Here's What to Do If Your Smartphone Gets Wet

Smartphone under water
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Long gone are the days when a cell phone was simply a communications device. Nowadays your smartphone is your camera, photo album, itinerary keeper, navigator, and much more.

When we're on vacation, we're likely to take our smartphones to the beach, water park, and swimming pool. We take them hiking, kayaking, and skiing and expose them to whatever the day's weather brings. So what happens if your phone gets wet or even submerged in water? Can your photos and information be saved?

David Zimmerman, CEO of LC Technology and a global leader in data recovery, offers a list of dos and don'ts on how to protect your photos and data.

Dos and Don'ts

DO shut it down. Before you do anything else, turn off the phone. Leaving it on can short circuit the electronics and cause permanent damage. Shut off the power or your phone will be toast.

DO take the battery out. That goes for the SIM card and micro SD card as well. You want to get all of the phone's essential parts out and dry as soon as possible.

DO reach for a can of compressed air. Once you’ve removed the battery, try using a can of compressed air to remove as much water as possible. A few blasts of compressed air removes liquid quickly and can save your phone from getting waterlogged.

Don't have compressed air at home? This inexpensive product is frequently used to clean delicate or sensitive items such as computer components, dusty keyboards, or camera components.

DON'T immediately submerge your phone in rice. Instead, start saving up those silica gel packets that come with new clothes and other products. The little white packets are designed to absorb moisture and are better than rice because, unlike rice, silica gel packets are porous and can absorb more water. If you only have rice available, however, it's the next-best alternative.

Haven't been stockpiling silica gel packets? Consider purchasing a small quantity to keep for emergencies.

DO sit tight for 72 hours. Allow the phone to completely dry out. Let the phone remain submerged in silica gel packets (preferably in a sunny spot such as a window sill) for three days. It will be difficult to part with your phone for that long, but if it's necessary if you want your phone to survive.

If you allow your phone to dry out completely, there's less chance that the circuit board will short out when you power it back on.

DO rinse off other liquids first. If your phone has fallen into beer, soup, salt water, or any other kind of liquid, your first step is to rinse it off. It may feel counterintuitive to add more liquid, but the other substance can be more dangerous to your phone. For example, salt water can corrode electronic parts.

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