If your non-waterproof phone, watch or tracker has accidentally got wet, DO NOT TRY TO USE IT. Take it out the water and turn it off.

If it’s a phone remove the SIM and any other accessible parts, then rub it dry on a towel or sleeve. Give it a gentle shake, too, to remove any water from its ports. 

Then follow our advice to fix a water-damaged phone, smartwatch or activity tracker.

Many phones, smartwatches and activity trackers are not user-accessible, and the only way to get to the internals is often through the screen. You probably don’t want to do that, because you’re going to invalidate your warranty and potentially break your device. Of course, the up side to this is that those devices are typically less prone to water damage. 

If there is a screwed-in back plate on your watch that you can easily remove then you can check no water has made its way inside, but doing so will break the seal – if it wasn’t already broken, of course. Fortunately, there are some other tricks you can try.

How to dry out a wet device

You know how you put a tiny cup of rice in a saucepan full of water and before you know it you have enough to feed the 5,000? That’s because rice is amazing at sucking up water. Grab a big bowl, then into the bowl goes your wet phone, smartwatch or activity tracker and enough rice to adequately cover it. Now forget about it for 24 hours. 

Only when the time is up should you reassemble your now hopefully dry device and attempt to switch it on. If it doesn’t work, stick it back in the rice and try again the following day. On the third or fourth unsuccessful attempt you should begin to consider noting the time of death.  

You could also substitute rice for silica gel (you’ll probably find some packets of this in the box for the last pair of trainers you bought).  

If you have a nice warm airing cupboard in your house, leaving your device in there for a day or three could help draw out the unwanted moisture. The key word here, though, is ‘warm’: avoid anything ‘hot’.

How not to dry out a wet device 

  • Do not put a water-damaged device in the tumble dryer (even if it’s inside a sock or a pillow case)
  • Do not leave your wet device on the radiator
  • Do not heat up your wet device with a hair dryer
  • Do not put your wet device in the freezer

If it’s a wet iPhone or other Apple device you’re trying to dry and you are planning to flutter your eyelids in an Apple Store in hope that someone will take pity on you, at least tell them the truth: with internal liquid detectors inside iOS devices they will know that your iPhone got wet. They won’t, however, know the difference between whether it was dropped in a toilet or a bath, so you can keep that one to yourself.

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