How to save a wet phone

Just dropped your phone in the drink? It can be saved...
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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…

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