What to do if your smartphone gets wetI can’t imagine traveling without my smartphone. I actually carry my old iPhone as a backup just in case something happens to my current one. But of course smartphones break all the time, often when they’re accidentally dropped in water or they otherwise get wet. It’s happened to me on more than one occasion.

I always thought that putting a wet phone in a bucket of uncooked rice would dry it out, but according to the experts that’s not what you’re supposed to do. Immersing the phone in rice has been shown to get the same results as simply leaving the phone on the counter, but even more slowly. In fact, involving uncooked rice could cause more harm because it can introduce dust and starch to the phone, as well.

So what are you supposed to do? In this post, the folks at USA TODAY interview experts on the subject. Here’s what they had to say:

  • Gary Tan from DE iPhone repair says, “Do not charge it. Do not plug it in to see if it works. If it’s on, electricity will flow, it will touch the water that’s inside and that’s when your fry the (circuit) board.”
  • Craig Beinecke, co-founder of TekDry, says to immediately turn your phone off if you drop it in water because it takes a while for “the water to reach sensitive connections inside the phone.” Once it does the water will short them out.

The article later states that “the preferred method to safely dry phones is to boil off the water inside them at low temperatures under vacuum. In vacuum drying, the items are placed in a chamber slightly smaller than a shoe box and then put under vacuum while being heated. The lower the pressure, the lower the temperature at which water boils. The machine allows the water inside the phone to boil off at temperatures that can’t damage the components, usually within about 30 minutes. Companies that offer this service also do car key fobs, hearing aids, fitness trackers and TV remotes.”

If your phone is dropped in salt water, the situation changes. USA TODAY recommends rinsing such a phone out with fresh water (!) because the salts in ocean water are strongly corrosive to electronics and can much more quickly damage a phone. Read the whole story here for more.

Related:

 

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1 Comment On "What to Do If Your Smartphone Gets Wet"
  1. DH Latorre|

    Rinse a cell phone that has been doused with salt water with fresh water? I tried that trick when my digital camera was splashed with salt water. Unfortunately, I shorted out the “brain” with the fresh water rinse. I felt so stupid because I should have first, turned the camera completely off. Then, I should have taken out all the batteries, especially the battery that controlled the shutter. And, only then, rinse it with DISTILLED water and let it dry completely before reinstalling the battery. (Sadly, I learned the hard way not to panic and try a remedy that wasn’t well thought out. It was my favorite camera and I could not find another one to replace it.)

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