We have all been there. There is hardly an individual among us who has not dropped or left their phone someplace where it was ultimately exposed to water. It may have been dropped in the toilet or the sink, or it may have been run through the washing machine, but regardless of how it got wet, the phone is likely to have suffered damage that may be irreparable. And as Felipe Pimineto of Drywired so eloquently put, “Handheld electronics have become such an integral part for everyone.”
There is hope, however, but action must be taken swiftly if the phone is to be saved.
Immediately Take Action by Following These Steps
After your phone has been exposed to water damage, you should ignore your instinct to disassemble the phone in order to allow it to completely dry. This may work, but it will also void your warranty. Even if it did not impact your warranty, you would need specialty tools and a very specific knowledge in order to fix your phone. Instead, follow these simple steps to preserve your phone’s function:
- Minimize the length of exposure: This may seem obvious, but the longer that your phone is exposed, the more damage that will be incurred. Whatever liquid it has been exposed to, retrieve it immediately and take corrective action as soon as possible.
- Do not check the phone to see if it still works: Turning the phone on can result in further damage, as pressure can push the liquid deeper into the phone, and power can accelerate any reactions that may be occurring.
- Remove the battery: This will ensure that the phone’s chances of short-circuiting are reduced. If you have a non-replaceable battery (an iPhone, for example), removing the battery is not an option. Check to see if the phone is on and then quickly turn it off.
- Remove any cases or other attachments from your phone.
- Take out the SIM card and any other SD card immediately: This will allow greater ventilation through the ports and covers, as will leaving any other ports and covers open
- Dry everything off with a towel as soon as possible: When doing so, be careful not to allow any more water to drain into the phone’s openings.
- Remove excess moisture: A towel will not get all of the moisture out, so try using either rice or silica gel packets to pull the remaining moisture out of the phone. The phone should be completely covered and allowed to remain in an airtight container with the rice or silica gel packets for about 24-48 hours.
- Replace the battery and power the phone back on to see if it works.
Avoid Taking Improper Action
There is a great deal of misinformation out there regarding how to dry your phone out after it has been exposed to water. While many of these methods may seem obviously counterproductive, there are still those who have attempted these methods or continue to recommend using these methods. You should not attempt any of the following:
- Do not use a hairdryer or any other device that applies heat to your phone
- Do not put your phone in the freezer
- Do not use a toothpick wrapped in a paper towel
- Do not overcharge the handset
- Do not use the microwave to dry your phone