It’s happened to you before. You’ve accidentally gotten your iPhone wet, whether in a pool, the ocean, washing machine, or dropping it in the toilet, the end result is always the same. Water + iPhone = :’( But never fear! The internet can provide you with a multitude of solutions!
The internet lies.
We all know this, right? I mean, you’ve probably been taught since the internet became public that it was easy for people to put whatever they wanted to out there, since it’s a free-for-all type of thing (and for those of you younger than me who can’t remember or weren’t yet born when Email was brand new, I feel really old about now. I mean, I was young, but I remember.) Just remember your grade school teachers telling you that citing things from the internet was a bad idea because people can lie with no check and balances to catch them. Unless it’s a comment board. And then all of them lie. Fun little game we’re playing, right?
Anyway, I decided to ask the wonderful techs at Repair Labs to tell me which of the water-damage tips I gleaned today were myths or not. Some are obvious; others are supposedly tried and true, but don’t actually work. Without further ado, the Top 10 iPhone Water Damage Myths:
- Oven – I am serious, people recommend this. The idea is that the heat draws out the water. The problem is no one tells them that anything over 130° F will fry their phone, damaging it far worse than it was before.
- Microwave – I am not sure why anyone would think this was a good idea. Metal parts. Microwave. Have you ever put a CD or fork in a microwave? Just do that with a device that cost $400! Always a good idea. (Sarcasm)
- Hair Dryer – Heat is the common thread here, and while people are sort of on the right track, there is one problem. With a hair dryer you can’t regulate just how hot it will get, and get too close, the heat intensifies.
- Heat Lamp – Again, heat is good, but too much heat and you can do some serious damage to your phone. Best to avoid anything really hot all together.
- Freezer/Fridge – Opposite end of the spectrum here, and I never really saw any justification as to how this would help your phone. While the cold itself would probably not damage your phone, frozen water melts eventually.
- Salt – Salt dries things out since it absorbs moisture. The problem is that it can corrode your phone’s parts. Corrosion will happen with extensive water damage, and you don’t want to speed that process along.
- Open up & Wind Dry – While the techs say that this theoretically works, the problem is you have to get into the phone first. The iPhone 3G has 12 screws to get into the back, and the battery is hidden behind other components. While the iPhone 4 only has 3, you still run the risk of breaking bits and pieces of your phone.
- Dry with Towel – Same thing again, it works, but you have to get it open first. Of course, with a towel you run the risk of getting fuzzies and other undesirable things into the inner workings of your phone.
- Silica Gel Packets – While this works on light water damage, it will not work well if you’ve accidentally submersed your phone. The gel packets will only draw out the water they can touch.
- Rice – This is the favorite internet tip. The techs told me they get a lot of water-damaged phones in baggies full of rice. So while uncooked rice can work on small spills, it will not on something that’s been more heavily damaged. Like the gel packets, rice has to make contact with the water, and taking your phone to that many pieces puts you at risk to break something else. (One of the techs joked that you should put your iPhone in a bowl of uncooked rice and then stick it in the oven. Oh guys.)
So, what do you do when you soak your phone? Honestly, the best answer is to send it to a certified technician, because they can take your phone apart and make sure that everything is dried out properly. If you miss just one drop, it can continually corrode your phone and the components. And if you try to take your phone apart, you can end up breaking the glass, housing, any number of things really.
The guys do recommend that if you feel confident, taking your battery out is key. But don’t try to take it apart more than that.
And don’t ship it to a repairs place in a ziplock baggie. That will actually seal the moisture in with the phone and can cause further damage. Breathable bubble wrap is always best.
Although they do ask that you send them your phone in some rice. The guys do get hungry from time to time.