CPR Tips for Your Drowned Cell Phone
Unlike your clunky old desktop computer, your smartphone follows you everywhere. This convenience, of course, creates certain risks to your device — one of which is death by drowning. When you’re busy living life, it’s all too easy to jump on your kayak with your phone in your pocket, send it through your washing machine’s rinse cycle or douse it in a tidal wave of diet soda.
Most manufacturer warranties don’t cover water damage, so it’s up to you to breathe life back into your waterlogged gadget. If your phone takes a swim, try these simple tips to raise it from the dead.
1. Grab it fast.
The sooner you remove your phone from the water, the less liquid will leak in through its cracks and ports.
2. Immediately take out the battery.
An electrical short is the most common cause of death for drowned electronic devices. If you can take out the battery, don’t waste time shutting the phone off, because it will take a few seconds to power down. (If it’s already off, resist the temptation to turn it on.)
3. Save the SIM card.
Some phones store your phone numbers, photos and other data on a removable SIM card. Once you’ve taken out the battery, rescuing this card should be your next priority. Your SIM card and its precious data sometimes survive even when your phone’s a goner.
4. Rinse or disinfect as needed.
Salt water and sugary drinks can leave a nasty, corrosive residue in your phone’s innards. To prevent this, submerge the phone in fresh water before attempting to dry it. (Always remove the battery and SIM card first.) If you’ve dropped your phone in the toilet, gently swab the exterior with alcohol.
5. Remove the case and open all the ports.
Your next goal is to remove as much water from inside the phone as possible. Create as many escape holes as you can by opening the various hatches.
6. Force out the water.
Use a can of compressed air or a wet-and-dry vacuum to push or pull liquid from the phone’s interior. Make sure your air source is a cool one — a blast of hot air may exacerbate the damage.
7. Use a drying agent.
Seal your phone and battery in a resealable plastic zipper bag with several silica gel packets (those little packets that say “do not eat” found packaged with so many things), or place them in an emergency drying pouch, available through some big box retailers. If you don’t have any chemical desiccant handy, bury your phone in a bowl of uncooked rice.
8. Test your phone.
After the device dries for 48 to 72 hours, power it up and see what happens. If it still seems dead, the battery may be fried. Try again with the AC adapter plugged in.
9. Don’t give up.
If your phone is unresponsive or malfunctions during the first test, put it back in the desiccant and wait another 48 to 72 hours. Keep your fingers crossed — a wet phone may take up to a week to dry out.
What not to try
When it comes to fixing a drowned phone, use caution. The internet is rife with misinformation on the subject. Here’s the skinny on some oft-recommended remedies that can actually harm your device.
1. Don’t dry your phone with a hair dryer or (eek!) a microwave.
Cell phones contain sensitive components that won’t tolerate the heat. Microwaving a phone (or any object containing metal) is a great way to start a kitchen fire.
2. Don’t bathe your phone in alcohol.
Yes, alcohol displaces water, but it can also dissolve the fragile glue that holds your phone’s electronic components together.
3. Don’t tell the manufacturer it died a mysterious death.
Most will expect you to return the device for inspection. Once technicians check the water-sensitive stickers inside your phone, the warranty will be null and void.
A final word: As with humans, the best way to keep a cell phone from drowning is to keep it away from water in the first place. Protect your pricey phone with the best case you can afford — think of it as a life jacket. Indulge in a little offline time while you’re outdoors at the lake or beach. And above all, make the bathroom a phone-free zone. The internet is overrun with horror stories from people who have dropped their brand new gadgets in the toilet.
This article originally published at Tecca