Summer is fast approaching, and that means barbecues, beaches, and the splashing sounds of thousands of smartphones as they meet their watery graves at the bottoms of kiddie pools and oversized margaritas glasses.
Indeed, no summer would be complete without at least one of your friends or relatives, or even you, giving a perfectly good smartphone an impromptu burial at sea.
But even if your phone takes a dip in the drink, there’s a chance you can save it, but only if you act quickly. Here’s what to do if you drop your smartphone in water.
1. Grab it!
Whether you drop your phone in a pool or it goes for a swim in the porcelain throne, the most important thing to do is grab it. The longer your precious handset takes a bath, the more likely water is to get inside of and ruin it.
Get your phone out of the water right away, and there’s a good chance it will be fine.
Of course, if your phone falls into a well or something like that, cut your losses and forget about it. I don’t need anyone blaming me for some kind of Baby Jessica situation.
2. Turn it off
If you grab your phone and it’s still turned on, turn it off as fast as you can. Keeping your handset on while its wet is a surefire way to short its circuit board and ruin it for good.
If your phone’s screen was off and when it hit the water, but you’re not sure whether the phone powered off or the screen is just blank, see if you can wake it by quickly pressing the power button.
Should your phone wake up, shut it down immediately. If it doesn’t wake up, keep it off.
3. Dry it off
Now that your phone is off and cleaned, you’ll have to dry it off. If your handset has a removable battery or removable microSD card, take it out. Similarly, if your phone has some kind of port cover or even a removable back panel, open it up to let your handset air out.
4. Don’t blow dry it
Do not try to dry your phone with a blow drier. The heat from the drier could damage your handset’s internal components permanently.
While we’re at it, don’t put your phone in an oven or freezer, both methods rumored to fix a wet smartphone that do nothing of the sort.
5. Rice and Silica
Just because your phone is dry on the outside, doesn’t mean it’s dry on the inside. To take care of that, fill a bowl with uncooked rice and bury your phone in it.
The rice wicks away the moisture trapped inside your phone, ensuring that it is completely dry inside and out.
You can also fill a plastic baggy with silica packets (those little packets that you find in shoe boxes) and drop your phone in into it. Silica is a desiccant that sucks up water moisture, so it’s perfect for drying a wet smartphone.
Whether you choose the rice method or the silica method, you’ll have to leave your phone in the bowl or bag for about 3 days to make sure that all of the moisture has been removed.
6. Turn on and test
Now that your phone is nice and dry, turn it on and test it to make sure it works. If it doesn’t power on after charging it, then you’re out of luck. If it does turn on, you’re good to go.
It’s important to note, though, that the water inside of your phone could have corroded the handset’s internal components. If that’s the case, your phone might start to malfunction over time, at which point you’ll have to retire and recycle it.
7. Rinse it (maybe)
This step is an absolute last resort, as it can damage your phone further. But if the above steps didn’t work, this might just be worth trying.
The idea is to clean out any gunk that might have made its way into your phone when it got wet, such as salt from salt water.
Take your phone apart, completely stripping it down to the circuit board, wet a toothbrush with more than 90 percent isopropyl alcohol and gently brush the board. You can also try submerging and swishing your phone around in the alcohol for a few short minutes.
Just remember, the alcohol could dissolve the glue in your phone, causing irreparable damage.
8. Get phone insurance
If your phone doesn’t turn on, recycle it or trade it in for a new one. When you do get your next handset invest in some kind of accidental damage insurance. This way the next time your phone gets wet and doesn’t work, you’ll be able to get a new one.