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How to Save a Drowning Cell Phone

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Have you ever:

  • Accidentally dropped your cell phone in a sink or even worse the toilet?
  • Leave it in your pocket and run it through the washing machine?
  • Let your friend snag it form you and dunk it in a pool for fun?
  • Forget to take it out of your pocket before jumping into a pool?
  • Dropped it in a puddle or maybe pets water bowl?

Getting your cell phone wet usually means you have to replace it, but sometimes if you’re swift enough, you could to save the phone and some cash. Follow the below steps to try and save your wet cell phone and good luck!

1. Remove the phone from the water ASAP. The phoneports, the tiny microphone and charging holes, the USB cable connectivity and the plastic covers on cell phones (even though tight) can easily allow water to enter the phone in a just a few seconds. Pick up the phone and turn it off immediately to avoid short-circuiting. Even if it is still working, it can be assumed it is water logged.

NOTE: Your phone may not be too damaged if this first step is taken quickly. A longer period of immersion, such as being in the washing machine cycle, is more cause for alarm than an accidental dunk in some cool water. Nevertheless the step below are worth a shot either way.

NOTE 2: Contact a professional if your phone was exposed to water while connected to an electrical outlet. Seek professional help immediately as this can be very dangerous to you.

 

2. After removing the phone from water, quickly gather some paper towels or soft cloths to lay the phone on while you remove the battery cover and battery. This is one of the most important steps to saving it. Many of the circuits in the phone are likely to survive immersion in water assuming they are not attached to a power source (battery) when wet.

NOTE 3: To find out if the phone is truly water damaged look at the corner near the battery. There should be a white square or circle. If this is pink or red, your phone has water damage.

 

3. If your phone has one, remove the SIM card. Some or all of your contacts (and their data) could be stored on your SIM. For many people, this could be more valuable and worthy of saving than the phone itself.

The good news is that SIM cards survive water damage well, but getting it out immediately is still important. Pat it dry and set it aside to dry out until you reconnect your phone to your cell network again. (Obviously if your phone does not have a SIM card, skip this step).

 

4. Remove all other attachments such as ear buds, memory cards as well as phone cases or protective covers. Remove all plugs that cover the gaps, slots, and crevices in the phone to be sure they air dry.

 

5. Dry your phone with a soft rag or towel. If there is even one drop of water left inside, it can ruin your phone by corroding it and making the circuits corrode or short out. Obviously you need to remove as much of the water as quickly as possible, to prevent it from easing its way into the phone:

 

Important Considerations:

  • Gently wipe off as much water as possible without dropping the phone.
  • Avoid shaking or moving the phone excessively, so as to avoid moving water through it.
  • Wipe down using a towel or paper towel, trying not to clog the paper in the gaps and grooves of the phone.
  • Keep wiping gently to remove as much of the remaining water as possible.
  • Cleaning the inside of your phone with rubbing alcohol will displace the water, which could remedy the problem.

 

 6. Try a vacuum cleaner. If you want to try and suck the liquid out of the inner parts of the phone, try using a vacuum cleaner. Hold it over the affected areas for up to 20 minutes in each accessible area.

NOTE: This is the fastest method and can completely dry out your phone and get it working in thirty minutes. However, unless the exposure to water was extremely short, it’s not recommended to attempt to turn your phone on this soon.

WARNING: Do not use a hair dryer to dry out a phone. Though it may seem like common sense, it is not recommended that you use a hair dryer (not even on the “cold” mode) because it can force moisture further toward the crevices, reaching the electrical components deep inside the phone. And if the hair dryer air is too warm, it could melt the components or the case.

 

7. Use a substance with a high affinity for drawing out moisture. A popular and an inexpensive option is to place the phone in a bowl or bag of uncooked rice over night or just cover the phone in paper towels. Still, the rice might absorb some remaining moisture.

Hint: Rotate the phone to a different position every hour until you head to bed. This will allow any water left inside to run down and hopefully find an opening to escape

8. Let the phone sit on absorbent towels, napkins or other paper. After removing the phone from the rice or desiccant, place the phone flat on an absorbent material. Remember that the goal is to evacuate all of the moisture and humidity from the device.

Note: Check the towels every hour for 4 to 6 hours. If moisture is evident, repeat the vacuuming step and desiccant steps.

 1. Test your phone. After you have waited at least 24 hours, or longer if needed, check to see that every area of your cell phone is clean and looks dry. Check all the ports, compartments and in between crevices for any moisture or dirt. Wipe away any dust and dirt from the device and covers and insert the battery into the phone. Attempt to power on the device, but listen for odd noises and observe to see if the phone appears to function correctly.

You may need a new battery if your phone seems to be dry but won’t turn on. Consider purchasing this alone first before replacing the phone. If the battery doesn’t work, it’s time to see if it can be repaired or replaced.

2.  Never take a phone apart unless you are trained. Leave that to the professionals, since doing so could potentially cause shock or exposure to harmful chemicals or components. If you are reading this advice, chances are you are not qualified.

BONUS TIP:There are waterproof cases to purchase for your phone.

 

Warnings

  • Do not apply too much heat to your phone. You don’t want to melt or burn your phone.
  • Do not put your phone in an oven or microwave to dry it out.
  • Don’t heat the battery or it could leak or explode. Lithium-ion batteries are sensitive.
  • Be warned that manufacturers utilize the liquid damage sticker to indicate water damage because most insurance do not cover water damage.
  • If you use alcohol make sure to do so outside, and do not apply heat in any form, not even the gentle heat of a monitor. Do not hook up the battery until the alcohol smell dissipates.

Even if all these steps are followed, corrosion and damage can be done without recovery, but these steps give you the best option to save the phone if possible.

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