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Technology What to do if your smart phone gets wet — first, don't turn it on!

17:27  11 september  2018
17:27  11 september  2018 Source:   usatoday.com

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Experts say the first and most important thing is to turn the phone off. Don ' t be tempted to turn it on after a few hours or day. If it ’s on, electricity will flow, it will touch the water that’s inside and that’s when your fry the (circuit) board,” he said. This is also true even if your phone is still working after it

If your phone gets wet with ocean water, the first thing you need to do is rinse it out, said Beinecke. That might seem counterintuitive, “but you’ve In Hawaii as Hurricane Lane was bearing down on the islands, many first responders made sure to grab a stash of sandwich-sized resealable plastic bags

SAN FRANCISCO — Smart phones and water just don’t mix, but when a hurricane hits, keeping a phone dry isn't always possible. Experts say even if a phone is drenched, there are steps you can take to recover it — but it takes patience and the ability to leave the phone alone.

What kills a wet phone is electricity, said Gary Tan with DE iPhone repair, a San Francisco-based company that offers multiple sites for smart phone repair and drying.

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Do not power on your phone , charge it , or connect it to other devices without first allowing it plenty of time to dry. Dry your phone with a soft, absorbent cloth and carefully wipe down the headphone jack and charge port. If your Galaxy device is a GSM/AT& T model, remove and dry the SIM card and tray

Don ' t just turn off the screen. Power the smartphone down completely. The vendor also offers instructions on how to repair and reassemble devices. Look for Water Sensors. How do repair or phone companies know if a phone got wet ?

“Do not charge it. Do not plug it in to see if it works. If it’s on, electricity will flow, it will touch the water that’s inside and that’s when your fry the (circuit) board,” he said.

This is also true even if your phone is still working after it was dropped in water.

“You didn’t get lucky. Turn it off!" said Craig Beinecke, co-founder of TekDry, a Denver, Colo.-based company that has more than 600 sites nationwide where consumers can quickly get small electronics dried out.

"We see a lot of people who come in and say, ‘I dropped it in water and I pulled it out really fast and I figured I got lucky, and then the next day the touch screen didn’t work,’” he said.

What actually happened is that it took a while for the water to reach sensitive connections inside the phone. Once it did, the water shorted them out.

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Get it out of the water as soon as possible. An unprotected device has less than 30 seconds before water starts leaking into the hardware. Wait several hours for it to completely dry before reinserting the battery and trying again to turn the unit on. Do not turn the unit on if you still smell rubbing alcohol.

Things happen, and sometime your favorite smartphone might find itself in water. What should you do if you dropped your phone in a sink, a bowl, or forgot

In a small number of cases swamped phones are able to dry out on their own over the course of days or weeks. But it’s not common.

And while some newer phones are water resistant and can withstand a quick drop in a bucket or toilet, none are water proof.

Drying on the counter is as fast as the rice treatment

Multiple websites suggest sticking electronics that have been submerged in liquid in a bag of uncooked rice, to draw the water out. But that actually doesn't work and can introduce dust and starch into the phone as well, said Beinecke.

"We did a study, and rice was slower to work than just leaving the phone out on the counter. And neither worked fast enough. After about 48 hours in rice, only 13 percent of the water came out of the phone," he said.

By the time the phone had fully dried out, corrosion will have had time to damage the delicate electronics inside, he said.

The preferred method to safely dry phones is to boil off the water inside them at low temperatures under vacuum.

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Trying to turn a wet phone on too soon can short circuit your phone and fry it , so if it gets wet , follow our guide on what to do with a water-damaged For a tutorial, check our guide on how to factory reset your Android phone , or search our site for your specific device. If your phone is currently fine

Has your phone stopped turning on? Here are some troubleshooting tips that can help you get your iPhone or Android device running again. First , give your phone a good once-over. Did you drop the phone recently? Is the screen cracked or damaged?

In vacuum drying, the items are placed in a chamber slightly smaller than a shoe box and then put under vacuum while being heated. The lower the pressure, the lower the temperature at which water boils. The machine allows the water inside the phone to boil off at temperatures that can't damage the components, usually within about 30 minutes.

Companies that offer this service also do car key fobs, hearing aids, fitness trackers and TV remotes.

Though for those who can't get somewhere to have their phone professionally dried immediately, there's still hope. In San Francisco, Tan said he’d had people bring in phones that stopped working after being sent through a washer and didn't bring them in for six months, figuring they were dead and gone.

“We opened it up, dried it, cleaned it and in a couple of cases we’ve got them working again,” he said.

Craig Beinecke puts a cell phone into the TekDry drying machine in Denver.© Trevor Hughes/USA TODAY Craig Beinecke puts a cell phone into the TekDry drying machine in Denver.

Ocean water is a different story

Plain water, or even toilet or flood water, is bad enough. Salt water is another thing entirely, say experts. The salts in ocean water are strongly corrosive to electronics and can much more quickly damage a phone.

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If your phone gets wet with ocean water, the first thing you need to do is rinse it out, said Beinecke.

That might seem counterintuitive, “but you’ve got to get the salt out. If the salt stays inside the phone, it can corrode out in as little as a day,” he said.

As soon as you have access to fresh water, Beinecke suggests rinsing the phone with warm water, to flush as much of the salt water out as possible — and of course don’t turn it on until the phone is dried out.

Do these two things before the storm hits

In Hawaii as Hurricane Lane was bearing down on the islands, many first responders made sure to grab a stash of sandwich-sized resealable plastic bags and keep them in a pocket or bag.

Once it started raining, they put their phone in one of the bags, pushed the air out and then zipped it up — holding the resulting bundle together with a rubber band.

This, they explained, was a low-tech waterproof covering for their phones. They still had to take the phone out when making a call, but if they had to wade through water or got soaked as the rain poured down, they had some hope of keeping their smartphone dry.

It’s by no means accident proof, said Beinike. But it’s better than nothing and a technique he uses when he bicycles on days it might rain.

The second must-do is to write down on paper, or better yet memorize, a few crucial phone numbers.

“We learned from Hurricane Harvey that most people nowadays don’t have any phone numbers memorized. So if they get into trouble and their phone’s not working, they have no way of getting in touch with anyone, even if they have access to a phone,” Beinecke said.

He now cautions people to write down a few important phone numbers such as family and work well before the storm hits, and to keep the paper somewhere accessible.

“Or just memorize them. Then you can’t lose them,” he said.

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