How to fix a phone or other electronic device dropped in water

Every couple of years somebody asks me what to do about his or her phone which got dropped in water. The problem with water is the water can cause a short which can prevent the phone from operating immediately, and secondly the water can cause oxidation on solder joints causing the phone to stop working at some point in the future.

To resolve:
0) do not turn phone on
1) remove battery and battery compartment
2) The second rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club
3) shake out phone, then dry phone off thoroughly using paper towels.
4) let sit for several hours
5) set oven to 150-170 degrees Fahrenheit (65C-76C)
DO NOT PUT A PHONE WITH A BATTERY INSTALLED IN THE OVEN
6) place phone in oven for 15 minutes
7) enjoy!

I have used this myself, and 3 other people over the past 8 years, and it has worked fine for all of us. The issue with using a hair dryer is it does not get hot enough. Heat guns are not appropriate because most heat guns have two settings: melt plastic, and melt glass. Putting your phone in a bag of rice is goofy.

If you have an older phone which may have lead solder connecting components to the PCB, consider tossing the phone, or at least putting the phone in your mother-in-law’s oven.

If you have an iPhone, it may be difficult to remove the battery. Apple phones have moisture indicators inside the phone which turn pink on exposure to water. Even if you are within the warranty, Apple will charge you a bundle to replace your phone with a refurb because of the water damage. Your only shot to avoid paying the fee is to take your iPhone to a store, ask to speak to a Mac Genius, and tell him/her in a straight face these exact words: “I use my iPhone to help with my disability and my helper monkey threw my iPhone in the aquarium.” I’ve been told by a reliable source that it has worked in the past either because the Genius loved the story or the manager was afraid of the fallout if it were true and she charged for replacement.

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One Response

  1. that sounds logical!!

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