Will my phone be OK after water damage?

If your phone has been exposed to water, the first question most people have is “Will my phone be OK or is it ruined forever?” The good news is that these days, many phones are designed to withstand at least some moisture. However, the amount of water exposure, the type of water, and how quickly you take action all factor into your phone’s chances of survival.

Quick answers

Here are some quick answers to common questions about water damaged phones:

  • If your phone was briefly splashed but never fully submerged, it will likely be fine if you dry it out quickly.
  • If it fell in the sink or toilet but you retrieved it quickly, there’s a good chance it can recover if you follow the proper drying steps.
  • If it was fully submerged or left in water for a long time, the prognosis gets more dubious, but there’s still hope if you act fast.
  • Saltwater or chlorinated pool water can be more damaging than freshwater.
  • Immediately powering off the phone and avoiding turning it on until it’s dry improves the chances of recovery.
  • Thoroughly drying the phone as soon as possible is crucial – the longer moisture sits inside, the more likely corrosion occurs.
  • Don’t try to charge the phone until you are sure it is totally dry.
  • Disassembling the phone to dry internal components can help in some cases but also risks damaging the phone if not done properly.

How long can a wet phone last after water damage?

If your phone has been wet, time is of the essence. The longer moisture sits inside the device, the more opportunity it has to cause corrosion and other permanent damage. Here are some estimates for phone survival time after water exposure:

  • Brief splash – If quickly dried, no permanent damage likely. Failure possible after 12+ hours.
  • Drop in sink or toilet – Failure possible after 5-10 hours if not dried.
  • 30 minutes in water – Failure likely after 48 hours if not thoroughly dried.
  • 1-8 hours submerged – Failure very likely after 24-48 hours if no drying steps taken.
  • Day(s) in water – Almost guaranteed failure even if dried; corrosion likely reached critical points.

The above times are just estimates and can vary based on water type, depth, phone make/model, and other factors. But the key takeaway is each hour makes permanent failure more likely if no drying is done.

What should I do if my phone gets wet?

If your phone has gotten wet, follow these steps to give it the best chance of survival:

  1. Immediately power off the phone – This stops electricity flowing while there is moisture inside which can prevent short circuits.
  2. Remove any accessories and SIM card – Take off anything attached like cases and dry those separately.
  3. Dry the surface – Use a lint-free cloth to wipe off any external moisture.
  4. Do NOT try to charge it – Charging can cause fire or damage if moisture is present.
  5. Do NOT try to turn it on – Powering on before it’s dry can short circuit the device.
  6. Dry it with airflow – Use a fan, compressed air can, or dry rice to promote airflow and evaporation.
  7. Be patient – Allow at least 24-48 hours of drying time before attempting to use it.
  8. Check for moisture – Use indicators like water-absorbing stickers to verify it’s totally dry.
  9. Consider disassembly – For major submersion, taking it apart may be best way to dry inside.

What are my chances of phone recovery after water damage?

The outlook for a water damaged phone depends on these key factors:

Factor Better Prognosis Worse Prognosis
Depth Splashed or brief submersion Prolonged submersion
Liquid Freshwater Saltwater or chlorinated water
Speed Dried quickly Left wet for hours
Power Immediately powered off Remained powered on
Drying Thoroughly dried with airflow Left to “air dry” without assistance

With immediate action, there is an excellent chance of saving phones exposed only briefly or to fresh water. After extended submersion, while still possible, the likelihood of damage or failure rises steadily over time.

Which phone brands are most water resistant?

Most major smartphone brands now offer at least some models with improved water resistance. Some of the brands with phones best able to withstand submersion include:

  • Apple – iPhone 7 and newer have IP67 rating (1m depth, 30 min)
  • Samsung – S and Note series have IP68 rating (1.5m depth, 30 min)
  • Google – Pixel phones are IP68 rated
  • LG – Many models are MIL-STD-810G certified for water resistance
  • Motorola – Moto Z phones boast a water repellant nano-coating
  • Sony – Xperia lineup touts IP65/68 ratings (1.5m depth, 30 min)

While no phone is fully waterproof, those with complete IP67 or IP68 ratings can withstand being submerged 1-1.5 meters for 30 minutes. Other brands may offer basic water resistance as well – check your phone’s specs.

Should I put my phone in rice after water damage?

