How To: Save Your Smartphone From Water Damage

How To: Save Your Smartphone From Water Damage

That heart stopping moment as you helplessly watch, almost in slow motion, the descent of your smartphone into a puddle, or the realisation you just jumped into a pool, phone in pocket is something everyone would prefer to avoid.

Water is a smartphone’s worst nightmare, with the damage potentially leaving you with a glitchy mobile device, or worse, a device completely taken out of action.

However, not all is lost! There are steps you can take immediately after your mobile device takes the plunge to reduce or even avoid the damage, which more less boil down to three words:

Remove, Dry, Silica Gel

If you’re puzzled by that last one, all will become clear soon. Check our tips below on how to do your best to rescue your mobile device from a watery demise:

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Before Anything Else!

What to do if your smartphone gets wet

Remove The Battery

The very first thing you should do is to turn off the device immediately and remove the battery if you can. As everyone knows, water and electricity never mix, so if your device went for just a dip, you should be able to save it by reducing the chance of short circuiting occurring.

It might be a good idea to take the SIM card out as well if you have a lot of information (e.g. contacts) stored on it, as water can damage the SIM card too. However, with both Android and iOS devices now storing data in their respective clouds, this should not be too much of an issue, as SIM cards can be easily replaced and data easily transferred.

Use More Water

What to do if your smartphone gets wet- rinseWait, what? I can hear you saying “this is the complete opposite of what I want to do!”

But, what happens if you spill something on your device like Coke or get it drenched in salt water? Unfortunately, this complicates the rescue process, as salt water and other liquids may leave a residue or crust around the device and its electronics parts which will corrode the electronics, eventually causing it to malfunction.

A solution to this, is to use more liquid (distilled water or denatured alcohol) to get rid of the residue. As your phone is turned off, battery and SIM card is out, gently rinsing it with more water or denatured alcohol will help clear out residue without doing more damage.

Dry, Dry, Dry!

What to do if your smartphone gets wetAs common sense dictates, you will want to dry your phone out as quickly as possible to minimise damage.

Take a cloth or paper towel and try to get rid of most of the water around the outside. You can also use a vacuum cleaner (though without the right attachments this could be hard to use) or an air compressor set to low psi.

Take any cases or accessories off the phone to make sure it is getting enough ventilation to dry properly.

Let the device dry for as long as you can before putting the battery back in and turning it on, as even just a drop or two of water can cause the phone to corrode or short-circuit.


Use a hair dryer, oven, microwave or leave it in the sun to try and speed up the process as you might end up doing more damage by frying your device! Gadgets need to be dried with still, dry air, not with excess heat.

Also don’t shake your phone too much. You might think this is a good way to get rid of excess water in the phone, but you  may end up doing more damage, as the water will move around and potentially get into parts of your phone that were actually unaffected initially. However, for those devices which do not have a removable battery, a very gentle shake might help a little.

The Magic Of Silica Gel

Silica GelPlacing your device in a zip lock bag with silica gel is the most effective way for soaking up any excess moisture in the device. Silica gel is a porous form of silicon dioxide made from sodium silicate and is easily available in the pet aisle of your grocery store.

 Ideally, leave the zip lock bag in cool, dry place for about 48 hours, without turning the phone on or putting the battery back, for best possible revival chances.

 Commonly uncooked white rice was the go to drying agent for water-damaged smartphones but a recent Gazelle experiment proved otherwise. To find out more check out Saving A Water-Damaged Smartphone: Rice No Longer The Best Drying Agent.

After All Of That… It Doesn’t Work

What To Do If your Smartphone gets wet- RepairsI’m sorry my friend but you may have to send your device in for repair!

If you think the water has managed to damage the phone, check first to see whether the phone works when plugged into a charger and then just using the battery. You may find that if it doesn’t work on a battery but does work with a charger, you may just need to replace the battery. Of course, if you cannot access your battery, you will most likely need to send it to a repair centre.

If you own a Blackberry, you can check whether there has been water damage through the liquid ingress indicator, a white dot located behind the battery. If it has detected water damage, the spot will turn red. However, this is not fool proof, as some water damage can be undetectable until a certified repairer has taken the phone apart, so the best rule of thumb for all devices is to keep an eye out for any glitches, software or hardware issues on your phone in the subsequent weeks.

It is advised that you send in your device into a repair centre if you begin to experience issues with your device, as they can assess whether it is water damage or if there is another issue at play.

Please note, that water damage voids all warranties, so if you do send it in for repair and it turns out water damage is the culprit, you won’t be covered by warranty and there will be a fee.

Phonenomena can arrange a repair for you should your mobile device meet an unfortunate run in with water. To start your phone on the road to recovery, visit our repair form here!

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