Accidents happen to smartphones (and mobile phones in general) a lot. People drop them, accidentally sit on them or put something they shouldn’t on top of them, press the keypad with wet or dirty fingers, and so on. These ubiquitous devices go through a lot of mishandling no matter how much people claim they simply cannot live without their phone.
If you’re like everybody else and always carry yours around wherever you go, you’re actually exposing your gadget to various risks. If you accidentally drop your smartphone in anything that has or is liquid, you may end up having to replace your beloved device. But if you act fast enough, you may still be able to save your beloved smartphone.
Steps to Save Your Soaked Mobile Device
1. Take your phone out of the water — fast!
Even if the cover of your smartphone is tightly fastened, it’s only a matter of time before the water seeps through. Switch your phone off immediately as leaving it on after getting it wet will cause a short circuit.
If you take your phone out of the water right away, there’ll be lesser damage compared to a long period of leaving it immersed in the water. Acting fast makes all the difference, that’s why it’s important to keep a level head and just quickly turn your device off before doing anything further.
2. Get some towels and remove the battery.
Get some paper towels or absorbent cloths and lay your phone on them while you remove the battery. Removing the battery is one of the most important steps in saving your phone’s life. Most circuits in a mobile device will survive even after submersion as long as they’re not connected to a power source.
You can find out if your phone is truly damaged by checking the corners near where the battery should be. Look for a white square or circle and see if it has red lines. If you can see either pink or red lines, your phone has already sustained damage.
3. Remove the SIM card.
For most people, saving the SIM card is more important than saving the phone. This may be because some or all valuable contacts and other data are saved inside the SIM. Pat dry and ensure that you let the SIM card dry out first before installing it again on another device.
4. Remove other paraphernalia.
Detach items such as memory cards as well as the phone cover and case. Remove anything that covers the slots, gaps, and crevices of your phone to expose it to air drying.
5. Get the liquid out of the inner parts of your smartphone.
If there’s even a single drop of water left, it can still ruin the device by making the circuits corrode. You need to remove the water quickly and avoid moving the phone too much to stop any leftover liquid from getting deeper into the device.
- Wipe down the remaining liquid using a towel or paper towel. Make sure not to clog the paper in the grooves and gaps of your phone.
- Cleaning the inside of the device with rubbing alcohol will help displace the water.
- If you have a vacuum cleaner, you can use it to suck the liquid out. You can remove all residual moisture by holding it over wet areas for 20 minutes each. Don’t hold the vacuum too close to your device as it’ll create static electricity which can make things worse.
6. Use rice or desiccant to further draw out moisture.
Even if you’re able to wipe off all the remaining water, hard-to-reach areas in your phone may still have liquid. You can use rice as an inexpensive option to draw out moisture from your phone. Place your smartphone inside a bag of uncooked rice then leave it there overnight.
But if you have the budget, it’s preferable to use a desiccant. It absorbs moisture better than rice. Slip your phone inside an airtight container, and add a desiccant packet, then leave it overnight.
- Don’t use desiccant packets you’ve found in purses or shoes as they have already reached their maximum absorption capacity. Using them will not be as effective as using new desiccant packets.
- You can buy desiccants for flower drying at craft stores.
- Rotate or change your phone’s position every hour before you go to sleep. This will enable any water that’s left inside to find a way to run down and flow outward.
7. Repeat as needed.
After taking your phone from the desiccant or rice, place your device on an absorbent material. This may appear repetitive but your main goal here is to remove all the humidity and moisture that’s left over.
- Every 4-6 hours, check if there’s moisture evident in the absorbent material.
- If there’s moisture, repeat the steps involving vacuuming and soaking it into the desiccant or rice.
8. Check your Smartphone.
After waiting for your smartphone to dry out for at least 24 hours, see if all parts are clean and dry. Check your phone’s compartments, ports and between crevices for moisture or dirt. Once you’re 100 percent sure that it’s dry and clean, you can now insert the battery and turn on the device.
- Listen for any odd noises and observe if your phone is functioning properly.
- If your phone still doesn’t work, try to plug it into the charger without the battery inside. If your phone works through this method, then you probably need to buy a new battery.
If your phone is still not functioning, there may be internal moisture that you weren’t able to remove. Go to an authorized smartphone dealer or repair shop, and leave the rest to a professional.
There are some cases where the phone’s submersion was simply far too long that the liquid has gotten deep into the circuit boards. Prepare yourself for the worst, and start looking for a replacement. That’s the time when it’s a good idea to start looking for another smartphone with great phone plans and offers.
Protect Your Phone From Water Damage
If you’re able to save your phone or you just decided to buy a new one, what you have to do now is protect it from water damage. Below are helpful tips to keep your mobile device safe and dry.
Use a waterproof cover or case
Use a zip pouch
Waterproof pouches are submersible up to 30 meters. If you ever plan to take photos at the beach, bring along a zip pouch to protect your smartphone from water damage.
Your smartphone is a personal device. And since you always carry it around, it will be in your best interest to keep it safe at all times.
But before purchasing a new mobile device, follow these tips to save yourself from buying the wrong smartphone. And once you’ve got a new smartphone, give it extra TLC to save yourself from the heartache (and inconvenience) of losing another one again.
Al-moottil P Antony is a C-Suite Executive Support Professional for Zain, a leading mobile and data services operator with a commercial footprint in 8 Middle Eastern and African countries.