How to save a wet phone

Just dropped your phone in the drink? It can be saved...
How to save a wet phone

If you’ve just dropped your treasured smartphone in the drink, no doubt you're fearing the worst. Thankfully, we’re here to tell you that all hope may not be lost, and a few methods exist to help save your sodden smartphone from a watery death.

There are also a few major no-nos - things you definitely shouldn't do. But we’ll get to them later.

First of all, if your phone is certified with an IP 68 rating, this page is not for you. Your phone is already water-resistant and should be fine*. Popular phones with an IP 68 rating include the Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+, Samsung Galaxy S7/S7 edge, iPhone 7 and Sony Xperia XZ.

However, for those not so lucky to have a waterproof phone – this is for you.

My phone is wet – what do I do?

If your phone has some removable parts, like a battery or stylus, take them out. This will ease the drying process. If not, don’t attempt to prise it open or take a screwdriver to it – this will, without doubt, void the warranty. Now follow these steps.

  1. Remove your phone from the liquid as soon as possible. If it’s submerged for a lengthened amount of time, its chances of survival will lessen.

  1. If your handset has lots of physical keys – we’re looking at you BlackBerry users – try to resist the urge to press them. Applying pressure to the buttons may cause any liquid inside to move around.

  1. If your phone is wearing a case, get that off and let some air get to it. By a similar token, remove any SIM and microSD cards, and leave the ports open to invite ventilation.

  1. Gently dry off the exterior with a warm towel.

Your phone should now be looking pretty dry, and you’re probably feeling a little more confident about its chances of survival. Unfortunately, there may still be water inside. We’ve advised you not to open it already, so here's what to do next:

  1. Although rice is said to be the best at absorbing water - tests have proved otherwise. Using the likes of porridge oats, cat litter and couscous have proved more effective. All these things are desiccants, which are primarily designed to absorb liquid. Another good desiccant are those little silica gel packs you get in shoeboxes.

  1. Sink your phone into whichever desiccant you can get your hands on, and seal the container. Leave it in there for a couple of days (which might sound like torture for those with nomophobia), and you should be well on your way to a healthy smartphone once more.

  1. As a parting note, some suggested that good old fashioned open air is the best method for drying out a phone (providing it's not raining, of course).

What not to do

There are a handful of advice sites on the internet that claim to help you rescue a wet phone. But unless you're reading a reputable site (like The Lowdown, for example) – don’t trust them without verifying the advice from other sources. For example, here are a few things you shouldn’t do.

  • Use a hairdryer – this could do a variety of things. Either damage the outside of your phone with excessive heat, or maybe evaporate the water lodged inside. If that’s the case, it will probably turn into steam, then condensate, and finally be water again. And what good is that? You’ll be back to square one.

  • Stick it on charge – although this seems to make sense in an effort to gently warm the phone from the inside, thus repelling the water, plugging something wet into the wall spells trouble. It could short-circuit your phone, or worse give you a shock. So definitely don’t do that.

  • Put it in the microwave – come on, you know this - metal doesn’t play nice with microwaves. Don’t believe us? Check this out.

  • Wrap it in a paper towel and bang it in the freezer – this seems to be a reoccurring suggestion online, but once again, makes no sense. The water inside will freeze, and when you take it out of the freezer it will thaw, and you’ll be back to the beginning.

And finally, a disclaimer. We’d like to note that the methods we suggested above are not guaranteed to work, and should be exercised at your own risk. It’s always good to be prepared, so to protect your phone in the future, it might be worth talking to our in-store Geek Squad colleagues about our great insurance deals.

If you’ve got anything to add, drop us a comment below.

*It’s a slightly different story for salt water with these phones. If you’ve dropped your phone in the sea, look to wash it off with fresh water soon after, as the salt could affect performance.

What are your thoughts? Join the conversation here…

comments powered by Disqus
We love the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+, announced on 29 March in New York. If you're thinking of maki
Meet Samsung's new smartphone, the Galaxy A3 and A5 (2017). Both smartphones are water and dust-resi
Tough Mudder is one of the most gruelling assault courses out there, so we sent our presenter along

8 May, 2019
The Google Pixel 3a is giving you the best of Pixel at a fraction of the price. This...
20 May, 2019
From AI camera technology to wide-angled selfies, here are our top five tips for...
14 May, 2019
For some of the best stories from Google’s I/O 2019 event plus some other exciting...
10 May, 2019
Summer holidays are all about making great memories, so make sure you’ve got the...
8 May, 2019
The Google Pixel 3a is giving you the best of Pixel at a fraction of the price. This...

21 May, 2019
You’ve finally ditched the wire and now you’re wondering how to connect your new...
3 May, 2019
These settings will get you back on the internet using your O2 mobile data if yours...
2 May, 2019
Want to make calls using your Google Home? We'll tell you everything you need to...
30 April, 2019
There are a few reasons why you might need your SIM number - here are the easiest...
28 April, 2019
If you're moving from an iPhone to a new Samsung Galaxy, this guide will show you...
25 April, 2019
If you're having trouble connecting to 4G or 3G internet, or sending picture or multimedia...
17 April, 2019
There are loads of apps for video calling on Android phones, but which are the best?...
17 April, 2019
When your mobile internet isn't working, there's some steps you can follow to get...
10 April, 2019
This guide will tell you everything you need to know about what dual SIM phones are...
5 April, 2019
Follow this guide to get your phone ready for trade-in instead of letting it gather...
29 March, 2019
Want to start video calling friends and family on your iPhone? Well there’s no better,...
22 March, 2019
Got a new iPhone? Don’t ditch your old phone just yet. Let us show you how to transfer...