Saturday, September 21, 2013

What To Do if You Drop Your Phone in Water

Having worked in the cellular business for five years a while back, I can't tell you how many times I saw that look of despair on someone's face when they came looking for help when they had dropped their phone into water. Often times they'd try to get a new phone replacement free of charge, saying something like "I have no idea what happened - it just stopped working!" with an earnest look on their face. Of course, even back then, every phone had a water indicator underneath the removable battery, that went from white to red whenever it had been exposed to water. So needless to say, the jig was always up pretty quick.
What people are often never aware of is the true replacement cost of these phones. When you first get it, you benefit from the deal the carrier is giving you for signing up with them on one of those two or three year contracts. The cell phone provider takes a hit on the cost of the phone because they know they'll recoup those costs and more in the monthly bill you'll be paying. That's why you can get a new smartphone for around $200. Of course, if you drop it in water before your contract matures and you want to replace it, you'll need to fork over the actual hardware cost and that usually runs around $700. No joke.

So what can you do to avoid this costly misadventure? Well first and foremost, never take your phone into a bathroom with you. Of course you'll say "I'd never do that - how unhygienic!" but secretly I know you all do it because most of those unfortunate events involve either a toilet or a sink. It's not like you're all skipping through puddles and drop them while you film a remake of Singin' in the Rain. For many men it happens when they have their phone - understandably - in their back pocket and sit down to take care of some bathroom business and it falls out when their pants start approaching their knees. It also happens around pools, the kitchen sink, washing machines when left in a pocket, taking selfies on the beach during your vacation... Whatever the reason, it happens and it happens often.

If you find yourself in this predicament, grab the phone out of the water and turn the phone off immediately to avoid short-circuiting. If it went into a sink or bath while also attached to the charger then do NOT touch the phone. No phone is worth electrocuting yourself. Go turn off the power and then deal with it.

Secondly, use something absorbent like paper towel to dab up all the water drops and begin taking the back cover off the phone, and then removing the battery and SIM card. Set all parts out on a towel and keep dabbing every nook and cranny to soak up even the tiniest drop of water. Use a vacuum if you like (to suck water UP) but don't use a hairdryer (that pushes water IN).

Thirdly, many people place all the parts in a bag of rice overnight as rice is known to draw out and absorb moisture, and shouldn't damage your phone. Other options are putting the parts in a plastic zip bag with one of those little silica gel packets that come with certain clothing items or purses, as they soak up moisture too. 

There is now a cool new product called the EVAP Rescue Pouch available at Best Buy, and Future Shop for around $20 that will do the same thing - suck out the moisture within 24 hours.

I can't guarantee these will work, as it depends on the amount of water damage that was done, but you're welcome to give them a shot.

Wait 24 hours and then turn it back on and hope for the best. This may seem like an eternity to be off the grid, but it's still better than shelling out $700 for a new phone.  And next more careful ok?  :)

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