10 Tips To Salvage A Water-Damaged Smartphone

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Water damage is one of the most common ways smartphones become damaged. With a slip, drop, or spill, these essential gadgets can end up completely submerged in sinks, toilets, pools, lakes—you name it. As panic sets in, it’s essential to remain calm and take quick, focused actions. Handling the first few minutes is critical for saving your phone.

This guide outlines ten steps, immediate dos and don’ts, professional recommendations, and preventative methods when dealing with a water-damaged smartphone. Read on, and your soaked phone may live to call another day.

Immediate Action

  • First Steps

In a water emergency, quickly remove all cases, covers, or accessories from your phone. Gently blot away excess moisture with a soft, dry cloth without rubbing the surface. Act quickly and carefully here, as rubbing or applying pressure could end up pushing more water into ports, speakers, or other openings.

Contact a service like professional phone repair in Tucson for prompt assistance if you’re worried about impairing your device further. Expert hands may save your smartphone before it’s completely lost to damage.

  • Do Nots

Do not, under any circumstance, try to turn on or charge a wet phone. Charging or turning on a water-damaged smartphone poses serious risks that can lead to short-circuiting and irreparable damage. Specifically, avoid plugging your phone into a charger, powering it on, using any buttons or touchscreens, or inserting any cables.

  • Time is of the Essence

Every second counts when salvaging a water-damaged phone, so waste no time taking swift and deliberate action Panicking causes delay; remain focused and tackle the critical first steps methodically yet urgently. Set emotions aside and let your logical damage control measures kick in. Avoid putting it off while scrambling for the next action. Launch right into drying and recovery mode!

Salvaging Tips

  1. Identify the Severity

Scrutinize your smartphone, noting where water may have entered. Were buttons pressed? Port covers opened? This gives insight into potential problem areas. Also, consider water cleanliness and how long the device was submerged. Pristine water exposure warrants less concern than murky or contaminated water sitting for prolonged periods.

  1. Disassemble (optional)

For those technically inclined, disassembling a smartphone presents the opportunity for specialized drying and cleaning. Note that this requires proper tools, technical knowledge, and care. Forceful handling can cause further damage.

  1. Drying Methods

An array of moisture-absorbing materials can help dry out a device’s nooks and crannies. Popular choices include silica gel packets and professional drying services utilizing vacuum sealers or desiccant chambers. Each has pros and cons to weigh when deciding what’s best for your situation.

  1. Cleaning Internals (optional)

Gaining internal access allows using special cleaning solutions to address lingering moisture issues inside a smartphone. These professional-grade formulas displace water and wash away contaminants without risking damage to the delicate electronics. However, expertise is a must here.

  1. Check for Data Backups

While saving the hardware takes priority, it’s wise to verify if critical data resides on cloud backups or external drives. If no backups exist, data recovery should become priority number two after you stabilize your phone.

  1. Data Extraction Services (optional)

For those without backups, professional data recovery services can retrieve data from water-damaged phones. Cost varies dramatically based on damage level and data amounts, ranging from $300 to over $1000 in some cases.

  1. DIY Data Recovery Software (optional)

If you’re foregoing third-party data recovery services due to wait times or cost, there are a handful of DIY data recovery apps claiming to rescue data from wet smartphones. However, effectiveness varies wildly. Proceed cautiously when you retrieve data using third-party apps.

  1. Testing and Functionality

Once sufficiently dried out, the next step is testing basic functionality. Carefully attempt charging and powering on the device while observing bugs like glitchy screens, speaker pop, or microphone issues indicating potential problem areas that may require repair or replacement.

  1. Professional Repair

With today’s smartphone complexity, water damage often necessitates professional assessment and repair when problems, like sudden battery drain, persist after thorough at-home drying efforts. Flagging issues early on helps pinpoint hardware needing replacement.

  1. Preventative Measures

Perhaps the easiest tip of all is to avoid water damage in the first place! Waterproof cases provide cheap disaster insurance, while waterproof pouches add quick protection in a pinch. Also, consider phone insurance covering water damage. Lastly, try not to bring your phone near wet areas, such as the bathroom, pool, or beach.


Stay calm, act quickly, follow these tips, and you’ll give your beloved smartphone the best possible shot at surviving water damage. With effort and luck, a device left for dead can live on thanks to your redemption efforts. But of course, water damage presents no guarantees.

Therefore, savvy smartphone owners must remain ever-prepared through vigilant preventative methods and constant backups. A careful approach, combined with taking preventive measures, can significantly increase the chances of recovering a water-damaged smartphone.

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