What to do if your smartphone falls in water
While there’s some chance of saving a smartphone that falls into fresh water, the chances of saving it after a dip in salty seawater are considerably slimmer. (© istockphoto.com/NeagoneFo_
Published Monday, July 17, 2017 3:16PM EDT
Whether it's a slip of the hand at the beach, a device forgotten in a pocket, or an overexcited child, smartphones get dropped or submerged in water for all kinds of reasons, and not all models are water resistant. So what should you do to save your smartphone? First of all, don't follow the wrong advice!
No problem, just claim on the warranty
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Total immersion of the device usually voids the warranty, unless an optional "accidental oxidation" guarantee has been added. Make sure you read all the clauses of your contract carefully. Sometimes certain conditions have to be met in order to obtain a refund.
Don't try to deny an immersion incident: smartphones are equipped with "immersion sensors" which change color when they come into contact with liquids.
Do nothing, just let the phone dry out by itself
Get your smartphone out of the water as quickly as possible and wrap it in a clean, dry towel. If it's still on, then switch the device off. Then, wrap it in paper tissues or kitchen towel to absorb as much moisture as possible. Unplug any accessories (headphones, cables etc.) and remove the SIM card and any memory cards.
Put the smartphone in a bag full of rice
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The ideal solution would be to shut the phone in an airtight box with moisture-absorbing sachets, but not everyone has industrial dehumidifying tools to hand all of the time. Uncooked rice can be a substitute solution, since the grains absorb moisture. However, rice also makes a lot of dust, which isn't good for smartphones. Leave the mobile completely submerged in a bag full of rice for a minimum of 24-48 hours.
Dry out the phone more quickly with a hairdryer
The heat from a hairdryer is too hot. This can damage fragile electronic components in the device. Also, avoid placing your smartphone near a hot oven (or worse, in the oven) or on a radiator.
A fall in the toilet is the same as a fall in the sea
While there's some chance of saving a smartphone that falls into fresh water, the chances of saving it after a dip in salty seawater are considerably slimmer. In fact, the salt will cause the metal parts of the device, as well as the onboard electronics, to oxidize much more quickly. Rinsing the device in clean water won't help either. The damage is already done ...
If the smartphone powers up, everything is fine
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Immersion in a liquid is often fatal for smartphones, but in some lucky cases, the device will switch back on and power up as normal. In that case, the first thing to do is back up all of your data. Certain parts of the device risk rusting very quickly: the smartphone's lifespan will have been considerably reduced by its underwater adventure. You will, however, probably have enough time to choose a new model.