What to do when you drop your phone in water

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So you’ve dropped your phone in water – don’t panic! Hopefully, your phone isn’t dead and if you’re lucky, you won’t need to buy a replacement. A little bit of water won’t hurt your phone too much, but there are ways to salvage your device if it’s more than a splash.

In this article, we’ll be discussing what you should do after dropping your phone in water and other liquids. If it’s simply a bit of water – say from a pool or from a toilet – your phone should be fine. But if it has been in the water for more than a moment, and if it’s not a water-resistant phone, you may need to replace the device.

Phone water damage: How do I save my phone?

  1. As soon as you remove it from the water: Immediately turn off your phone. If it was drenched in alcohol, salt-water, or another liquid, quickly wipe the phone over with a damp cloth. Other liquids will do more damage to a phone than water.
  2. Remove parts to allow the phone to dry: Remove the case, if you have one, and remove any SD and SIM cards slotted into the phone, and leave these ports open.
  3. Drying the phone: Wipe the phone over with a cloth or a paper towel (one that is lint-free), while being careful to not move water around inside the phone. Place the phone on top of a cloth or paper towel to dry, which will soak up excess moisture. This should also be done in a dry area.
  4. Wait for your phone to dry: Now all you have to do is wait, and hope that your phone isn’t too damaged to function. You may have to wait for up to two days for the water to dry completely. It’s difficult to tell, so leaving it for a longer period of time is better than trying to restart it too early.
  5. See if your phone is working: Hopefully, after one or two days of drying, your phone will be back to normal. Keep an eye on it for problems, and if any new problems arise, consider getting it repaired or replaced.

Things to avoid

  • Avoid the ‘rice solution’. You might have heard putting your phone in rice is a solution to your water-damaged phone woes, however this isn’t a reliable way to fix most modern phones. The water inside will need to dry on its own.
  • Avoid drying your phone with a fan or hairdryer. These won’t solve anything while you’re waiting for parts to work again on the inside.
  • Don’t attempt to charge your phone, press any buttons, or insert any items into the phone while it’s drying, as these can make the water problem worse.

Can a water-resistant phone be water damaged?

Water-resistant IP-rated phones are not waterproof! While water-resistant phones won’t have problems when splashed with water or used in a pool that’s not too deep, these phones could be damaged by water if put into the wrong conditions.

When you purchase a new phone, check for its IP rating. Typically for premium smartphones such as the iPhone 12 or the Samsung Galaxy S21, this will be advertised as ‘IP68’, which is the highest achievable score for a water-resistant phone. IP ratings can vary from model to model, and some phones will simply not have an IP rating at all. Check the manufacturer’s website to see what conditions your phone can handle.

Water-resistant iPhones & Samsung Galaxy phones

iPhone 12 Plans

The following table shows a selection of 24-month 64GB Apple iPhone 12 plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a wide range of telco providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

iPhone 12 Pro Plans

The following table shows a selection of 24-month 128GB Apple iPhone 12 Pro plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a wide range of telco providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plans

The following table shows selected published 24-month plans for the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our phone comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Samsung Galaxy S21+ Plans

The following table shows selected published 24-month plans for the Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our phone comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Is my SIM card water damaged?

Water can mean the end of your SIM card! If your SIM card is no longer working, it could be water-damaged, if your phone has encountered a splash.

If you’re thinking of getting a new SIM card to get your phone back on track, consider shopping around for a new phone plan too. Check out the table below for a snapshot of postpaid and prepaid plans, available from a range of providers. Alternatively, you can use our free phone comparison tool to find the plan that works best for you.

Here is a selection of postpaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database with a minimum of 10GB of data, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see a wide range of plans from other providers. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

Here is a selection of prepaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database with a minimum of 10GB of data, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see a wide range of plans from other providers. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

Is it safe to use a water damaged phone?

Although the phone might stop working after a while, it should be perfectly safe to use and charge after letting it dry out. If you notice any problems arise around safety, such as the phone overheating, consider getting the phone repaired or replaced.

How long will a phone last after water damage?

It’s difficult to say. Some phones will continue to work for their normal life cycle after encountering water, whereas some might last a few weeks. Problems might not immediately arise with your phone, but they may become present in the future.

Is my phone water damaged?

After following the above steps, time will tell if your phone is too water-damaged to function properly. If it was just a small splash, you shouldn’t have much to worry about. If it was more than a splash, you might need to consider a new phone. IP-rated phones are typically able to handle harsh water conditions, so if you have an IP-rated phone, you’re probably fine. If you’re considering getting a new smartphone, check out our ratings page to find the right one for you.

If your phone is turning on, functioning without any new bugs, and working as normal, great! You’ve gotten lucky… If your phone isn’t turning on, or it has new glitches or problems, it’s time to consider getting your phone repaired or getting it replaced.

If you’ve been lucky in this situation, then there are some ways to prevent you from water damage in the future. Simple measures like buying a water-resistant phone, or using a waterproof phone case or a protective screen cover can save you from stress in the future.

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