How To Save A Drowned Phone!

It finally happened to me! I accidentally dropped my phone in water the other day and completely freaked out because as soon as the phone hit the water, it turned off and would not power back on – kudos to the manufacturer for that. It may have been what saved the phone. This is a very expensive phone and I was already bemoaning how I would have to shell out the money to replace it.

The internet, however, came to the rescue and I got a few pointers that I added to what I did to revive my phone.

  • The first thing I did, as soon as it happened was to pull the phone out of the water. No “Oh my God, what just happened?” or “Shit, my phone fell in it” and then proceed to stand there and stare at the thing for several minutes kind of stuff! Reach in and pull the damn thing out of the water whether it’s a swimming pool, sink, lake – probably with the help of a very good swimmer or a scuba diver since it’s just a phone and there is no sense drowning yourself too, or toilet (please, put on gloves). Eew.
  • Take the battery out of the phone if it has a removable battery. That, by the way, is my biggest gripe against the iPhone and its ilk that do not have removable batteries and why I do not own one.
  • Next, I got out as much of the water as I could. Mine has a slide-out keyboard, so I opened the phone and dried off the water with a gentle shake, using absorbent napkins.
  • I strongly resisted the urge to immediately turn the phone back on (OK, after I read that it was not a good idea to do so)
  • I put the phone near an open window to air-dry for about 15 minutes. Some suggest using compressed air – the type you use on your keyboard – to blow out the water. I tried it and it got quite a lot out. But I was also worried that the air may push water to more sensitive areas, further causing damage to the phone. So, your mileage may vary. Quick note: if using compresses air, make sure the can is upright as a tilted one can dispense freezing liquid which may not be good for your phone.
  • I resisted the temptation to put it in the microwave or use a blow-dryer. Do not put your phone in a microwave, or use a blow dryer on your phone!
  • Finally, as ridiculous as it initially sounded to me, I put the phone and its battery in an air-tight box (a jar would also work)  and covered it with uncooked rice. Apparently Rice is very good at absorbing moisture. There is also some sort of drying compound you can use, but rice was available and I really did not feel like ordering some compound that would take several days to show up.
  • I let the phone sit in uncooked rice for an endless 72 hours! That was pure torture. If you only have one phone, I will pray for you. I never knew we depended on the thing this much. I totally felt disoriented the first couple of hours – no calls, no emails, no web browsing, no text messages, no twitter, no voice mails, no games. Luckily, I had several decommissioned phones around that I could use as “temps”.

Believe it or not, after 72 hours, I put the battery back on the phone and heard the most beautiful music in the whole world – a start up chime that indicated my phone was alive. I did it. I saved my drowned phone.

FYI, the weasels who manufacture these phones have inserted a tool that lets them know whether your phone went for a swim. Somewhere on your phone, usually below the battery, there is a white little circle or dot. When your phone gets wet, this dot changes color depending on the severity of the water damage. Some turn to pink (salvageable), others turn super red (God help you). Mine was half-n-half. My thinking is that this tool allows the phone manufacturers to laugh at you when you try to claim that the phone “just stopped working” and demand a replacement after you washed it with your laundry. Most phone warranties do not cover water damage.