the watery grave
Since phones were small enough to fit in your pocket, people have been dropping them in every kind of liquid they can think of. Swimming pools, bath tubs, hot tubs, rivers, lakes, oceans, soft drinks (yes soft drinks), toilets, and worst of all… port-a-johns. I’m sure there’s plenty of other liquidy substances people have dunked their beloved electronics into, but we have seen all of these more than once. That’s right, we’ve had more than one person rescue their phone from a port-a-john. Thats devotion. Or psychosis. Either way, no one wants to say goodbye to their phone before its time has truly come. THAT is why I’m writing this blog about what to do and what NOT to do if your phone decides to do a cannon-ball into your chicken soup.
First of all, to quote the great Jack Handy, “if you drop your phone in lava, let it go, because, man, it’s gone.” I think the same could be said for port-a-johns… but apparently not. So let’s say you dropped your phone in a liquid besides lava, what do you do next?
Step one- and this is the MOST IMPORTANT THING IN YOUR LIFE RIGHT NOW, turn it off! I know what you’re thinking, “but how will I know if it’s ok?” Well, you won’t, but I can promise you this, if water got inside your phone, and you turn it on, it WON’T be ok. Remember how we were taught as kids not to play with electricity in water? Thats because water is a great conductor of electricity. If there’s a drop of water inside your phone, and you turn it on, the water will act as a conductor and short circuit any parts of the motherboard it is touching (think Doc Brown at the end of Back to the Future).
Step two- If you can, open your phone and GENTLY dry off any water, soup, or ranch dressing with a paper towel. You don’t want to spread the liquid anymore than it already is. Even though your phone is off, anything metal that has touched water now has a new evil nemesis. Corrosion. Remember that bike you bought your freshman year to “get in shape” that’s now frozen with rust and reclaimed by vines? Well, the inside of your phone is prone to the same debilitating law of nature. Metal + water = rust. Throw in some tiny electronics and a lithium battery and you’ve got yourself a real mess on your hands. More on corrosion in a second.
What about rice? Here’s the deal, if it’s all you’ve got, sure. Put your phone in a bag of rice. But rice is not a miracle fix for wet phones. If you have any little silica packets, you know, the things that come in shipping containers or dry foods that say DO NOT EAT? Those are supposed to be better at drying up moisture. Just don’t eat it. I probably wouldn’t recommend eating the rice either. Especially if your phone was rescued from a toilet.
Next, have you noticed how I still haven’t told you to turn your phone on? That’s because even if you let it dry out for several days, there are still many reasons to NOT turn your phone back on. The biggest of which is what I mentioned before: corrosion. Odds are, the inside of your phone looks like your old bike now. Even if it’s dried out. This is what tricks people. They wait a few days to turn on their phone, and then, to their amazement, IT WORKS! IT’S A MIRACLE! BUT…there’s a silent killer lurking in their phone. A ticking time bomb. A trojan horse. A destroyer of dreams and happily ever afters…corrosion. We see this all the time. Someone’s phone gets wet, they do the first steps, and then, inevitably, something inside gets fried. It can be anything. The screen, the battery, the speakers, the microphone, the digitizer…anything. Once the inside of your phone starts rusting, it’s only a matter of time.