Ever dropped your cell phone in the sink, or even worse, the toilet? Did you ever leave it in your pocket and run it through the washer? It usually means you have to replace your phone, but sometimes if you’re fast, you can save the phone!
- Get it out of the water as soon as possible. The plastic covers on cell phones are fairly tight, but water can enter the phone over time. But this time may be quite short – 20 seconds or less. So grab your phone quickly!
- Remove the battery. This is one of the most important steps. Don’t take time to think about it; electricity and water do not mix. Cutting power to your phone is a crucial first step in saving it. Many circuits inside the phone will survive immersion in water provided they are not attached to a power source when wet.
- Remove your SIM card. Some or all of your valuable contacts (along with other data) could be stored on your SIM. To some people, this could be more worth saving than the phone itself. SIM cards survive water damage well, but some of the following steps are unnecessary i.e. don’t heat it. Just pat it dry and leave it aside until you need to connect your phone to your cellular network. Note that many phones by specific providers, such as Verizon, do not use SIM cards.
- Dry your phone. Obviously, you need to remove as much of the water as soon as possible, so you can save it from getting into the phone. Use a towel or paper towel to remove as much of the water as possible.
- Allow the phone to dry. Since you do not want to ruin your phone or lose all of the numbers in your phone book, you need to allow the phone to dry. Also, ringtones and graphics stay with the phone – not the SIM. Don’t try putting the battery back on to see if it works as this would risk damaging the phone with a short circuit. Put the phone into a bowl of rice to dry it.
- Wait. This is the hardest part – leaving your phone alone, with battery and SIM card out, while it dries slowly. Tricks like leaving your phone in a bowl of dry rice or silica gel (like the packets found in shoe boxes) will help to expedite moisture evaporation. They might also have side effects like getting rice in your phone. Just put it someplace reasonably warm and dry, uncovered so water can evaporate, and wait.
- Test your phone. After you have waited 10 minutes, make sure everything is clean and dry looking and re-attach the battery to the phone and see if it works. If your phone does not work, try plugging it into its charger without the battery, if this works, you need a new battery, if not, wait another few days. If it still won’t work, try taking your cell phone to an authorized dealer. Sometimes they can fix it.
Rice can dry up your phone too. To dry your phone more quickly than room temperature air can manage, immerse it in a can of dry, uncooked rice. The rice will absorb excess moisture, drying your phone from the inside out.
- Don’t heat the battery or it could leak or explode. Lithium-ion batteries are sensitive. If you use an oven or hairdryer, make sure to remove the battery first. 2. Be careful with the refrigerator method because the LCD (liquid crystal display) screen of your mobile phone is in a semi-liquid state so if it freezes the display will be damaged for good.
- If you use alcohol make sure to do so outside, and do not apply heat in any form, not even the gentle heat of a monitor. Do not hook up the battery till the alcohol smell dissipates.
- Do not apply too much heat to your phone, as mentioned above. You don’t want to melt or burn your phone.
- Most modern phones have more than one liquid damage indicator (stickers that change color when wet) on them, only one visible to you (and
sales/technician agents), and chances are, if the sticker under the battery is triggered, then the odds are that the internal stickers you can’t access are tripped as well. This will still result in you paying a voided-warranty fee in the long run. Warranties don’t cover water damage, insurance does. And not all insurance companies or plans will honor water-damaged phones.
- Even if all these steps are followed, minerals dissolved in the water can precipitate on solder and component pins, causing corrosion or shorting. Components pins are packed so closely together in a modern cell phone that even a small encrustation can create a short, rendering the phone inoperable.
- Be warned that manufacturers place stickers that will display “void” once
peeled and some will change colors in the presence of a liquid (usually turning blue or red). This helps techs know that you have dropped it in the water, as most cell phone insurance coverage policies don’t cover water damage. Also, note that these stickers have been known to change colors in extreme humidity as well.
- Do not put the phone (or any electronic or metal-containing object) into the microwave. You will destroy electronic components and potentially the
- For the semi-mechanically inclined remove screws and as a minimum crack the case open to allow moisture to escape. Cell phones are normally somewhat waterproof so they can be used in light rain and humid environments. This means that once moisture has entered the phone it is very hard for it to dry out. Getting the phone out of the water and IMMEDIATELY REMOVING THE BATTERY gives you the best chance of success.