When you drop your phone in water it is an easy way to ruin your day. There is undeniably a flood of panic when you remember your phone was in your pocket mid-cannonball or when your phone slips out of your hand while scrolling social media in the bathroom.
However, your phone going for a swim may not be the end of the world. Many newer smartphones are water-resistant, and even if you have an older model, there are several methods you can try that might save your phone from permanent water damage.
Here’s what to do when you drop your phone in water.
Can a Water Damaged Phone Be Repaired?
When water seeps into a phone, it can cause significant damage to a phone’s hardware and circuitry. Sometimes, the severity of this damage is irreversible. However, if you act quickly, there are a few things you can try to save your phone. Immediately after you drop your phone in water:
- Remove the device from the water as quickly as possible (yes, even if you dropped the phone in the toilet).
- Remove the battery immediately – this is a crucial step in possibly saving your phone.
- Next, remove the sim card, memory care, or anything else that’s plugged into the phone.
Wait 24 hours before turning your phone back on. Attempting to turn your phone back on too soon may prevent you from restoring it.
- Push buttons. This will push water deeper into the phone.
- Use a hairdryer. This will also force water into the phone, and the heat could cause further damage.
- Shake your phone. Keeping your phone still will prevent the water from spreading further inside the device. Don’t move your phone any more than you have to.
Does Putting Your Phone in Rice Really Work?
Putting your phone in rice is one of the most popular ways to dry out a phone that’s been dropped in water because it’s cheap, easy, and doesn’t require a phone repair specialist. While it’s not a guaranteed fix, this method maybe your best option in a pinch. To maximize absorbency:
- Make sure your phone is completely dry on the outside.
- Turn your phone off and disassemble it as much as possible.
- Fill a container with uncooked rice until it completely surrounds the phone on all sides.
- Use a container with a lid, if possible.
- Encourage the evaporation process by placing the filled container under a light.
- Allow your phone to sit in rice for as long as you can. Ideally, 24 hours.
However, there are some downsides to this method:
- You may end up with mushy rice in your phone’s ports and creases.
- Some experts say the starch in rice can cause further damage if rice gets inside your phone.
Is It Too Late to Put My Phone in Rice?
There’s no exact science for timing and effectiveness when it comes to putting your phone in rice. If you’re attempting the rice method after your phone dropped in water, you should do it as soon as possible.
What Can I Use Instead of Rice to Dry Out My Phone?
The smartest option to dry out your phone is synthetic desiccants – like silica gel – as they are far less messy than rice and work more quickly and efficiently. So, hang on to those packets at the bottom of your shoe boxes, new bags, and other packaging!
To be extra prepared, you can purchase a cell phone water damage kit that includes synthetic desiccants.
Some Other Options You Can Try When you Drop Your Phone in Water:
- A vacuum cleaner. There is some evidence that this method works. If you try this, it is important to avoid holding the vacuum cleaner too close to your phone.
- Clean your phone with rubbing alcohol. This may work if your phone was not exposed to water for very long or if it only came in contact with a small amount of water.
- Dry gently with an absorbent cloth. This can also be effective for small quantities of liquid.
- If your phone still doesn’t turn on after trying all of the above remedies, you’ll have to send it to your manufacturer for repairs.
Water can be extremely damaging for a phone’s electronic mechanisms and may cause irreversible damage even days after the phone was submerged. There are several ways you can attempt to save your phone from long term water damage, but you must act quickly. And remember to back up your phone regularly, to be able to restore your data.