My Phone Got Wet!

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Water damaged phones

The Rice Myth

Friends and the internet will often tell you to throw your phone in rice to dry it out. DON’T, and here’s why: while the rice (or desiccant) may help remove water, it does nothing to alleviate the problem of submersing a phone. Think about the water spots that are left on shower doors or your faucets after they are dry; it’s not the water that’s the main issue, it’s those minerals left over after the water is gone, and they are not easily removable.

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But Rice Worked for my Friend!

He got lucky. Water will sometimes cause an immediate short making the phone useless; it will always leave behind minerals that could end up causing corrosion on the main board (the “brain”) of your phone. This may not be immediately noticeable, but it’s a gamble. The damage to the board may not show up for months, and by the time you start having problems with your phone you’ve forgotten that it was dropped in the pool or the toilet (the toilet is the #1 cause of water damage). When that damage becomes too extensive, the phone cannot be repaired.

So What Should I DO?

First; turn it off. Don’t charge it, and don’t turn it back on “just to see”.

Then, if you are comfortable with it, for Apple iPhones, get a Pentalobe screwdriver (some hardware stores carry them) and take out the two screws at the bottom near the charging port. If you can’t get a Pentalobe driver quickly, people have used things like sharp razor blades and regular screwdrivers to remove them (not recommended, as you run a good chance of stripping the screw head). Use these guides to open your phone and gently blot the water with a Q-Tip, soft cloth or paper towel, and leave the phone open in a relatively dry area for at least 24 hours.

Whether or not you’ve opened the phone, you really should get it to a pro to take a look. A competent one will have 99% alcohol on hand and an ultrasonic cleaner to remove any lingering water and/or light damage. If you’ve waited a while to get your phone to a pro, you may still be okay; it really depends on the extent of the water damage.

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