When it happens, it seems as though time stands still. Your phone slips out of your hand and falls into the sink, a puddle, decorative fountain or (heaven forbid) the toilet. You hear that dreadful "thwump" sound as it hits the surface of the water, then quickly sinks into the land of no return.
This dreadful occurrence has probably happened to you at least once or twice. And it's always at the worst possible time when you can't afford to go minutes without your phone, let alone hours or days while getting it replaced or repaired.
But does this scenario have to be a death sentence for your smartphone? Is there anything you can do to save it before it's too late?
While we can't guarantee that these tips will rescue every drenched phone in existence, we can tell you that they'll increase your chances of rescuing your phone before too much damage takes place. We'll also share some tips on what you shouldn't do if you want to avoid creating more damage.
The right way to rescue your phone from water damage
Step 1: Get it out of the water immediately
You've probably heard of the "10-Second Rule" when you've dropped some food on the ground. According to this rule, as long as you pick the food up within 10 seconds, you don't have to worry about contamination.
While there may not be any scientific evidence to prove that really works with food, when it comes to water damaged electronics, there is some wisdom in this logic. Don't let yourself get hung up on the number. The point we're trying to drive home isn't about the timestamp. Basically, what we're trying to say is: Get your gadget out of the water as fast as you can!
This may mean you'll be taking an unexpected swim while fully dressed, or plunging your hand into some unfathomable places. But, if you want your device to survive this accident, you're going to have to act quickly. The longer it sits submerged in the liquid, the more likely it is to be ruined.
Step 2: Turn the power off
Once you've rescued your gadget from the liquid itself, you need to shut down the power. If your gadget lets you remove the battery, you should do it. Otherwise, just power it down with the On/Off button.
An important note for this part of the process is that you shouldn't tinker around with your phone trying to see if it still works. Don't press buttons. Don't see if apps will load up. You need to cut the power as quickly as possible.
Step 3: Dry it off
Now that the power is turned off, use a clean towel to dry up any excess water you can. If you can open the back of your device and remove the battery, then gently pat over the internal electronics (be very, very careful). Using the tip of one corner of the cloth, try to remove any liquid that is inside the outer portals, such as the charging and audio ports.
Once you've removed as much water as you can, let your gadget air dry for several hours. Do not power your device back on until it's completely dry.
The wrong way to rescue your phone from water damage
Don't: Try to dry your phone out using a blow dryer, microwave, oven, space heater or any other unconventional method. It may seem that these methods will dry things up faster, but they'll also ruin the electronics inside your device in the process.
Don't: Use compressed air to try and dry out your phone. Unless it's done extremely carefully, you're more likely to blow the water into other areas of your phone that will cause even more damage.
Don't: Place your phone in a bag of dry rice to remove the moisture. While the rice may absorb some of the water from your gadget, it's not going to dry up all of the water that's inside it. Plus, you run the risk of getting residue from the rice inside the ports along the edges.
A better alternative would be Desiccant Packs. You can buy these on Amazon for around $10 per bag, or you can start collecting the ones you're already getting for free. You know, those little packets that are tucked inside shoes and all sorts of other products you're buying. These packets absorb moisture without the messy consequences. There are also "Dry Bags" you can purchase on Amazon for around $7 - $12 that are specifically designed for pulling moisture out of an electronic gadget.
What if your data can't be recovered?
If you follow these tips, there's a good chance that your device will survive its little swim. However, if your phone was submerged for too long, it may not be recoverable. This is just one of the reasons we tell you regularly about our sponsor IDrive. There are so many ways your data could be lost, from equipment malfunctions to device theft, malware infections and more. If you lose your phone or tablet to any of these threats, you could lose everything stored on them forever.
Don't take the risk! For less than you're paying for your daily cup of coffee, you could have backup protection for each of your devices. IDrive's Universal Backup protects up to five devices including smartphones and tablets. All of your data is stored under one convenient account and with cross-platform compatibility. And IDrive maintains up to 10 previous versions of your backed up files so you can go back to a previous version of a document if needed.