Dropped Your Phone in Water? Try This.

Phone in WaterWe have all heard some funny stories of people accidentally dropping their phones in various bodies of water. Whether it is a pool, a lake, a bathtub, a bird bath, or the dreaded toilet, someone somewhere has dropped a phone into it.

If you’re the one that has dropped your phone in water, the story quickly becomes much less funny. It can be an expensive mistake if that quick dip ruins your phone. Here are a few tips that may help dry out the phone and hopefully give your story a happy ending.


Dropped Your Phone in Water, Now What?

As soon as you extract the phone from the water, check to see if it is still powered on.  If it is on, turn it off immediately.  If it is powered off, leave it off. Despite your very strong desire to see if your phone still works, do not attempt to turn it on. This could ruin your phone. Additionally, do not try to charge your phone or connect it to your computer.

Dry the phone with a soft, absorbent cloth, remove any case that might be installed on the phone, and remove the SIM card if your phone has one. If your phone has a removable battery, be sure to take the battery out of the phone. Gently shake the phone to remove water from the headphone jack and other ports.


Remove Moisture From Inside the Phone

You now need to focus on removing as much moisture as possible from the internal components of the phone. Some people may be comfortable disassembling their phone to thoroughly dry it. However, this is certainly not advisable for most people. Disassembling the phone can potentially cause additional problems and likely voids the warranty. Since a soggy phone could have already voided your warranty, you may not have much to lose. But you can first try something less invasive. Check your warranty if you are uncertain about your coverage.

Do not use a hairdryer or other heat source to dry the phone. A hairdryer is a tempting option to speed the drying process, but most experts agree the danger of applying too much heat to the phone far exceeds the benefit of using a hairdryer. If excessive heat is applied during the drying process, it can destroy the phone.


Put the Phone in Rice

It may sound funny, but many people claim putting the phone in rice will help it dry. Put your phone in a bowl and cover it with dry, uncooked rice. The rice acts as a natural desiccant to remove moisture from the phone. It would be preferable to use silica gel if it is available, but not everyone has silica gel lying around the house. Cover the bowl and let it sit for at least 48 hours.

It should be noted that not everyone agrees rice is very effective at removing moisture. Silica gel is more effective than rice, but not everyone has silica gel available when they need it.


Cross Your Fingers

After your phone has sat and dried for awhile, it’s time to see if it works. Remove the phone from the rice (or silica gel) and make sure there are no pieces of rice stuck in any of the ports. Reinsert the SIM card and battery (if removed). Cross your fingers and power on the phone.

It is worth noting that even if you follow all the above steps, your phone may still not work. If it does work, I recommend backing it up immediately, just in case your good fortune runs out quickly. If the phone does not work, you can try another round in the rice or silica gel storage, or you could consider taking the phone for service or getting a replacement.


Moving Forward

To avoid another possible incident in the future, you may want to consider purchasing a waterproof case such as the LifeProof Nuud case, which has very good customer reviews on Amazon. The Kensington EVAP is an emergency package of silica gel that is helpful to have on hand for when disaster strikes. If you own a pool or a boat, you may want to consider having something like this around.

In an effort to provide full disclosure, the links to the products above are affiliate links. If you purchase one of the products, I will receive a small commission on the sale.


High Tech Solution

USA Today published an article describing a new process for recovering phones and other devices that have been dropped in water. The process uses a combination of vacuum and low heat to vaporize water trapped in the phone. Two competing companies, TekDry (http://www.tekdry.com) and DryBox (http://dryboxrescue.com), offer a kiosk-based service to dry your wet electronic device. The kiosks from these companies are currently only available in limited areas, so check their websites to see if there is a location near you. See the USA Today article for additional information.