What to do if your smartphone gets wet
Posted on: 8th January, 2019
What do you do if you drop your smartphone in water? A puddle, the sink, or heaven forbid, the loo?
Did it go under the water, even for a short time, or does it just have a few splashes of rain on the screen?
Newer smartphones claim to be waterproof, but are most likely only splash-proof.
Do you want to test yours? Are you feeling lucky?
Assuming that you haven’t dropped it into a canal in Venice, or somewhere else that it is impossible to retrieve, follow these steps. Quickly!
1. Turn it off. Immediately, even if it still seems to be working. This sounds obvious, of course, but in the heat of the moment it may pass you by, especially if you think that no damage has been done. If it has been under water then assume some of that water is now inside the phone.
2. Remove the battery. This should be fairly simple on most Smartphones, but probably not on an iPhone. If necessary get along to the nearest phone repair shop – which doesn’t have to be an Apple store in an emergency.
3. Remove the SIM Card, wipe it down and store it carefully. The micro SIM cards are very easy to lose.
4. Using a soft paper towel wipe down the inside of the phone as much as possible, to get rid of any obvious water. Then put the phone somewhere warm, such as the airing cupboard, with the back off and the battery out. Lie it face up on some kitchen towel or a napkin. Leave it for anywhere from 24 – 72 hours, depending on how wet it actually got.
5. Some folk suggest submerging the phone in a bowl of salt or rice, the idea being that this will draw out the moisture. (Cat litter – unused preferably, couscous and oatmeal are other suggestions.) Wet salt will almost certainly damage the internal workings even more. Rice won’t work so efficiently, but won’t damage the phone either. Wrap the phone in kitchen towel if you do wish to try this.
6. When you’re sure the phone is dry – and not before – put it back together, take a deep breath and turn it on. (You may wish to ask someone else to do this for you!)
If it still doesn’t work you could try a new battery, just in case you have only damaged the battery. It’s a long shot, but your local phone repair shop should have a spare battery that you can borrow for a test.
If it does work, that’s great. But don’t be surprised if it starts doing weird things, even a few days later, as you may not have left it to dry for long enough. If that does happen, it is most probably irreparably damaged. The weirdness won’t just quietly go away.
If everything fails and you now have a useless phone, try claiming on your house insurance. Some will allow this, whilst others may have specific exclusions. Or, your mobile phone contract may include insurance.
Alternatively, some banks offer Premium Accounts which include mobile phone Insurance, (as well as travel and car breakdown insurance).
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© Michael Donkin 2019