DROPPED YOUR MOBILE PHONE IN WATER. NOW WHAT DO I DO

7th March  2017
DROPPED YOUR MOBILE PHONE IN WATER. NOW WHAT DO I DO

For Otilia.

What happens when you drop your mobile into water?  Data can be wiped, all the pictures are gone, the screen no longer responds to our finger swipes and once that wet stuff gets into the fine, delicate circuitry that sits under the phone’s bonnet it’s as good as toast.  Repair fees can be very costly and often the guarantee doesn’t cover accidental damage where the user has been negligent. 

A lot of us have done it; it is estimated that some 80 million smartphones get dropped in the drink each year.  19% of us do it in the toilet!  Then you might be pleased to hear about a new smartphone - the Comet smartphone IPx7 rated, 32 GB wunderkind, you can happily drop it into the swimming pool, toilet or washbasin and it will come away unscathed.  WHY? Because this mobile phone actually floats. 

Yes, I’ll write that again—it FLOATS!

So what if you don’t have a Comet smartphone, what can you do if you drop your mobile phone in water?  Well that’s a million-dollar question.  Was your mobile in a case?  How long was it submerged?  With some phones you can take out the battery, which stops any electrical shorting.  Any peripherals locked in, SIM and SD cards, take them out. Don’t start pressing buttons on the device, just switch it off.

There’s a school of thought that says use a vacuum cleaner to suck the water out.  Or a hair dryer to dry the water out, resist the thought.  You may just be spreading the water elsewhere inside the phone.  Or applying heat into the tiny portals of a mobile phone can heat up the water to become steam which then travels everywhere inside your phone.

There are millions of wondrous revival stories on Google, so go right ahead - it’s your phone!  But remember this - the mobile phone repairmen’s absolute favorite sit-around-a-camp-fire advice story:

Submerge the whole mobile phone into water and then place it in the fridge!

Yep, I had to read the line three times to think how dumb it would it would be to do that, why? 

Don’t put your mobile phone in the fridge, it’s stupid, and even more stupid to put it back in water.  Mobiles don’t like extremes of temperature, just as I might tell you not to leave your mobile phone out on the beach, in the sun.

So what’s the best way to go. Burying your mobile phone in a bag full of uncooked rice Rice, apart from tasting very nice, has hygroscopic properties that help to absorb moisture.  Place the mobile phone in a sealable plastic box with lots of uncooked white rice, or silica gel sachets if you have any spare.  You can even use cat litter, if your really stuck.

How long should you leave it in there? 24-48 hours should suck out the water.  And it’s simply a case of fingers crossed. 

SAFETY MEASURES AGAINST WATER DAMAGE…

  • Buy a waterproof case for it, or keep your mobile somewhere EXTRA safe when you are in the bathroom, kitchen, at the swimming pool or generally near water;
  • Don’t send texts when you’re using the toilet, use your mobile to lift up the toilet seat. Or have your mobile phone in your back pocket, as it may slip out.
  • Grab it from a potentially watery grave and switch it off.  If it’s on, it may short-circuit and ruin your chances of salvaging it;
  • If it’s been in water, DO NOT PLUG YOUR MOBILE INTO A WALL SOCKET, to charge up the battery or for any other reason;
  • Remove the SIM card, or any other cards, storage, peripherals etc;
  • Do not blow dry it, or stick it back in water.  Nor take it apart if you don’t know what you’re doing;
  • The very best course of action is to take your phone to a qualified repair person and allow them to break the heart-breaking news - or not!
  • Absolutely DO NOT lie to your network or insurance provider! There are internal indicators that show if a mobile phone has been in water;
  • And here’s one last tip: if you have a smartphone, always back up your data. Annoying as it is, those extra money-per month notifications that mobile companies keep sending you when your storage is full just might save those invaluable pictures of you as a backup.