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How to fix your water-damaged phone

If your smartphone bore the brunt of this monsoon, don’t worry, all hope isn’t lost. This is how to perform basic first aid to revive your phone from water damage.

Have you been caught in the middle of a rain storm and got your phone soaked? Or worse, did it slip and fall into a puddle? Here’s a basic first aid you need to do in an attempt to save your phone. This is all very time sensitive and depends on how much water entered your device – so saving your phone isn’t certain.

Wheee, look at these expensive paperweights
  • Don’t even think about powering on your phone: First things first! Power off the device. Water short circuits or ‘fries’ circuitry only when there is electricity passing through it, so powering off the device before moisture gets in too deep can potentially save your device. Wipe it off as much as you can, with an absorbent paper or cloth towel.
  • Le old rice bowl trick: Bury it in a bag of uncooked rice and store it in a reasonably warm place. Any variety will do – chances are you already have enough in your kitchen. Uncooked rice acts as a natural desiccant or a drying agent, pulling in all moisture in the vicinity into itself. This should draw out the moisture that didn’t evaporate from within the phone (hopefully). Even better if you have enough of those silica gel packets you get in things like shoe boxes (you can buy them in some stores or online for less than 100 rupees). It’s a much better desiccant than rice and should be able to do a better job.
Yup. I’m going to save your phone
  • Get your waiting game on: Let the phone rest in the desiccant for 48-72 hours (Longer the better) and then try powering it on. This is the moment of truth, see if your phone boots up or not.
  • Take it to the pros: If you have an authorised service center nearby, take the phone to them ASAP (leave it in rice/desiccant till then) – they can strip the phone to it’s parts and wipe it down with 99% Isopropyl Alcohol. You can technically do this at home but we do NOT recommend it, you can end up doing more harm than good.
  • Get the last of it out: If your phone boots up, CONGRATULATIONS! But, there are chances your screen might have suffered damage due to the water, usually indicated by dark greyish black patches that show up against the backlight. To get rid of those ugly patches, download an app (something like this one) to keep your phone screen on and let it sit for hours on end – the heat generated should evaporate the water stuck in the screen. Repeat till you get rid of as many patches as you can (sometimes, it’s not possible to get rid of them all). If you are leaving it on overnight plugged in, you don’t even need an app, just Enable Developer Options, and enable the “Stay Awake” option.

Here’s hoping you never have to go through this panic attack! Stay safe this monsoon and keep your phone very very safe too! (Pssst, having a phone-sized ziplock bag in your pocket is a good idea).

Prithvi Sudhan

Prithvi Sudhan