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What to do if your phone becomes water damaged

Phones are like Gremlins – never get them wet. There’s nothing like that feeling of dread when you hear that splash – and then desperately pat around for your phone. But is there anything you can do to save your poor device, which was ‘safely’ stashed in your back pocket for that loo trip? Read our post to discover if submerging said phone in a bowl of dry rice actually helps or hinders.




How does water damage mobile phones?

Water and electricity do not mix, so a soggy device could give you an electric shock. Damage can be caused to the screen slots, jacks and in the battery holder.


Nothing can guarantee that your mobile will actually survive its dunk – no matter how long it was in the water. These days, dropping a phone in water is as common as a broken screen. Even if you just leave your phone balancing on the window ledge while you take a shower, chances are the steam from the shower will condense against the cold interior of the phone, allowing the moisture to seep into all the buttons.


But don’t worry, there is action you can take to try to remedy the damage that’s been done.




 

What do I do if my phone becomes water damaged?

The thing you must do is act quickly! First of all, turn off the phone. The best thing to remember is not to charge or turn your phone on for at least 24 hours.


You next need to disassemble whatever parts you can. Obviously, this is trickier with an iPhone than with other models, but there are still a few modern phones where you may be able to remove battery packs. If it is possible, retrieve the SIM card.


Next use a towel to blot the phone as quickly as possible. Here are a few things you can try next to restore your phone’s health:


Hairdryer

You could then use a hairdryer on a very low heat – far enough away that it won’t burn you – focusing on card slots and jacks. Be careful not to warm the touch screen too much.



 

A bowl of rice

Whether leaving your mobile in a bowl of uncooked rice is a good idea, is debatable. In any event, it should be seen as a last-ditch solution to soak up any excess moisture but it must be left submerged overnight and in a sealed plastic bag to take any effect. The water may already have fused the phone’s circuits or left traces of minerals that destroy the electronics. Fragments of rice can also get stuck in the headphone socket, so be aware of that when using this method.


Silica gel

If you’re a fanatic for buying new handbags or purse, then you may have a few bags of silica gel hanging around. You can try packing your phone with the bags and leaving overnight.


How do I restore my phone after water damage?

Sometimes, your phone can escape water damage and you can continue using the device as normal. If you were quick to retrieve the phone from the water, switch it off and dry it up using the steps above, you may not need to restore it.


If an iPhone is returned to factory defaults and has lost its data, you can restore the phone from previous backups via iTunes or iCloud. If you have an Android phone, you could also try Android Data Recovery – Samsung software which allows you to directly scan an Android device whether the device is damaged or dead.


Tips for keeping phones safe from water damage

  • Don’t take phones into bathrooms

  • Buy a waterproof case

  • Ensure phones are in bags rather than coat or back pockets

Keeping your phone in a place where it is least likely to incur water damage is obviously the best option. Make sure you have mobile phone insurance to cover you in the event of damage.


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