November 9, 2016
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Wet phone? These tips might save it.

How do you save a phone that has been submerged in water?

It’s a surprisingly common experience: you knocked a glass of water over your phone or you dropped it in a toilet/pool/beach/ocean/a bowl of soup/a flooded gutter, and now your phone is dead. It happens. A lot. People generally assume that a phone’s a goner if it’s already under good old H2O, but if you’re quick with your wits, you can still save it. 

So don’t panic. Stay calm, be quick, and follow these tips. Leaving your phone wet any longer corrodes its internal parts, causing more damage.  

1. Remove the battery.

remove-battery

Your first reaction might be to start it up to check if it still works. DON’T. Seriously. This might short circuit your phone and damage it even further. Removing its battery should be your first course of action. SIM cards and SD cards should come next (dry them, too). Dry your phone with a towel or any absorbent fabric. 

2. If it fell in saltwater, flush it with fresh water.

flush-with-fresh-water

We know, we know. This is the opposite of keeping your phone dry after getting it wet. But if it ever fell into the sea, which is saltwater, you need to wash it with freshwater. Do you remember what’s left after saltwater evaporates? Salt. You don’t want salt crystals inside your phone, that will only make the damage worse. Just please remove the battery, SIM card(s), and SD card before you wash it.

3. Put it in a container/bag of uncooked rice.

air-compression

It’s a classic solution. We know it’s not the best one BUT you can’t be too picky. Every little helps and this one helps a lot. You need something that sucks up as much water and moisture as it can and uncooked rice fits the bill as it’s water absorbent. (You have to remember that you have to use uncooked rice, please don’t make the mistake of using cooked rice, you don’t want to be the next laughingstock of the Internet.) You can submerge the phone in a bowl of rice while you look for an airtight container like a Ziploc bag or a Lock & Lock container. Once you find one, quickly transfer them to the container and seal/close them. Make sure it’s airtight, or the rice will absorb moisture from outside the container instead, making it less effective.

4. Use packets of silica gel.

silicon

Silica gel packets are desiccants – they are useful drying agents that can readily absorb water. They’re like rice, but more effective since they’re made for the purpose of drying stuff. You will often find these packets in boxes of new leather goods and other products that need to be dry in storage. (So sometimes you can find them in some boxes of chocolates and other food items.) Put your phone inside a Ziploc bag with the silica gel packets. Place one packet in the empty battery compartment, as well. Leave your phone to dry overnight.

Pro-tip:

Don’t use air compressors. Some sites mention air compressors as a solution. This isn’t effective. Using air compressors only pushes water even deeper inside the unit, that is counter to what we want to do which is to keep the insides of your device dry.

Don’t use a hair dryer because, as we all know, it blows hot air and the heat can only damage your phone even further. The most important thing is to not use heat. Do not leave your phone to dry out in the sun for a long time and you must not certainly put your phone in a microwave oven. That’s foolish, irresponsible, and dangerous. You’ll only end up with an assuredly broken phone, a broken microwave oven, and maybe a burnt kitchen (or house, if it’s that bad).

***

While most of today’s smartphones are designed to be water-resistant, they are not completely waterproof. That means you have to be extra careful when using your device. Prevention is better than cure so keep your phone away from large bodies of water (stop taking pictures of everything and have fun!), handle them carefully where you might drop them (in bathrooms, while eating, etc., I mean come on don’t use them there!), or buy a protective casing. Your phone is your responsibility, you wouldn’t want to lose all your data and have to buy another, would you?