Smart Phone Hacks: 8 Steps to Save Your iPhone May 26 2017

iPhone in Rice
Steven Depolo

Dropped an iPhone in the water?
Now what?

Don't stick your cell phone in a bag of rice. The rice only removes about 14% of the water and leaves the water inside the phone untouched.


1st step

Shut off your iPhone

This will help prevent a short circuit and reduce further damage to the device. 

2nd Step

Don't plug in your charger

Water and electricity don't get along. Just imagine liking an exposed electric wire. Our body will probably not appreciate the electric current.  

3rd Step

Open the iPhone and clean

Opening the device and removing the excess water is crucial to its survival. Preferably take it to a cell phone repair shop. Let a professional handle your iPhone, but that is just our recommendation. 

These three steps are a simplified version on what you should do if you accidentally got your iPhone liquid (water) damage. You should do these steps even if your device shows no signs of damage. Who knows, maybe your lucky and have no liquid damage or maybe your device will have a delayed reaction. My point here is to not wait. 

Leave a comment down below if you have any questions. Our staff is more than happy to assist you.

Rice or No Rice 

First we need to address the elephant in the room. We've  all heard myth. Put your cell phone in a bag of rice for a couple of days and MAGIC! I'm here to advice differently and debunked this myth. Don't get me wrong, studies have shown that rice absorbs about 14% of the liquid present outside the the device. But this method fails to absorb liquid/water inside the cell phone. The liquid inside the device is what you should be concerned about, not the exterior of the device.

About 80% of our customer that come in for water damage repair claim to have had no success after placing their cell phone in a bag of rice. It is common to see liquid and corrosion present in these liquid damaged devices. Which is why we highly recommend turning off the device and not plugging in your charger. Corrosion and short circuit is the leading cause of cell phone malfunction. Even the slight amount of liquid inside the device can cause a short circuit. Therefore it's important to avoid any interaction with electricity until this problem is address.     

But what about the those individuals that had success with putting a cell phone in a bag of rice? The answer is simple, the device was spared from any internal damage. Smartphones nowadays all have some sort of water resistance. The most common iPhone 6/6 plus can resist a few seconds of water before it starts becoming an issue.   

8 steps that will increase the chances of your water damage iPhone in surviving

Step 1: Take your device out of the liquid

Remove the cell phone from the liquid as soon as possible. This may take a few seconds to a few minutes. Depending on how sanitary the situation is and accessibility of getting the device out the liquid. The devices survival decreases the longer the device remains in the liquid.

Step 2: Turn Off Your Device

Immediately turn off your device and remove the battery if possible. Water and electricity just don't get along. Therefore cutting any electricity flow will increase the cell phones chances of surviving.  

Step 3: Don't plug in your charger

Just don't expose the device to any type of electricity. What we want to avoid in steps 2 and 3 is to prevent any type of short circuit and corrosion (which can be very expensive to repair).

Step 4: Rinse the device with fresh water (may not be applicable if the device was already dropped in fresh water)

Rinse the device with fresh water if the device is dropped in liquid including the following; sea water, salt water, lake water, any acidic liquids, urine, soda, water mixed with soap, beer and so forth.

Step 5: Open the device (this may be the last step)

You need to remove and properly clean any liquid inside the device.  If you want to attempt cleaning the device yourself then iFixit has step-by-step tutorial guides on opening devices. You can also purchase a startup opening kits from iFixit. I would advice against this method unless you already have the parts, equipment, and prior experience on opening electronic devices. Furthermore, different cell phones devices have different levels of difficulties and can be damaged even further if not careful. Continue with steps 6-8 if your considering opening your device. 

Instead, take it to a cell phone repair store.They have the proper tools necessary to open and sanitized the device properly. Furthermore, most repair stores have a "no fix, no charge" policy. Essentially risk free.

Google "cell phone repair store near me". That Google search should give you a list stores near your city. There is a lot of shady companies out there so read reviews about the company. A handful of great reviews means they can be trusted with your device. Call the business to ask what policies and warranties they have for water damage devices. Cell phone repair stores charge any where from $50-100 dollars to properly clean and remove liquid damage. This price usually doesn't include parts that need to be replaced. 

Step 6: Clean off the excess liquid with a paper towel. 

Once the device is opened remove all the liquid present inside the device. A fully dissembled cell phone may be required. Use a dry paper towel to clean off any visible liquid.  Disconnect any ribbons connected to the motherboard and check for corrosion. Dissemble the device if you encounter corrosion and begin the thorough cleaning. You may not be required to dissemble the cell phone if you encounter very minimal liquid damage.

Step 7: Do a thorough clean

Things you need include:
  1. Clean Toothbrush
  2. 99% Alcohol 
Remove any plates blocking portions of the motherboard. Some plates may be soldered onto the motherboard so it may be impossible to remove all of them. Do the best on the portion of the motherboard that is accessible. Put some alcohol in a small cup and occasionally dip the tooth brush. With the toothbrush gently scrub the portions of the motherboard that have visible corrosion or sticky liquid. Let it sit for five minutes and gently scrub the motherboard again. Rinse and repeat this process three more times. 

Step 8: Let it sit for a few hours

Once your done cleaning the device let it sit there for an hour. Reassemble the device and hopefully this worked for you. But don't panic just yet if your device isn't turning on. It could be possible that a part isn't functioning properly and needs to be replaced. This would be a great time to take your device to cell phone repair store. Ordering the parts online may take a few days and its hard to diagnose which part is malfunctioning. 
Again, leave a comment down below if you have any questions or concerns. 
Thank you for reading and I hope this content was useful.