x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Don't go overboard when your phone goes underwater

Dropping your phone in water needn't mean the end of your handset. Our step-by-step guide may help revive it.

Submersion needn't mean the end of your handset.
Submersion needn't mean the end of your handset.

At some point in your life (not mine, I'm not that clumsy) you're going to drop your phone in some water. You shouldn't fight it, nor should you waste time avoiding puddles or sinks, because it's going to happen. The important thing is that you know what to do when it does, because without the correct paramedic-style immediate call to action, you're going to be just another one of those people requesting numbers on Facebook. And, let's face it, we're probably not going to give them to you.

Remove it from the water ASAP

This may seem fairly obvious, but for every second you stand there crying while pointing at your submerged handset, you're reducing the chances of it ever working again. Fish it out. If it's in a washing machine, this could be a bit tricky (and you might want to abandon all hope immediately).

Turn it off

If it's off already, then great. If you dropped it mid-banter (or, more likely, argument), you'll be needing to power that mother down (the phone, not the one you've just cut off). For most phones, that's easy, but if it's an iPhone you could get that spinning wheel of death, in which case just press and hold the home and power buttons until it shuts off.

Remove the battery and Sim

Basic science says that electricity and water don't mix well, so you'll be wanting to do this immediately. For most handsets, this is fairly easy, but if you've got an iPhone it's not possible (well, you did want to be different). Sim removal, however, should be fine for both (but iPhone users will need to find that fiddly paper clip).

Begin the drying process

Gently wipe as much water from your handset with a towel or paper towel, but being mindful not to shake it too much so that the water doesn't move about inside. You can also use a vacuum cleaner, but not too close as that can cause static electricity (another bad thing for your phone's general health). However, do not use a hair dryer, as this can force water deeper inside the phone.

Introduce Uncle Ben

A good drying method, particularly for iPhones, is to put the handset in rice - which has excellent absorbent qualities. Use dry, uncooked rice and not the 90-seconds variety (already moist), put it in a bag or Tupperware container with the phone completely covered and seal it so the air can't get in.


You should give your poor handset at least 24 hours before you attempt to turn it on again. For iPhones, give it three days (yes, I know, you'll just have to put that game of Draw Something on hold).

Push the button

Go on. Give it a go. If there's still nothing, you might want to risk taking it to pieces and very carefully drying each individual part (use a vacuum cleaner, but with some cloth over the nozzle so you don't suck the parts up). For iPhones (yes, you guys again), it's not quite that easy, is it? It might be worth contacting a professional, although if any of the "liquid contact indicators" (check in the headphone jack and dock connector areas) have turned red then that's your warranty gone. Tissues?