What to Do if You Drop Your Phone in Water

What to Do if You Drop Your Phone in Water

Phone in bowl of rice with battery removed.
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Dropped your phone in water? Since it’s probably one of your most valuable and oft-used possessions, it can cause panic when accidentally dropped. Whether you were pushed into a pool, got clumsy around a toilet bowl, or fell hands-first into a puddle, that moment when you wonder whether you’ve killed your phone forever is terrifying.

But all is not lost. If you act fast, you may be able to rescue your phone and save yourself the expense of having to buy a new one.

What to Do Right Away to Save Your Cell Phone

So, what’s the best way to dry a phone dropped in water? First, retrieve your cell phone as quickly as possible. The more time your phone spends submerged in liquid, the worse. Fish it out ASAP.

Here’s how to protect your phone from water damage—remove the battery as quickly as possible, if you can. If you have an iPhone or other cell phone that doesn’t let you remove the battery, just turn it off immediately. The idea is to kill the power before the phone has a chance to short-circuit. Also remove your SIM card.

Next, wipe the moisture off your phone with a clean, dry towel, trying not to let any water get inside any ports or other openings, such as the charging port or the headphone jack.

What Not to Do

There are some things you may have an impulse to try that you should definitely avoid, since these gambits can damage your phone even more. Don’t dry the phone with a blow-dryer, don’t try to suck the air out of the phone with a vacuum cleaner, don’t put the phone in an oven. The heat and pressure can damage the device, which is full of small and delicate electronic components.

What to Do Next

So what do you do now that you’ve got a powerless, possibly water-damaged phone on your hands? Well, you’ve got a few options.

One of the most popular is to put your phone in a bag of rice and let it sit there for 24 to 48 hours as the rice absorbs the moisture. Many people swear by this method—in fact, we can personally attest that it works. Best of all, doing this is pretty easy and convenient, since most of us have dry rice at home. Just be careful not to let the rice clog your phone. To prevent this, wrap your phone in paper towels before you put it in the rice. 

If you find that you often end up dropping your phone in water—maybe you like to use it while you’re in the hot tub—it may be a good idea to keep silica gel packs or other desiccants on hand. They work like rice but are specifically designed to dry out a phone after it comes into contact with water. You can also just leave your phone out to air-dry, but this will probably take longer than using something to absorb the moisture. 

The most important thing is to keep the phone turned off until you’re sure it’s dry; otherwise, it may short-circuit. To be safe, wait a solid 72 hours before switching your phone back on.

Frequently Asked Questions

Wait, Isn’t My Cell Phone Waterproof?

If your phone was advertised as water-resistant, as is the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE or the iPhone 11 or iPhone 12, you may be wondering if this article still applies to you. Yeah, it does. Even so-called waterproof phones are liable to water damage, especially as they get older. These phones can also be damaged by saltwater or chlorine. So it’s important to be careful even with a water-resistant cell phone.

Where Can I Get My Damaged Cell Phone Fixed?

If your cell phone won’t turn on after you have dropped it in water, or it shows other signs of water damage, like corrosion, it’s a good idea to get your phone repaired by a professional. Nearly all electronics and cell-phone repair shops can help you out. But you may want to call ahead to make sure they have experience dealing with water damage before you go.

How Much Does It Cost to Fix a Water-Damaged Cell Phone?

Unfortunately, the standard phone warranty plan doesn’t cover water damage, so you’ll probably have to pay for repairs yourself. The cost of repairing a water-damaged cell phone will typically set you back around 100 dollars. But it can be more if you need to replace parts of the phone.

What Are the Signs That a Cell Phone Is Water-Damaged?

Even if your phone turns on again after your incident, it may still be water damaged. Various signs of water damage on a phone include not charging, having dark spots or lines under the glass of your screen, and the speaker not working.

Will My Cell Phone Work Again?

It depends on the circumstances of a case. But if you follow the steps in this article, chances are much higher that your phone can be salvaged than if you do nothing.

Just in case you ever are in this situation, be sure to frequently back up your data so that you don’t lose if your cell phone cannot be revived after getting dunked. Hopefully, though, this will never happen. Good luck!


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