What to do if your smartphone gets wet

AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) — There’s nothing quite like taking a cool dip in a pool, lake or ocean on a hot summer’s day. Few things are worse than your smartphone accidentally diving into water.

Summer is a very dangerous season for smartphones, especially those that are taken to swimming pools, the beach or a lake. Today’s smartphones handle water much better than the phones of a few years ago.

None are waterproof, but they are water-resistant. Samsung and Google say their newer phones are water resistant to about one meter of water and up to 30 minutes. We are talking about the depth of the baby bath.

Apple, on the other hand, claims that its newer iPhones (the 12 and 13) are water resistant to a depth of six meters for 30 minutes. But that is if the phone is in good working order. Any phone with a cracked back or screen is not water resistant at all.

We spoke to Larry Murphy of electronics repair company Asurion who warns people that cracked screens let moisture in.

“You’re basically, the integrity of that screen is gone, so you can get the liquid in there,” he said.

Murphy also says the type of water matters. Fresh water is less harmful than chlorine or salt water.

“Salt water is very harmful to your device. Salt water is super corrosive,” Murphy said.

If you spend time on the lake and the phone falls from a boat or from your hands, it sinks to the bottom. If your phone drops in shallow water for a few minutes, you should be fine.

If it goes out and won’t come back on, shake it to get as much water out as possible. Blow into the speakers and charging port. You can also use a iPhone Shortcut until eject water from the speakers.

If you’ve done everything you can to manually remove water from the device, place it somewhere out of the sun to dry. Do not try to turn it on or charge it. If the phone still won’t turn on after a few hours then you will need to take it to a repair shop and a technician may be able to remove more moisture.

As for the rice trick? Murphy says it rarely works.

“We don’t recommend it. Not to say it doesn’t work every now and then, but we think it’s a short-term fix,” he said.

Instead of using a bowl of rice, Asurion suggests putting the phone in a ziplock bag with some silica gel packs often found in electronics packaging. These absorb more moisture than rice and no dust can enter the speaker or charging port.

If you’re going anywhere near water, plan ahead. Invest in plastic bags designed specifically for smartphones that can be completely folded over and closed to prevent drips.

They will float if the phone accidentally falls into the water. These bags also have a drawstring that you can put around your neck to prevent accidental falls. Other water-resistant cases protect the phone from heat if you accidentally leave the phone in the sun. They also float.

They’re both widely available for around $20. Murphy’s best advice if you’re taking a phone anywhere?

“Do yourself a favor and back up your information because that will save everyone a headache. It makes us more comfortable because we can say yes, we can back it up for you, or we can restore you pretty easily without too much fuss,” Murphy said.

Cracked screens and back covers can also allow moisture to create moisture inside the phone. It is best to have it repaired and keep the phone in a case when you go outside, especially near the water.

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