Your phone is an electric device, one that is powered by a battery. As you probably know water and electricity don’t mix well. Getting any electrical device wet can cause it to short out.
So if your phone didn’t turn itself off, turn it off and leave it off.
Submerged phones are often wet inside for up to 48 hours so don’t turn it back on. If you do, you’re diminishing the chances that your phone will survive because being on with water inside can cause permanent and unrepairable damage.
Water can kill your phone but more often it’s actually corrosion that is the bigger danger. That’s why putting your phone in rice is not the answer.
We wish this myth would go away because we see so many phones that we could have saved but because it was put in rice for a few days where it sat there, corroding away, the phone cannot be saved from the permanent damage the corrosion caused.
Sure, rice can help dry out a phone and the phone could work for a few days, a few weeks or maybe even a few months but in the end the corrosion will catch up with it and by the time it stops working from corrosion that has been eating away at your phone for days, weeks or months, it’s probably too late. We see this over and over and over again.
Maybe you’re thinking to yourself, well maybe I’ll try rice and maybe I’ll just get lucky and if it doesn’t work I’ll do something else. Sure that happens but it’s rare and it usually means there was a ton of water softener in the water the phone was exposed to.
All liquids have some minerals in it and those minerals are going to eat away at the phone’s circuit board. Meanwhile, you’ve waited a few days allowing the corrosion to eat away at your phone and decrease the chances that it will work again.
The sooner we get the phone after the liquid exposure the better. If we get the phone while it’s still wet, within a couple of hours from the liquid exposure, the chances are excellent that we can get your phone working. The longer you wait, the chances that your phone will survive are diminished. Corrosion often starts immediately especially with very mineral rich water such as the ocean, lakes, rivers or swimming pools (and spas) that use bromine.
Just a quick note because we hear this all the time, “My phone was only in the toilet for two seconds!” These devices are not air or water tight. It doesn’t matter how long the device was submerged, as soon as it’s submerged or as soon as something significant is spilled on it, it immediately gets wet inside.
iPhones have a bunch of plastic in them, even at low heat the plastic can melt and you might have to get more parts replaced than you would have had to had you not put it in the oven.
This can force water into cracks and crevices in the circuit board and that doesn’t help.
Power it down (as mentioned above) and get your phone to our shop for service. The sooner we get it (see above) the better. If you choose to go to a different shop make sure that the service they provide is similar to what we describe below. We’ve seen many water damaged phones serviced by other shops where the phone was opened and dried out but not cleaned.
I know it sounds crazy but if your phone was completely submerged it’s better to dunk your phone in isopropyl alcohol for 10-20 seconds than it is to put in in rice. If it wasn’t totally submerged then we wouldn’t recommend dunking it in isopropyl alcohol as any submersion in liquid can damage your LCD. The isopropyl alcohol will help prevent corrosion from starting to eat away at the phone and cause the aforementioned permanent damage. Then leave it alone until you can get it to us. This is a last resort for situations when the phone was submerged, when you’re camping or in another situation that you can’t get your phone to any shop for service. Getting your phone to a shop for service in 12 hours or less is always the better course of action than dunking it in isopropyl alcohol.
When we get your phone we do a complete dismantle of the phone and all it’s removable parts. The circuit board and all parts with metal connectors and contact points, go through a cleaning process. Sometimes only one step is required, sometimes up to three steps is required depending on how bad the corrosion is. This process prevents corrosion from starting and removes any corrosion that may have already started eating away at the phone. We cannot troubleshoot any issues the phone may be having until we do this first step because if there is corrosion, that may be causing the problem you’re seeing. For example, we see many phones that people bring in for a screen replacement, don’t mention the liquid damage and when we open the phone we see corrosion around the components for the screen. It won’t help us to replace the screen until we deal with the corrosion because the corrosion is causing the screen to not function properly. After the phone dries out from the cleaning process we put it back together and do testing and diagnostics to see if the phone will work again. The cost of this service varies by model (see the page for each phone model for the pricing). This charge is a non-refundable labor charge that is due when you drop off the phone. The turnaround time for water damage service is a minimum of 6 hours. Often the service requires the phone to be in our shop overnight.
After we do the dismantle, cleaning and reassemble the phone there are three possible outcomes:
1. The phone works and has no issues. Cleaning up the corrosion was all that was needed and no other parts are needed
2. The phone needs additional parts to work such as a screen, battery or charging port. Every case is different and unfortunately we can’t give you an exact estimate on the end cost for the service of water damaged phone because we won’t know if additional parts will need to be replaced until we do the cleaning and then do diagnostics. If additional parts need to be replaced this would be at an additional cost and we will be in contact with you for approval of these costs and to give you advice on the best course of action.
3. The phone doesn’t work after the cleaning. This is always a possibility. Something could have shorted out in the phone while there was water inside or if you waited to get the phone to us, corrosion could have caused permanent damage that cannot be repaired, ie. the corrosion eats away and destroys components on the circuit board that can’t be replaced.
Because water damage and corrosion are unpredictable, there is no warranty on water damage repairs except for the part that was replaced. For example, if we replace the screen, we can warranty the screen but we can’t give any guarantee that the phone itself will keep working.
A note on risks: It is also possible that if you bring in a working phone with old water damage (water damage that happened usually more than 48 hours ago) that the phone won’t work after the service. This is a risk, it’s a little hard to explain but basically if the corrosion has progressed to a point of causing permanent damage, in rare cases it could temporarily be holding parts in place. This is rare because if the corrosion is this bad, it’s rare that the phone is actually working at all. What can happen in these rare cases is that removing the corrosion causes parts that were ready to break off to finally break off. I know it’s hard to understand but should this rare situation happen, the phone would have stopped working on it’s own and sooner rather than later. Again, time is of the essence, the sooner you get the phone to us, the better.