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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.

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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.

100 comments

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  • JulieB 3 weeks ago Link to comment

    What they don't tell you is that you'll keep getting grains of rice stuck in your charger port.

  • My phone fell on water it turns on but the touch screen doesn't work is there anyway to fix it

  • So about 10 mins ago, I spilled some milk on my phone on accident. (Samsung galaxy j7) The damage isn't so bad however, it's home, back, and window buttons randomly activate and are unresponsive sometimes. I took it all apart, battery and micro sd. I couldn't get the sim card out so i left it considering the only areas hit with milk where the bottom holes for the charger, headphones, and a random little hole. its now sitting in rice. Anything else i should do?

    • Dude I have the same phone and idk what to do I dropped in it the bath tub after I tried playing music and it's in rice right now I took the battery out but I'm not sure if it'll help what did u do also please tell me if this works cuz I rlly need to know anyway please reply if this works for u

  • My cellphone got wet from a soda spill, for days it would not recharge, because of overheating. I disassembled the phone, with the circuit board exposed, dabbed it with a wet cloth to clean it, blew into the holes of the steel protective cases housing the cpu,etc. then placed the phone in the freezer. After 5 hours, took it out of freezer, saw it was moist with wet residue from the freeze process, let it dethaw, and recharged phone. Phone works great now.

  • Tips to help with water damaged phone:

    - follow common sense and common knowledge steps


    that's how helpful this article was

  • I have dropped my Corby 2 in detergent water. Its been 30 min. How should I recover it??

  • Hi Shivan sorry I forgot to say thank you because I did save my photos!! I was very happy until I noticed i cant send or receive texts, I put it back in the rice and see what happens please if you have any more tips of what else i can do :(

  • Hi I left my phone in rice for two and half days, apps and wifi work well but I cant recieve or sent text messages, any ideas please,

  • Tj Martin 2 months ago Link to comment

    Mine was in my pocket in a hot tub for 30 minutes my S5. A few days later the screen stopped working. I turned on my oven to just a hair under 200 degrees and put my phone with the battery out and the back cover off on a piece of wood glass side up. I left it in for five minutes pulled it out it was hot but I could still grab it with my bare hands. Then I placed it in my freezer on a bag of ice for five minutes. After this one or two of my numbers to unlock the phone worked but the rest of the screen was still unresponsive. I repeated this procedure two more times for a total of three times. The last time I left my phone in the oven for almost 10 to 12 minutes. After it was cool from the ice I put the battery back in and the touch screen was fully responsive again in all ways. My theory is that heating it this way evaporated or removed all of the water inside of the phone and any on or in the display as well. It is now two days later and my phone still works great in every way just as before this happened. I never did try the rice technique or any other technique prior to this good luck. Perhaps heating it two 160 degrees or so or longer let's say for 15 to 20 minutes might be a safer approach. I wish I had several water logged phones to test this hypothesis.

  • 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!!!!!!

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