As you probably know, the universal rule is that phones and water, or any liquid for that matter, don’t go together. Pretty much everyone knows this much, but the sad truth is that accidents happen. For example, a heavy rain can surprise you while you’re texting, or on a particularly hot summer day you may jump in the pool forgetting that your phone is still in your pocket. Your very own house is also full of dangers such as glasses being knocked over, bathtubs and sinks full of water or – the nightmare of all phones – the toilet bowl. As unfortunate as close encounter with water is for your phone, it doesn’t mean that the device has to pay the highest price – its life. There is a chance that you may save it, if you follow a few simple steps that increase chances to rescue water damaged phone.
Steps to rescue water damaged phone:
1. Take the phone out of the water immediately
Seeing your phone take a dive in water is horrifying but don’t take too much time to ponder what went wrong. Act fast – scoop the phone out of the water as soon as possible. Your handset is full of tiny holes and ports that let water in quickly but if you reduce the time of immersion the chances of a successful resuscitation are much higher. If the phone fell into salt water, rinse it quickly with fresh water to wash away to prevent salt crystals from forming.
2. Turn off the phone and remove the battery
The first thing you should do after retrieving the phone from the water is to lay it on paper towels, turn it off and take out the battery if possible. Many components of the phone are not damaged by water itself but simply get fried when attached to a power source when wet. Removing the battery will reduce the risk of short circuit from which your phone would be very unlikely to recover.
3. Remove SIM and memory cards
In many cases SIM and memory cards are more worth saving than the phone itself, as they store valuable information such as contacts. SIM and memory cards are pretty resistant to moisture but not waterproof. That’s why it’s important that they don’t stay wet too long, so take them out and wipe any moisture with a paper towel or soft cloth.
4. Dry off the phone
Remove any peripherals such as headphones, protective case and flaps to expose as much surface to air as you can and gently dry the device with paper towel or soft cloth. Be thorough – try to access every port and carefully wipe the inside of the phone where the battery was. For better effect, you can use rubbing alcohol which will displace the water.
5. Use vacuum cleaner
Even if the exterior of the phone seems dry, it’s very probable that there might be some moisture inside. To suck it out use a vacuum cleaner held over the affected areas for up to 20 minutes, in each accessible area.
6. Use a substance with high affinity for drawing out moisture
Using vacuum cleaner may be helpful but doesn’t guarantee that you got all the moisture out. To increase your chances of doing so, you can use a desiccant, like those tiny silica gel packs that can be found with new shoes, purses, etc. Bheestie Bags which are filled with tiny balls that are designed to absorb and retain water are even more efficient.
If you don’t have any, good old uncooked rice will do just fine. Put the rice in a container, bury the phone, battery and other components inside and leave then overnight or longer. Change the position of the phone inside the container every now and then to help gravity draw out the water.
7. Let the phone sit on absorbent towels, napkins or other paper
Take the phone out of its rice bath, put it on paper towel or other absorbent surface and let it sit there for some time. If you notice any moisture, repeat steps 5-7 until all moisture escaped and the phone doesn’t leave any wetness on the towel.
8. Take your time
Water takes time to dry so be patient. The minimum amount of time you should wait before trying to turn the phone on is 24 hours. Any sooner than that carries the risk of shorting out the phone’s circuitry and rendering the device inoperable. Being without your phone for such a long time certainly is not easy; however, the longer you wait the better chance for full recovery the phone has.
9. Test your phone
Check all the ports, compartments and crevices for any moisture. If you are certain that there isn’t any, put the battery and SIM card into the phone and turn it on paying attention to odd behavior, such as strange noise, weird smell or flickering of the screen. With any luck it will work just fine. However, if not…
10. …Ask for help
Even if you weren’t successful in bringing your phone back to life, don’t give up just yet. In some case you will need professional assistance and there is still a chance that a specialist will be able to save the device. Just remember to be honest about what happened. Hiding the fact that you dropped the phone into water won’t help anyone. The technician most likely will find out anyway only he will need much more time to do so, and in the case of water damage time is what matters most.
More and more manufacturers are making their devices water-resistant; however, until this feature becomes standard, we should do our best to keep phones away from water. Since sometimes it’s beyond our power to prevent that from happening, it’s always a good idea to know what to do when your phone accidentally goes for a swim.