods, but touchscreen didnt work. The only way I could turn it on, was to reinsert the battery several times in a row- I literally had to do this dozens of times a day. It shut off in the middle of whatever I was doing. Then, it only shut itself off when I wasnt using it for a few minutes. After a couple weeks, I still had to reinsert the battery a few times a day to turn it on after it shut itself off, but it was working for several hours at a time.

    After a month- it was all better!! I hope your phone gets better too!

  • I dropped my Galaxy S4 in a bath tub full of water. I dried it with a towel immediately and it worked normally. After a few seconds the screen just went black. I took out the battery then put it back in and then I tried switching it on but I had no luck. I then put it in some rice.
    It's the second time it falls into some water. Will that affect it?

  • I accidentally dropped my phone in the water but i took it out of the water as quickly as possible just like the article above said. after the accident i dryed it by my shirt and dry almost all visible spots .But the only mistake i made was that i turned it on right after taking it out of the water. actually it didnt turned on, but a few minutes later i took the battery off my android and tried inserting it again and it turned on. but it wont swipe or touch to shutdown. second time i took out the battery again and it turned on .. and this time i can now swipe it and touch it .. it was a relief so i turned it on sleep again like nothing happen. but when i checked it out again for a few minutes ... it was looping in its booting logo again and again. i took out the battery again and buried it in an uncooked rice for about 3hrs but it still looping idk if theres a possible way to fix it pls help me.

    • Kim Cox 1 month ago Link to comment

      Mine did the same wierd things. It took a few weeks for it to get totally better. I suggest putting it in rice. Keep turning it on and try to use it, it will hopefully get better and better. My phone wasnt usable at all for the first week. Only a little better the second week, then got a lot better until normal. I hope yours does too!!!

    • It needs more time than 3hrs to dry. Maybe around a week or so, I guess.
      Read my experience (above).

  • I used Stellar Phoenix Picture Recovery

  • I recovered back 80% of photos through using a tool but my search is still on and hopefully I find something better than that!

  • :)

  • :)

  • Never used with a phone, but the rice thing really worked to rescue an MP3 player that drowned in a downpour while on a run. It took several days in the rice, and I'd already ordered a replacement after the first couple of days. One other suggestion when the phone is dry but seems bricked - a "hard reset" works on various models. I used it three times after dropping my old LG phone on hard surfaces so it wouldn't restart. Instructions for models that support hard reset may be in the user manual or at the hard-reset[dot]com website.

  • 1 or 2 years ago when i still had my S3 Mini i dropped it in a glass of water (was playing some game on top of the glass and it slipped, yes sounds awesome xd) and then it started pressing buttons and such things on its own. i switched it off and it couldn't turn on again (i almost had a heart attack xdd). Then i held it in front of the heater for half an hour (my band was burning). Then i turned it on immediately and it showed that battery was at 60 or 70 degrees Celsius. i left it on the bed whole afternoon to cool off and when i took it from there in the evening the spot was hot like a meteorite had fallen down there. Since then i kept it away from water :D
    But few months ago my S5 (current phone) was hot cuz i played some game long time so i washed it in the sink with cold water to cool it off. Until then i had done this before a lot and it was fine. Well not this time, screen started pressing itself randomly, capacitive buttons were pressed randomly by themselves and i had to spend 50 bucks to replace the screen sensors under the display. Now none of my phones are going anywhere near any water, even if they make them better water survivors than submarines. xD

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