How to Fix Water-Logged Cell Phones

This past weekend, it was raining outside.  I was out getting groceries and before ducking into the store, I collapsed my umbrella, shook off the excess water, rolled it up, and put it in my bag.  Usually, my phone, keys, and wallet are kept in separate compartments in my handbag, but since I was picking up groceries, I had everything jumbled up in a pile at the bottom of my tote bag.  Things got a bit too wet and when I went home and grabbed my phone to send a text, I noticed the backlight was blinking crazily and the touch screen wasn’t as responsive.  When I swiped at the applications, it would start and stop again like a game of freeze tag.

I immediately powered down the phone and wiped off any visible traces of water with a wad of Kleenex.  Gingerly, I popped open the back case and did the same thing.  Although I didn’t plunge the thing completely in water (which is what may happen to you if you overturned a beverage at dinner with your phone on the table or accidentally dropped it in the toilet, pool, etc.), a lot of moisture still made it’s way inside.  After drying it off, I carefully removed the battery.  This is one of the most important things to do if you happen to get your phone wet.  Most people don’t know this, but the warranties you buy on phones are voided if your phone was damaged by water (the most common way phones are effed up).  They want to keep your money, not actually fix it for you.  Additionally, these cunning sons of guns also install “water/moisture” detector stickers on the side of all batteries to check for water damage if you happened to bring it in for service.  It’s an easily visible white square that turns a shade of red once it touches water (in great or small quantities).  In my attached picture, you can see that I am clearly screwed, as mine has changed colors and my phone wasn’t even completely submerged, just exposed to some rain.

P1070426If you take it in for service, make sure the sticker is still white (or borrow a friend’s w/o warranty – lol).  Many Pinnochios have tried bluffing the store associate or technician for the warranty; they have all failed.  When drying your phone out, be very careful not to get the battery wet.  After drying it out as much as you can, grab a blow dryer and run it over your phone on the COOL setting.  (Never use the hot setting–it will kill your circuits.)  If you’re a dude that’s never really touched a blow drier, just switch it to “cool” after you turn it on.  Some models don’t have this option; instead, they may have a button sticking out you can press to turn off the heating coils.  This button is usually either blue or will have a symbol over it that looks like a bunch of wavy dashes.

P1070423

After your phone is completely dry, put it in a bag with silica gel (those beads you find in shoeboxes, handbags, or wallets).  Most of you don’t just have this stuff lying around (I do because I own way too many shoes and handbags for my own good), but most department stores usually do.  If you go to a place that sells leather goods, you can try asking the associates if they can give you these if they have them in their stock room or when new merchandise comes in.  Usually, once new goods are unpacked, they just toss these.  Place the silica on the same side as the screen.  Touch screens are very prone to damage since there is only a thin layer of glass on top of the circuitry and water easily seeps through the glass.  Make sure you get this as dry as possible.

Place the phone face up in a tupperware full of dry rice and close the lid.  I put mine in an UNSEALED bag beforehand.  If you don’t have rice on hand, you can also use slices of dried bread.  Leave the bread out on a plate to dehydrate to the point that it is hard.  Rice and bread like to rehydrate, so they have a habit of soaking up anything with moisture.

After a day or two, take your phone out (being careful not get rice into any crevices) and power it up.  Hopefully this does the trick.  It did for me!  Some technicians say this is bogus, but then again, how else are they gonna take your money from you?!?  Give this a shot before taking your phone back to the store.

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