Dropped Phone In Water Screen Wont Work

Picture of Dropped Phone In Water Screen Wont Work

If you are like me you have dropped your fair share of cell phones, pagers, ipod’s, gameboy’s and camera’s in various bodies of water.  Come on who hasn’t had a pager ride your belt right into the urinal? Okay maybe that was just me. Over the years I have polished some techniques for reviving these electronic items resulting in a fair survival rate.  Frugal Fixes are a new feature here at FiscalGeek (what isn’t at this point) where we’ll publish some useful fixes around the host that could potentially save you a fair amount of money with some of your own elbow grease and ingenuity.

Time Commitment: 2-10 minutesHandiness Skill Level: BeginnerPotential Savings: $100’sMaterials: Jacked up Electronics Device, Isopropyl or Rubbing Alcohol, Container larger than your electronic device, rice (optional), Dri-Z-Air (optional) Time Tested Fix This technique is my go to for waterlogged devices. Remove the battery from the device.  This is critical, and do it as soon as possible, even if you are not going to follow this technique, this is your best chance for device survival.

Find a container slightly larger than the device that will hold liquid. Remove battery covers and other compartments so you can be sure to get into all areas of the device. Place the device in the container and fill with Alcohol completely submerging the device.  The alcohol will displace any water left in your device.  Jiggle the container around a bit to make sure the alcohol is able to drive out the water droplets in your device.

  You may need to weight your device to keep it under the water.  I would suggest a 5 minute period of soaking, you can vary the time based on your results and optionally repeat this step if you are not successful. Remove the device and put it somewhere to dry for an hour or two.  The alcohol will evaporate very quickly but be sure it’s really dry.  Q-tips are helpful as well to make sure you’ve got the item clean.

Reassemble your device and hopefully you are good to go.  If not you can repeat this step or try the Alternate Fix. Alternate Fixes These are longer term fixes that take some time but also have been used successfully by many people me included in a pinch.  Give any or all of these a try if you are unsuccessful with the Alcohol Fix. You can use a commercial product like the Bheestie Bag to remove the moisture.

You can see my real life test results in the FiscalGeek Video Review. It might be $20 well spent. Put the electronic device in a large Ziploc bag filled with dry rice.  The rice acts as a desiccant to remove water from the air and aids in drying your device out quicker.  The timeframe for this would be more like overnight than a few minutes. Put the electronic device in a sealed container with a Dri-Z-Air unit.

  These are used often in RV’s and damp areas and are available at the hardware store.  They are essentially a plastic container that holds their special desiccant.  It will remove a tremendous amount of moisture. The old hair dryer technique, just be sure not to get it to close and melt any components. Smash it with a hammer and buy a new device.  This one works every time. Disclaimer: Use these techniques at your own risk.

 FiscalGeek provides no guarantee of results but assuming your device is inoperable you don’t have much to lose. Good luck and be sure to let us know if you’ve had any success with these techniques. You can subscribe via RSS to be sure not to miss the next installment or also subscribe via email. Tagged as: cell phone, cellular phone, electronics, frugal, water damage

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Dunking a $650 electronic device into water is a pretty terrible feeling. The standard advice is to dry it off and stuff it into some rice, then cross your fingers and wait. But does that actually work? After accidentally dropping my iPhone for a swim into a pool of water where it was fully submerged, I had the unfortunate opportunity to test out the iPhone-in-a-rice-bag hypothesis, and I have good news; it actually works! Here is exactly what I did, and what I learned from the process of saving an iPhone from extensive water exposure with the good old rice bag trick.

The result is a completely functioning iPhone with zero water damage. 6 Things To-Do Immediately if iPhone has Water Contact Want to save your iPhone? Drop everything and do this first, before putting it in rice: Remove from water as soon as humanly possible (obvious, right? But seriously, seconds can matter here so move quick) Turn the iPhone off immediately by holding down the power button until it shuts off Remove any case or enclosure right away since they can trap in moisture, screen protectors are fine to leave on unless there’s an obvious water bubble Dry out the iPhone as best as you can using cloth (t-shirt, socks, whatever is readably available) or an absorbent material.

