I have an uncanny ability to kill phones. Ashamedly, over the past two decades I have killed more phones than can be counted on one hand, and every massacre involved water (or beer). My high school days tended to involve being pushed into a pool or lake with a phone in my pocket, college it was bar toilets and once an unfortunately aimed drop into a pint of beer. But those days it was a butterfly-cased Nokia or Motorola Razr that bit the dust, something that came free with my phone plan and the frustration came only in having to track down all of my friends’ phone numbers again. It wasn’t until my 20s when I dropped my first iPhone in water and the meager paycheck from my first job wasn’t going to cover the replacement that the consequences really hit me.
So, after nearly 20 years of assassinating phones, here are the best practices I’ve learned for saving them (and for destroying them).
Myths – What NOT to do With a Dropped iPhone In water:
• Rice will make things worse.
Rice dust is your phone’s worst nemesis, even worse than water. Phones are sleek and tightly made, but rice dust is sneaky and it will get into the cracks and ports and jam your buttons and if the water didn’t kill your phone, the rice dust definitely will.
• Do not heat it in any way.
No blow dryers, no oven, no microwave, heating your device isn’t going to dry it, it’s just going to fry it.
• Don’t turn it on!
This is the hardest one, you want to check if it’s ok. Don’t do it, you’re much more likely to short circuit everything. Leave it off.
Miracles – Here’s what you should do to fix a water damaged phone:
Phones these days are resilient. I once dropped a smartphone off the dock into Lake Winnipesaukee. I had to walk to the marina, borrow a mask, dive down into the murky depths of who-knows-what to find it, pulled it out after about 20 minutes submerged at about 15 feet, and turned it on in working condition two days later. So, if you’re reading this in a panic, hold on to hope, there’s a chance your phone is going to be just fine. Here’s what to do:
1. Retrieve it Quickly
Many phones are getting closer to waterproofness, and can be submerged for a couple minutes at shallow depths. If this is your phone, just grab it, wipe it off, and go! Regardless, if your phone isn’t water resistant, the less time it spends in the water, the less damage is likely to be done.
2. Remove Your Case and SIM CardTake off anything that could trap water around it. (For an iPhone, insert a paperclip into the tiny hole halfway down the phone below the power button to pop out the SIM card).
3. Make Sure It’s Off and DON’T Turn it on!
Let it sit for 48 hours before charging it and turning it back on.
Drying Option 1:
Place it upright on a paper towel in a dry sunny place for 48 hours.
Drying Option 2:Keep a bag full of silica gel packets (my husband saves these for me, knowing my past luck with phones…) place your phone in the bag, prop it up in a window, and wait 48 hours to charge it up and turn it on. Fingers crossed you and your phone will come through the process unscathed and happy from a little time being “unplugged”.
How to prevent the plop:
Even better than saving your phone, is to never dunk it in the first place. I am proud to say that since learning about and using Nite Ize products over the past four years, I have not lost a single phone to water. I use the Hitch with Tether on a daily basis to keep a better hold of my phone. Steelie is my go-to for hands-free driving, but the magnet on my phone also makes it stick to things like the toilet paper dispensers in bathrooms so no more potty-swimming for my phone. And, when I get out on the water to go fishing or am hanging out at the pool, I have learned to always put my phone in a RunOff Waterproof Pocket – what a novel concept!