At some point or another we’ve all ended up with a wet cell phone. Whether it was left out in the rain or dropped in the sink, few things will make your heart sink faster than realizing your phone, and all its valuable contents, just got drenched. Since we work on these types of problems all the time, here are 7 steps for minimizing the damage to your wet cell phone.
1. Remove the device from the water immediately. Even though most modern smart phones only have small accessible ports (headphone jack, charging port, mic…etc) it is still possible for water to get inside the device. Removing it from water as soon as possible is going to prevent as much water as possible from reaching the inner workings of the phone/device.
2. Remove the battery from the device (if applicable). If you have access to the battery of the device remove it as soon as you get it out of the water. This will prevent electricity from surging through the board and possibly causing more damage to the device. If you do not have access to the battery make sure the device is immediately turn off and DO NOT connect it to a charger AT ALL. Some devices will all have water damage stickers located near the battery, you can check those to see how deep the water has penetrated.
3. Take out all accessories (SD Card, SIM Card..etc). To ensure that there is no damage to sensitive data it is a good idea to remove items such as the SIM Card and SD card from the device. This will at the very least prevent the water from corroding the contacts on the cards preventing them from being sued again or from extracting data if the phone is not repaired.
4. Dry any visible water from the phone (Do not tilt or shake device). Using a paper towel or soft cloth try and remove the remaining water that is still on the surface of the phone. This will prevent any of the water from seeping deeper into the device and causing further damage. Even though it is likely that a submerged device is full of water it is still best to try and remove as much as possible.
5. DO NOT try and use a hairdryer to dry off the phone. It may seem like a good idea to try and dry off some of the water inside the phone. However, this could lead to water being driven further into the device and causing it to dry on the board and components. When the water dries it can create minerals from the water to deposit on the board or other components corroding them and creating more problems.
6. Submerge device or phone into water absorbent material (at least overnight). While most people use rice as an absorbent, the recommended solution for absorbing as much out of the device is silica gel (yes those little beads that come inside new shoes). The silica will absorb as much water as it will come in contact with, it is recommended to rotate or move the device into different positions to try and draw as much water from the phone.
7. Let the phone sit on absorbent towels or cloth. After you have let the phone sit in the drying material overnight it is still advised to let the device sit on an absorbent material to see if all the water has been removed. Check the towel periodically to ensure that there is no water present on the towel and replace it accordingly. Time can vary but 4-6 hours should usually be enough, remember to rotate the device during the period as well.
This drying process may work for light water damage (partially submerged or a spill) but for anything that has been fully submerged we recommend following the steps 1-4 and bringing the phone to a professional repair facility where they will be able to properly diagnose and repair the device.
What we recommend:
A professional repair facility will be able to fully disassemble the unit and take the necessary steps to ensure that all of the moisture has been completely removed. This includes under the board, chips on the board and any possible corrosion present on the components. While there is no guarantee when it comes to repairing a water damaged device the success rate is much higher when these steps are taken in conjunction with the use of a professional shop to perform the proper water damage repair.