Wipe down the screen, sides, and back. Pay special attention to the power button, volume buttons, mute switch, speakers and microphones, and the audio output jack, try and get all visible moisture soaked up Use a Q-Tip if possible to try and soak up extra water from the audio output jack and in small crevices. If you’re out and about or have no q-tips handy, a little stick or sharp pencil poking through a t-shirt or cotton material can work too Disconnect any headphones, ports, chargers, USB cables, or accessories immediately Now with all visible water removed, you’re ready to stuff the iPhone into a rice bag (or a bag of silica gel packets, if you happen to have a bunch of those).

Put the iPhone Into a Sealed Bag Full of Rice Ideally you’d have a bag filled with silica gel packets, but who has that? Instead most of us have rice, and rice works. Here are the basic requirements: A zip-lock bag or similar that is air tight Rice, any generic type, ideally not “enriched” (more on that in a second) Patience for at least 36 hours Fill a zipper locked bag fairly full of rice so that the entire iPhone will be covered like in the picture below, then place the iPhone into the bag and seal it shut with some air in the bag.

Any type of rice works, but try to avoid enriched rice, the reason being that whatever enriches it leaves a lot of white residual powder in the bag and it will also get into the ports and buttons on the iPhone. Enriched rice does still work (it’s actually what I used), but knowing now that it leaves a lot of mystery white powder gunked up in places, I’ll probably go buy a bag of normal rice for any potential future water-meets-iPhone encounters.

The patience part is the hardest, and generally the longer you wait the better the likely outcome because you want all water inside the device to be completely absorbed by the rice before trying to power it on again. I left my iPhone in the air-tight rice bag for around 36 hours, but there’s no harm in leaving it in for 48 hours. Any less may work but it also could be inadequate, so therefore longer is better.

Success! Saved from Water Damage Once you’ve waited at least 36 hours, open the rice bag and check out the iPhone. If you suspect the iPhone has any residual moisture left in it at all, do not power it on. If all seems well, go ahead and turn it on as usual. If all goes well, it’ll power on as usual, and your iPhone will have survived the water encounter! Here’s my iPhone turned on for the first time after a full submersion in water, it works beautifully just as normal, and is dry as can be: This should work for almost every instance of severe water contact with an iPhone, though obviously for situations where an iPhone is soaking in water while turned on for 15 minutes or longer your likelihood of recovery is going to diminish dramatically.

Likewise, you’ll have much better recovery odds with fresh water than you would with salt water, simply because salt water is more corrosive. Soft drinks and sticky beverages will be more challenging as well since they leave more residue around, but as long as it dries out it will probably survive even if you dump a coke or coffee onto an iPhone. Check the Water Damage / Liquid Contact Sensors After the iPhone is dried out completely, check out the liquid contact indicators.

Each iPhone is equipped with several water damage sensors that turn red if contact with any fluid is made, and if they are triggered than the likelihood of free repair service is fairly slim and your warranty may be toast. You can check these yourself by looking at the following locations, depending on your iPhone model (image via Apple): Generally if the liquid sensors are triggered it’s bad news, but the fine print in the water damage policy suggests that there is some leniency available, so if you’re generally pleasant to deal with you may get lucky even if your iPhone spent an afternoon rolling around in ocean waves and now has some damage even after soaking in rice for a few days.

What if water damage occurred and something doesn’t work? If the iPhone has dried out, suffered water damage, and warranty service is fruitless, the four things most likely to go wrong are the following: The home button becomes unresponsive – try this trick first, but if it’s completely unresponsive you can usually get by with the onscreen home button trick as a fix to deal with a broken home button Audio output is dead – no simple user alternative or repair, consider using a USB based dock if you want to listen to audio instead Volume buttons, mute buttons, and power button don’t work – you can get by without having volume and mute buttons since both of those are available through software, the power button will be a problem though if it’s unresponsive so don’t let the iPhone run out of battery Diminished touch-screen response – depending on the severity this can be tolerable or terrible, sometimes replacing a screen helps, soemtimes it doesn’t because the problem can be deeper than just damage to the liquid crystal display If water damage has occurred, you can always try taking the iPhone into Apple to see if they’ll swap it out or repair it for you for free, but without AppleCare+ the odds are fairly slim since the standard warranty does not cover water damage and accidental damage in general.

That said, there are always exceptions, and sometimes the repair cost is reasonable anyway, so it’s always worth a shot. The cost of repair is almost always cheaper than a new iPhone anyway, so unless you’re ripe for a new subsidized contract it may be the best thing to do. Got any other tips or tricks for saving an iPhone from water damage? Let us know in the comments! Related

Wilma Lawrence

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