What happens to a wet cell phone?
Wet cell phones require immediate attention because of sensitive electronic components which can quickly become damaged by corrosion. In the short term you risk shorting out components because while water itself cannot conduct electricity, impurities found in water can potentially do so. Over time the water itself will evaporate leaving behind these impurities which can not only cause problems by preventing electrical conductivity but also lead to corrosion which actually eats away at metallic parts including components which cannot be replaced. In most cases, the longer that you wait to treat your wet cell phone, the worse that this corrosion can become. One reason that people do not seek help right away is that the phone may seem to be unaffected by any moisture that it has been exposed to. It is possible that a minor splash may not mean that liquid has reached the inside of your phone. On the other hand if your phone was submerged in water then you can safely assume that the circuitry on the inside has come into contact with moisture.
I don’t have a wet cell phone but my warranty stickers are red
We regularly see phones which are malfunctioning due to liquid damage. When we show the customer the indications of exposure to moisture they often seem very surprised. Not only that, but most people have no idea that their phone has been wet at some point. How is this possible? The fact is that it doesn’t take much to turn the moisture sensitive sticker inside of your phone pink or red. In order to test the sensitivity of these warranty stickers we put a phone in the bathroom with the shower running hot water. The room bathroom had little ventilation and the window was closed. Within ten minutes enough steam had accumulated inside of the bathroom to affect the warranty stickers inside of the phone. We can conclude from this test that in some types of weather there may be enough precipitation or humidity in the environment to void your warranty and cause moisture damage to your phone. Walking through the rain can easily allow a drop of water to enter the headset jack and trip your liquid damage sticker. Using your phone on a foggy day may potentially lead to the same result. Other common reasons for warranty stickers unexpectedly turning red include placing your phone in a cup holder which contains water from condensation on the outside of a beverage container or setting your phone down on a surface such as a counter top which has liquid on it but may not be easily visible.
Rice won’t help a wet cell phone
Contrary to what some people think, putting your phone in a bag full of rice will not cure moisture problems. This legend has been perpetuated by luck so it’s easy to understand how some people will swear by it. Let us assure you that rice simply does not possess the absorbency strength to suck the water out from the inside of your phone. It might help to prevent more from getting in but once your phone has moisture trapped inside of it there are only a few possible outcomes.
If you are lucky the amount of moisture may be so small that it evaporates over time and your phone starts working again. This could theoretically happen while it is surrounded by rice leading one to believe that yes the magic rice did in fact do its job. We hate to break it to you but the rice had nothing to do with your good fortune and you have wasted a perfectly good side dish.
Your phone may retain partial functionality. This happens on occasion and is still indicative of a moisture problem or damaged component. Often microphones, speakers, and batteries stop working due to liquid damage. Once these are replaced you might regain full functionality of your device. It’s still a good idea to get the inside cleaned though as other problems may develop over time.
Your phone may not work at all. Sorry rice we know you gave it your best but no luck. In this situation you have unfortunately wasted precious time by waiting for the phone to holistically heal itself and there is a chance that the damage is even worse than it was before. Getting the water out of your phone and cleaning the internal components as soon as possible is crucial. If you want to save your phone and the information stored on it be sure to get it cleaned up immediately. The longer you wait the worse things may get.