Putting a wet phone in a bowl or bag of rice is a popular DIY drying technique. The logic is that the rice will absorb moisture from the air and phone. Unfortunately, while rice can help draw out some surface moisture, studies show it is not optimal for drying phone internals:

  • Rice absorbs less moisture per volume than desiccants like silica gel.
  • Phone enclosures limit air circulation compared to leaving the phone open.
  • Rice grains can get stuck inside phone ports, causing new issues.
  • Bowl or bag methods dry slower than airflow methods.

Instead of rice, a better DIY approach is to leave the phone powered off and disassembled in a dry environment with ample airflow. A fan blowing directly on the phone accelerates evaporation. Rice may help as a supplemental desiccant but is not recommended as the sole drying method.

Should I take apart my phone to dry after water damage?

Disassembling a wet phone can sometimes allow better drying of internal components versus keeping it sealed. Potential benefits include:

  • Direct airflow and evaporation for internal circuits.
  • Faster drying of confined spaces vulnerable to corrosion.
  • Inspection for corrosion and residue buildup.
  • Cleaning areas like charge ports which can trap moisture.

However, dismantling a phone properly requires skill, proper tools, and schematics for your specific model. Improperly disassembling a phone risks damaging flex cables, connectors, and small components. If you lack electronics repair experience, it’s safest to keep the phone sealed and find other ways to thoroughly dry it.

When is it safe to turn on my phone after water damage?

Turning on a phone before it has fully dried risks short circuiting the logic board when electricity flows through lingering moisture. Here are some signs your phone is ready for testing after water exposure:

  • No visible moisture in ports, lenses, or on removable batteries.
  • Battery compartment shows no condensation when opened.
  • Phone surfaces feel completely dry to the touch.
  • At least 48 hours have passed after initial drying steps.
  • Indicator stickers near battery show dry (from phone repair kits).
  • Desiccant packs like those used in item shipping show no color change.

Ideally, you want to be extremely confident no liquid remains before applying power. Even 99% dry may not be safe enough, so continue drying and checking another 24 hours if in doubt.

How can I recover data from a water damaged phone?

If a phone suffered catastrophic failure due to liquid, there are still potential options for recovering your data:

  • Remove the memory card if your phone uses one. They are often salvageable.
  • A phone repair shop may be able to temporarily revive the phone or transfer the flash memory chip.
  • Data recovery services can reconstruct data from damaged phones, for a fee.
  • If you recently backed up phone data to the cloud, you can download it to a replacement phone.

With physical phone damage, recovering data gets progressively more difficult and expensive. But even from a phone that no longer powers on, the right experts can sometimes retrieve critical photos, messages, and documents.

Is it safe to charge my phone after water damage?

Never attempt to charge a phone that has gotten wet until you are absolutely certain all moisture has evaporated. Here’s why:

  • Electricity + moisture = short circuit risk
  • Charging generates heat which can damage wet components
  • Moisture creates abnormal resistance which can fry circuits
  • Corrosion on charging pins risks fire hazard

Leaving the phone powered off and disconnected from power while drying eliminates these charging risks. Only after confirming the phone is totally dry with the above testing methods should you attempt to apply power or connect a charger.

Can I prevent water damage to my phone?

You can help waterproof your phone against minor splashes and accidents with these proactive measures:

  • Use a waterproof phone case for wet environments.
  • Apply a screen protector to prevent water sneaking under.
  • Ensure covers and gaskets seal tightly to block moisture.
  • Turn off charging and electronics near sinks or tubs.
  • Never use a phone in the shower, bath, pool, etc.
  • Avoid setting phone on bathroom surfaces when showering.
  • Use phone pouches or dry bags on boats and beach trips.
  • Keep your phone away from toilets and baby diaper changes!

While no phone is fully waterproof without professional sealing, being cautious in wet settings goes a long way in keeping your phone safely dry day to day.


Damage from water exposure is one of the most common hazards facing our phones. While any amount of moisture creates the risk of failure, immediate action to dry out the phone combined with moisture-cautious handling can greatly improve the chances of full recovery. Dismantling wet phones is an option but requires skill and proper tools. For best results, power the phone off immediately, thoroughly dry with ample airflow, and wait 48+ hours before attempting to power it back on. With quick response, there is an excellent chance even an unexpected soaking won’t have permanent effects on your phone’s health.

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