Have you ever dropped your phone in water? That might seem like a strange question to ask — that is until you consider that about 1 in 5 people have dropped their phone in a toilet bowl.
One study shows that 19% of people have dropped their iPhones, Samsungs, and other smartphone brands into the toilet at one time or another. So for every 5 people with smartphones at your job, in your classroom, in your social group, or in your home, 1 of them as watched in horror as their phone fell, splashed, and sunk down into a watery grave.
And calling the toilet bowl a “grave” for a smartphone is no hyperbole since a phone that has suffered such a fate may never recover. That doesn’t, however, mean that it’s impossible to rehabilitate it back to health. Here’s what to do if the unthinkable happens to your phone.
Your first order of business is to get your smartphone out of the water as soon as possible. The longer you leave it submerged in liquid, the more damage can be done to your mobile device. So don’t allow the shock of seeing your phone fall into the toilet, tub, or sink freeze you in a state of inaction. Retrieve your phone as quickly as you can to boost the odds of rehabilitation.
Once you’ve retrieved your phone, try to remove the battery. If you have a smartphone with an inaccessible battery, then simply power down your phone. The reason it’s important to either take out the battery or to power down is that failing to do so can actually short circuit your phone. While you’re at it, remove your SIM card as well as your microSD card.
Use an absorbent cloth to remove as much liquid as you can. Be careful not to spread the water around, since that can make matters worse. You’ll want to absorb as much as possible. If you wave a vacuum with a small attachment suitable for sucking up water, you might want to use it. Just be sure that things like the SD card and the SIM card are removed before doing this.
Whether you’ve ever dropped your phone in water or not, you’ve probably heard that you can use rice to extract water and moisture from electronics. Put your phone in a bag full of dried rice — you may wish to wrap the phone in paper towel beforehand — and leave it there for two to three days. Yes, it’ll be hard to leave it alone for that long. But you need to give the rice enough time to work its magic. As an alternative to rice, you can also choose other desiccants options like special containers designed to extract liquids from electronics. If you like to be prepared, buy some of these products before you ever need them so that you’re prepared.
After waiting a few days for the rice or the other desiccant products to do their magic, you can remove the phone, put the battery back in, and see if it works. If it doesn’t, try recharging it to see if that does the trick. If that doesn’t work, get a new battery and try it again. If you’re still unable to turn it on, you might want to consult a repair shop for help.
If you retrieve your phone soon after a mishap involving water and then follow the presented steps, there’s a good chance that your phone can be saved from what can otherwise be certain death. Here’s to hoping you won’t ever have to put any of these steps into practice. But should you have to, at least you know what sorts of things to do to possibly save your smartphone.