What Does Water Damage Do To Your Cell Phone?

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Most of us have probably felt our heart seemingly stop, the first time our cell phone goes for an unplanned swim and that dreaded term sweeps across your thoughts, water damage. You fish it out in a few seconds and it’s still working, what a relief! However over the next couple days the phone starts glitching out and suddenly it’s not working at all. Logical next step would be rice, right? Unfortunately, that’s a total myth, read on and find out the best measures you can take to save your water damaged cell phone.

The Best Drying Agent For Water Damage

If you really swear by placing your cell phone in some bag filled with a substance designed to draw and absorb moisture, white rice isn’t even the most effective. The absolute best bet to pull as much moisture from your phone would be placing the phone in silica gel. Silica gel is that substance inside of the little sachets you find inside of the new sneakers you purchased. It’s pretty uncommon to just have this laying around the house however, the best colloquial remedy would be instant couscous. Instant couscous has been steamed before purchase and therefore has exposed more of its starch and will allow it to absorb a tiny bit more water. The important part here is that the phone gets shut down immediately and stays that way for at least 24 hours in a warm, dry environment.

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My Phone Might be Water Damaged, Help!

I’m going to explain here, step by step, what you can do to maximize the chance of saving your phone and all your priceless data. Ideally your phone is set to back up whenever it’s charging and connected to WiFi or you do it manually frequently. If that’s not the case and your phone is over 50% battery, attempt a cloud back up, under no circumstances should you try and plug the phone in to back up. The safest option is to immediately turn the phone off to slow down the spread of corrosion. Secondly do your best to wipe the phone down and shake out any water from the phone that you can. Finally use a different device to look up your nearest third party repair shop to have them open the phone and clean it out, this is often a very inexpensive trip unless actual repairs are needed!

I Placed My Phone In Rice And It Worked Fine

The reality of this situation is that you got very lucky. Phones are becoming more and more water resistant, through how they’re sealed and how the components are built and secured to the phone. The vast majority of phones that have just a brief few seconds spent in water and are immediately shut down and dried out as best as possible, will end up working down the road. The key here is that the water is freshwater (not salt water or heavily mineralized) and that the phone has no power to its circuitry. By doing this, there’s no chance for water damage to set in.


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What Exactly Is Water Damage?

This is something that is often overlooked, it’s not exactly the water that will fry the circuitry of your cell phone. The actual damage is a direct result of the water getting inside your phone, but it’s the process of using the phone while its circuitry is wet. The actual damage is caused by corrosion, more commonly known as rusting! That’s right, just like your car a cell phone is filled with all sorts of metal components and when left to sit in water will corrode over time. This process will be greatly expedited when water is exposed to an electrical current as water is a natural conductor.

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How Do I Tell If My Phone Is Waterproof?

Every commercially available cell phone sold in North America over the past 8 years has some sort of “Water Resistant Rating”. You’ve probably seen or heard that the iPhone X is water resistant for up to 1 meter of depth and for as long as 30 minutes. These ratings directly correspond to an IP Code (Ingress Protection Code), which comes in the format of IPXX, XX being 2 numerals from 0-6 and 0-9 respectively. Using the same example above, the iPhone X is IP67, the first numeral demonstrates the solid particle protection while the second tells us about the liquid ingress protection. A score of 6 means the phone is totally dust tight and the 7 demonstrating the phone can stand immersion in water for 30 minutes at a depth of 1 meter at the most. For anyone interested in the most rugged and waterproof phone, you’ll want to look at Apple’s iPhone 12 series, Apple claims the phone is good for 30 minutes up to 6 meters in depth!

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