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Oops, You’ve Dropped it Again! What to Do When You Drop Your Smartphone in Water

OH NO!

Most smartphones and water just do not mix well. We all know that stinking feeling, when we hear the splash, and our heart stops with the realization that our beloved smartphone has just been doused! There are few other events that are more likely to ruin a day at the beach, or a night out, then having water and your device collide. Unlike chocolate and peanut butter, the two do not go great together. We protect our phones from coming into contact with liquid as if they are vampires, as we all know that this occurrence can often mean certain death. But alas, we will sometimes run in to circumstances where the damage has been done. What to do next in the hopes of saving the smartphone? Once the phone has been retrieved and is back on dry land or away from that nasty spill, what are the next best steps to take in hopes of salvaging this situation?

Mobile phone in water

ACT FAST AND TURN IT OFF

turn it offThe very first thing to do, is to TURN OFF the phone. Do this immediately, do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars. Turn your phone off now! Once the device has been switched off, go ahead and wipe it down with a soft towel, and then give it a few shakes to try to dislodge any additional water. At this time, it is also a good idea to remove the SIM card and any external accessories. Most warranties are null and void the moment that the water sensor comes into contact with moisture, so feel free to go MacGyver and take the thing apart and place it in front of a fan. Some folks have even brought out the Dyson in an attempt to vacuum out the water (this has proven to have mixed results). If you are the type that will take the device in for service should the at home remedies prove unsuccessful, it is highly recommended that you fiddle with the device as little as possible.

 

PLACE THE PHONE IN A LARGE BOWL COVERED WITH…

The next step can be a bit subjective as there are a few schools of thought as to the best way to remove moisture from the phone’s inner workings. There are those that swear by rice as the answer to your water problem, others claim that silica gels are the only way to go, and yet another group holds oatmeal as the answer to the prayers to the tech gods. If you are going to go the “food” route, it is always a great idea to loosely wrapping the device with a paper towel, prior to burying it in the grain of your choice, in order to prevent any food particles from getting into the phone. Per recent studies, instant rice is the better option, over conventional rice. The jury is still out regarding oatmeal, and whether instant is preferred to traditional rolled oats. Anecdotal evidence points toward silica gels as the best bet in resurrecting drowned devices.

Silica gels (those little packets that come with consumer goods, such as new shoes) are also very highly touted as an at-home solution for your wet phone. You’ll need to be proactive and continuously collect these little guys along the way in order to have amassed a usable amount should tragedy strike. This does not seem likely in today’s world where forethought isn’t always practiced. Alternatively, these gel beads are available for purchase and come packaged in a handy airtight bag that you can just throw your sloshed device into directly. It is important to make sure that any container that you may use is tightly sealed, and that the device is completely covered with whichever drying agent that you choose to employ.

Leave the device in the silica, (or rice, or oatmeal, etc.) overnight and try not to fuss with your phone for at least a day. Up to 36 hours is recommended, but who can resist the urge to turn the darn thing back on again for that long? This is one great example of delayed gratification, and the longer you wait to remove your phone from the oatmeal, the greater the chances of success. Once you’ve waited as long as you possibly can, reassemble the device, turn it on, and hope for the best! If all of the planets are aligned, you should have at least a somewhat workable device. And if they are not, prepare for major disappointment. Some recommend trying another overnight in the silica gel but it is at times like these when it is important to know when it’s time to let go. Fortunately, water logged devices do carry some value on the resale market, but it may be worth your time to seek professional help before giving up completely.

DO NOT TRY ANY OF THESE THINGS

stopBlow dryers are not a weapon that should be in your phone saving arsenal, in spite of their ubiquitousness and seemingly being the exact right thing for the job. Fans, however, are a good way to get air circulating and help to eliminate the moisture that is intent on killing your phone. No one should need to be told that microwaving said device is a really, really bad idea, but rational thinking can sometimes go out the window in times of extreme distress. Same goes for ovens, or any heated device. Heat is almost as large an enemy to your phone as the water that created the problem in the first place. To recap: heat = serious bad idea. Do not do this!

AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION IS WORTH A POUND OF CURE

The best solution for a submerged phone, is to not let it happen in the first place. Not that this advice is helpful now that you’ve already experienced the submergence, but it’s best to learn from our mistakes and do what we can to prevent them from happening again. Keep your device far from harm’s way when at the pool or beach, don’t accidently leave it in your pocket, or place it poolside in the splash zone. Not only is it considered rude and antisocial, but leaving one’s phone out and on the dinner table is inviting disaster; safeguard your phone from moisture mishaps, and you can avoid the rice vs. oatmeal decision all together. Another great idea is a performance-level water resistant cover that will help in any situation where your phone should meet with aquatic disaster. The best strategy, should tragedy strike, is to move fast. Get your phone out of the water and turned off as soon as humanly possible! No one wants to have to go through life without a phone. Ever.