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What should you do if you drop your phone in water?


Jul 28, 2020 — 5 min read

Dropping your phone in water can spell disaster for your smartphone. We’ll show you how to minimize phone damage and how to prevent future water damage.

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There’s nothing quite like the jarring realization that you’ve just dropped your phone in water. If you find yourself in this unfortunate scenario, you’ll need to act quickly to save your phone from permanent water damage.

We’ll outline the steps you should take to protect your phone after you’ve gotten it wet, including how to remove water from your device, how to repair a water-damaged phone and how to prevent future damage. Take a look and learn how to fix your cellphone if you’ve dropped it in water.

First things first

Keep a cool head but move into action. These preliminary steps may make all the difference in helping you salvage your phone.

Get your phone from the water source

Maybe you accidentally spilled a glass of water on your phone. Or perhaps your toddler threw it into the toilet. No matter how it happens, the first step after you’ve dropped your phone in water is to remove it from wherever it’s submerged as quickly as you can. You’ll have a better chance of preventing or reversing water damage if you stop the liquid from entering your phone as soon as you notice it. In these situations, every second counts.

Turn it off

As soon as you’ve retrieved your phone, shut it off. The idea here is to stop the flow of power through the device to reduce the risk of a short circuit — which could cause irreparable damage. 

Remove internal components

If you’ve got a protective case on your phone, take that off and pop out your SIM card and microSD. Then, if you can do it quickly, remove the battery from your phone to let it dry separately. Unfortunately, if you have dropped an iPhone in water (or another smartphone that’s difficult to open up), you’ll have to skip this step to conserve crucial time.

Wipe off the water

Take a clean piece of cloth, a napkin or a towel and carefully dab any water droplets left on your phone. Make sure you don’t push the liquid into any openings, like your headphone jack or speaker. Instead, allow the water to absorb into the cloth around these delicate areas. If you’ve opened up your device to remove the battery, exercise extra caution to avoid spreading the water around, which could worsen your phone’s condition.

What not to do

Don’t try to remove water by shaking your phone or blowing into it. If you do, you might accidentally push the liquid into internal parts of your phone that were previously dry. And whatever you do, never put your phone in the oven or microwave to try and dry it out.

How to remove water from your phone

Once you’ve gone through those essential early steps, you can work on removing the water from your phone. There are various ways to get the liquid out, ranging from using household items to purchasing a professional service. Check out these various options to learn how to dry out a phone and decide which approach is right for you.

If you’re willing to spend money to fix your phone, you can head to a local phone repair store or find a service like DryBox. DryBox offers self-service kiosks around the country for customers who have gotten their phone wet and want to fix it ASAP. The company boasts a 70% success rate when phones are dried within 24 hours of exposure. 

You can also find DIY kits online to remove water from inside your phone. Of course, this is only a realistic option if you already have one of these kits at home, so it’s a good idea to stock up ahead of time. Check Amazon for a selection of these water-removal products.

For the most cost-effective approach, you can use everyday household items to dry out your phone. You’ve probably heard that you should put your phone in rice if it gets wet — but does that work? This simple method is surprisingly effective if it’s done the right way. To do it, find a container with a lid, place your phone inside and fill it with enough rice to surround your device. As tempting as it may be to take it out after just a short time, you should aim to keep your phone in rice for at least 24 hours, allowing the rice to absorb the moisture.

If you don’t have rice, the next best thing you can do is simply let your phone air out. Make sure you’ve gone through all of the preliminary steps (turning it off, wiping away water with a towel, etc.) before leaving it to dry.

Repairing a water-damaged phone

Unfortunately, if your device has been severely damaged by water, the methods listed above might not work on their own. In such cases, you’ll need to open up your phone and repair it. 

If you feel comfortable trying this on your own, you can find many helpful online references to walk you through the process. For example, this YouTube video offers a step-by-step tutorial for repairing water damage but be warned that the process might be intimidating if you’ve never pulled apart a smartphone.

Alternatively, you can drop your phone off at a local repair store to get professional assistance. These days, there are “fix-it” phone shops everywhere you look, so you’ll just need to do some quick online research to find a reputable retailer near you.

Preventing water damage to your phone in the future

Moving forward, you can avoid the stress and frustration of a water-damaged phone by taking a few proactive steps. For starters, investing in a waterproof case is one of the easiest things you can do to protect your device. Check out the products from LifeProof and OtterBox, two of the most well-known brands when it comes to waterproof phone cases.

For added peace of mind, think about investing in a water-resistant phone, like the iPhone 11 Pro or the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus. While these phones aren’t guaranteed to prevent water damage if your phone is submerged for hours at a time, they can easily withstand accidental spills or an unexpected rainstorm.

When you realize that your phone fell in water, it’s natural to panic. But with these tips, you’ll be well-positioned to keep your device running smoothly and protect it from long-term damage.

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By Taylor Freitas