Everyone has heard the horror stories of a cell phone being ruined by an accidental drop into a toilet or an ill-timed dive into a pool. Even the most expensive cell phones can fizzle out in a second when they take a swim, but this doesn’t always have to be the case. Here are the steps that you can take that will give you the best chance of saving a phone that has been submerged in water.
Remove the SIM Card and Battery if Possible
If you are like most people, your first instinct is to panic and immediately retrieve it when your $800 device falls into the water, and this is the proper reaction. However, many people will take a moment to visually inspect the phone or try to turn it on instantly after taking it out of the water. Both of these behaviors can cause additional damage to a phone that could have been saved if you acted quickly.
Immediately after you have retrieved the phone, remove the SIM card and battery (if your battery is removable). Without a power source in the phone, the internal components are much less likely to short out, and removing the SIM saves your contacts. Once these components are removed, lay your phone on paper towels or another absorbent surface and you can begin the drying and draining process.
Dry Your Phone and Drain it
Use paper towels, your shirt, a towel, or any other type of dry cloth to dry your phone off thoroughly. To promote drying, you should expose as much of the phone to air as possible by removing the case, headphones, and other peripherals. Take special care to dry around and inside of the phone’s ports, as these are the locations where water leaks in to cause the most damage.
You may have heard that the best way to dry the inside of the phone is to evaporate the water with heat. However, this is not recommended, as it can cause damage to the phone’s fragile components. Instead, you should try to drain the phone by using a vacuum cleaner to suck out water around the ports of the device.
Leave Your Phone in an Absorbent Material
The minimum amount of time that you should wait before reinserting the battery and turning the phone on again is 24 hours. To make sure as much water is removed from the device as possible during this time period, you should remove the back of the phone and submerge it in an absorbent material to draw out water. Silica gel packs are an excellent choice, but uncooked rice is another commonly used option. After 24 hours have passed, cross your fingers and attempt to turn the phone back on.
Protect Your Phone From Diving Again
As is true of any accident, if it happened once, it can happen again under the same conditions. While you will likely be especially careful in the future when handling your phone near water, you should still take preventative measures to protect your phone from being submerged again.
There are several options on the market for this purpose, from watertight cases to advanced waterproof spray treatments.
Remember that it’s better to be safe than sorry, and leaving your phone in your car or in a locker when you are going to the pool will always provide the best protection from water damage.