Any damage to our beloved smartphones can feel like a complete disaster, as they have become a fundamental part of our lives. Luckily, when it comes to water damage, there are tried-and-tested methods you can use to reduce the likelihood of permanent damage. You might even be able to prevent any damage whatsoever, though it depends on the amount of water your phone was exposed to, plus its tolerance for being submerged.
Step 1: Turn off your phone
Immediately switch off your device if it comes into contact with a large amount of water. Do not push any other keys or buttons, as this could cause further damage if your phone short-circuits. Most phones have will have some level of IP waterproofing, typically at least IP67. This means your device will likely be protected against one metre of submersion. If you don’t know your smartphone’s IP grade and it’s taken a dip, make sure it gets switched off.
Step 2: Remove key components
Once your phone is switched off, remove the SIM card. Most modern smartphones have the SIM card housed in a tray on the side of the phone; this can be opened with a small pin.
Next is the battery, located within the back of the phone. If you can remove the backplate, take out the battery. Some phones have backplates that are tricky to remove, so don’t worry if you can’t get to the battery.
Finally, remove any microSD cards from your phone. These are usually located in a slot on the side of the phone.
Step 3: Clear any excess water
Dab away any water you can see on your phone with a kitchen towel; clean as thoroughly and carefully as you can. Try and gently clear away any water near ports on the phone, such as the charging port or headphone jacks.
Rubbing rather than dabbing could cause water to travel further into the phone and cause further damage.
Step 4: Prepare a bag of silica gel or rice
You can buy bags with silica gel that are made to dry out wet phones, and they’re a great option if you’re preparing in advance for any accidents.
If not, and you need to get your phone dried ASAP, it’s time to grab a freezer bag and rice. It might sound bizarre if you’ve never heard of this method before, but while it isn’t quite as effective as silica gel, the drying properties of rice are well-known in the tech space and it can be a natural miracle for soaking up water inside devices. Put your phone in the bag and fill it up with as much rice as you can, until it is surrounded. Whether you use silica gel or rice, leave it to do its thing for up to 48 hours.
Step 5: Power back up
After the 48 hours have passed, take out your phone and try power it back up. If these methods haven't worked, then you may need to get the phone professionally repaired or look at getting a new phone.
Protecting your devices in future
Hopefully, our guide has helped you get your phone back up and running following any accidents with water. Most phones have a level of Ingress Protection (IP) that may protect your device up to a specific depth. If you are regularly working around water or are prone to dropping your phone, it’s worth looking at smartphones that have a higher level of IP, such as Apple’s iPhone 13 Pro Max which carries an IP68 rating.