Articles

What’s the Best Way to Rescue a Drowned Phone?


This episode was brought to you by Brilliant.org. As far as I know there hasn’t been a study
to confirm this, but I’m pretty sure water damage is the
leading cause of panic among smartphone users worldwide. One minute, you’re having a great day, and
the next, your phone is sitting at the bottom of the toilet and your
world comes crashing down. All those photos of your cute baby… So what do you do when you accidentally spill
your grande latte all over your screen? Is there any way to rescue a drowned phone? Sometimes. Maybe. If you act quickly. The biggest problem is that most water contains
ions that make it conductive, which means it can mess up where power is
being routed in your phone and short-circuit essential components. In a short circuit, there’s a connection
being made that allows a quicker, easier path for current
to flow. That can fry some parts, since they aren’t
designed to handle that kind of jolt. And it can quickly drain your battery in a way that can cause long-term damage. So if your phone is wet and it’s still on,
the first thing you should do is turn it off. That way, at least you’re not actively sending
a current through all that circuitry. And if the screen went black, resist the urge to turn it on to see if it’s
still working. Once your phone is off, you’ll want to use a cloth to dry as much
of the water as you can. Letting the water dry naturally isn’t a
good plan, because it can react with parts of the phone
and cause corrosion, which wears away the components and can cause permanent short circuits and
irreversible damage. Plus, the longer the phone is wet, the more
time the water has to seep into it and get to the most sensitive
electronics. If your phone was truly soaked through, odds are you’ve already got water in places
you can’t reach. You’ll need to make sure all of that water
has dried, too, before you turn it back on. That’s why you might have heard people suggest putting your wet phone in a container of uncooked
rice for a day or so. The idea is that dry rice grains are a desiccant they attract and absorb water. Leave a container of rice open in a humid
environment for a while and you’ll see what I mean. Just maybe don’t eat it afterward. When you put your phone in a tightly sealed
container with rice, you’re hoping that the rice will pull the
moisture from the trapped air, allowing the water in your phone to evaporate
more quickly and leaving you with a nice, dry phone. Some people swear by this, and rice-drying
is definitely better than blow-drying your phone. The hot air might get rid of the water, but heat generally isn’t very good for electronics. Rice isn’t the best desiccant around, though. It’s just convenient because most people
already have some in their house. There are lots of other substances that are
much better at wicking moisture, like the little silica packets that say “Do
Not Eat” on them, or even cat litter. So if your phone tends to get a lot of unscheduled
baths, you might want to hoard all those little silica
packets and put them in an airtight container for
a rainy day. But even with the best desiccant, there’s
no guarantee you’ll be able to rescue your phone if the
water has done its worst. So if this does happen to you a lot, you might just want to invest in a waterproof
phone or case. Or, if you’re more interested in experimenting
with with things like desiccants and circuits, you can check
out Brilliant.org. Brilliant.org supports SciShow, and we think
you’ll like their interactive quizzes and lessons in astronomy,
physics, geometry and more. Actively solving problems is a great way to
master the concepts you might learn about here on SciShow. Brilliant has a chapter on Oscillations in
their Classical Mechanics course which explains why fireflies’ blinks synchronize
when they’re in a group! There are helpful solutions and animations that walk you through the equations involved. Brilliant teaches you how to think like a
scientist, and there are tons of different topics to
try. To check them out, go to Brilliant.org/SciShow
and sign up for free. As a bonus, the first 200 people to subscribe
through SciShow will get a 20% discount on their annual subscription.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *