July 24, 2014

How to Save a Phone: Tips and Tricks to use Pre and Post Water Damage

Photo Credit: Google Images
  Did your smart phone take a dip in the pool this summer or maybe it went body surfing in the pacific? We have all been there, where we forget about the phone in our pocket and it ends up at the bottom of a pool of water. With so many tips and tricks on recovering your phone after water damage it’s hard to know which one(s) to use. Here are some tried and true tips that may just save your precious phone and prevent you from having to shell out for a new one.

The obvious tip is to fish it out of the water as soon as possible, the quicker you are, the better chance you have at reducing the damage. The survival rate for water damaged phones really depends upon how long the phone was submerged. Your phone may not be too damaged if you take it out of the water right away. A longer period of immersion, such as being in the washing machine cycle, is more cause for concern. It is still worth trying the following steps to attempt saving the phone, before giving up.

Post Water Damage

How to Save Your Phone after Water Damage

1. After removing the phone from water, quickly gather some paper towels or soft cloths to lay the phone on. Next, remove the battery, however if you have a handset where the battery cannot be removed, then you’ll just have to switch the phone off. This is one of the most important steps to saving it. Many circuits inside the phone will survive immersion in water provided they are not attached to a power source (battery) when wet.

2. The next step is to remove the SIM card. SIM cards survive water damage well, but getting it out immediately makes good sense. Pat it dry and set it aside to dry out until you reconnect your phone to your cell network again. (If your phone does not have a SIM card, skip this step). Side Note: Verizon and Sprint are the only US carriers that does not use SIM cards.

3. After you have removed the battery (or turned the phone off) and removed the SIM card you will need to remove all other peripherals such as ear buds, or any phone cases or protective covers. Remove all plugs that cover the gaps, slots, and crevices in the phone to expose them to air drying.

4. Dry your phone with a soft rag or towel. If there is even one drop of water left inside, it can cause the circuits to corrode or short out. Gently wipe off as much water as possible without dropping the phone. Try not to shake the phone or move too fast so as not to move the water around the inside of the phone.

5. If you pulled the battery out in time, cleaning the inside of your phone with rubbing alcohol will displace the water which alone could remedy the problem.

6. If your phone is still damp there is another option to remove all the residual moisture.  Suck the liquid out of the inner parts of the phone with a vacuum cleaner held over the affected areas for up to 20 minutes in each area. It is important to note that you should keep the phone a few inches away from the vacuum cleaner, as a vacuum can create static electricity, which is even worse for the phone than water.

7. For best results in minimizing water damage give your phone as much time to air dry as possible.  The probability of a fully functional phone post water damage is directly porportional to the amount of time you allow your phone to dry.
Even if you are a person who rarely experiences a calamity of this magnitude, always remember that water and portable electronics aren't the best of friends. In fact you may characterize it as Kanye West vs. the world. Get my drift?

Pre Water Damage

How to Prevent Your Phone From Water Damage

1. Never bring it with you to the bathroom but if you must keep a tight grip.

2. Place your cell phone in a waterproof case when participating in water-related activities.  If you are having difficulties locating such a case you can use a ziplock bag as a temporary protective membrane similarily to a condom, this will protect against harmful fluids.

3. Before you dive in for a swim, remove your phone from areas where puddles form or where water leaks.
Rule of thumb: Never swim or bathe with your electronic devices.

5. Gear options and accessories for your phone, such as skins and waterproof cases, are available both in shops and online. If you need to multitask and do things that expose your cell phone to the elements, then these will provide additional protection.  Check out Otterbox.com and search for there preserver series.  This fabulous yet expensive water resistant case provides excelent protection against water. If you aren't fond of  cell phone cases try a cell phone skin from liquipel.com  instead. This will provide unrivaled protection against the elements.

8. Always remove your cell phone from your pocket the minute you get home. Just in case you forget the pocket rule, you should make it a habit to always examine your pockets before tossing your dirty clothes in the hamper or washing machine so the mechanical monster won't munch on your cell phone.

9. Make certain that it is well protected from storms or rain. When it rains, always use an umbrella, and never make phone calls. During the rainy season, it might be a good idea to keep your cell phone in either a waterproof bag or case. Make sure to keep it within the covering of your umbrella and keep it covered with your hand if answering a call in the middle of the rain is unavoidable. Another option is to purchase a hands-free headset for making calls, so you don't have to take your phone out of your bag.

10. If you’re exercising with your smartphone, protect it from sweat. The same rule applies if your smartphone’s surface gets wet or damp. Immediately pat or wipe off all surface moisture with a soft dry cloth.

I hope that at least some of these suggestions will be of use to you during your summer sabbatical.
At any rate remember that its always smart to protect your phone.  See you at the pool!

Sources Used:
Metro-Goldwin-Meyer MGM Pictures "Robocop"

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