Cell phones and water don't mix. According to a recent U.S. Cellular Smartphone Trends Survey, 35 percent of people have dropped their phone in the toilet and 16 percent jumped into a pool, lake, or ocean with their phone in their pocket1. It’s smart to know how to recover and restore a smartphone if it ever becomes waterlogged.
Experts with US Cellular say that the key to success is acting quickly, using simple solutions, and avoiding behavior that might cause further damage.
- Act fast. Retrieve the smartphone from the water as quickly as possible. The longer it’s submerged in liquid, the more likely it is to be irrevocably damaged. First things first, turn it off right away. Resist the temptation to “test out” the phone to see if it still works, as pressing the screen and buttons could push liquid farther into the device.
- Remove all accessories. Take off any cases or covers, and remove all memory cards, headsets and other accessories. Take out the SIM card and carefully dry it off with a soft towel or cloth. The SIM card may retain data (such as contacts) even if the phone itself can’t be saved.
- Wipe it down. Carefully wipe the phone with a clean, soft towel, rag or cloth. Try to avoid getting water into the phone’s cracks, ports or other openings.
- Use a fan and avoid heat. Don’t use a hair dryer, oven or microwave to attempt to dry your phone as the heat could potentially cause more damage. Instead, try using a fan for a couple of hours to blow air across the phone's openings to help dry it out.
- Is putting it in rice still the best advice? While rice and desiccant packages (silica gel) are sometimes recommended methods to dry out a smartphone, this has proven to be a myth. In fact, both have been shown to be less effective than just leaving a smartphone in the open air to dry.
- Take the phone to a technician or authorized dealer. If these DIY methods don’t effectively fix the phone, don’t despair. Sometimes it can still be fixed even when home remedies haven’t worked. Be honest about what happened and walk the technician through the steps that were already taken to try and fix it.
- Back up regularly. It’s critical to back up your smartphone on a regular basis, so if it gets wet – or otherwise damaged – you can still retrieve important data, photos and contacts. If the phone is not recoverable, at least this important information is saved.
1Between Nov. 14-27, 2018, a total of 1012 online interviews were conducted among a nationally representative sample of U.S. consumers between 18-38 years old by Consumer Insights, in partnership with Maritz CX.