Whenever our phones slip out of our hands and make a head-dive for towards the floor, we can’t help but panic. Technology has become such a vital part of our lives that most of us never want to imagine being without our smartphones for any period of time. However, the next time you freak out over dropping and damaging your device, consider following the basic advice to quickly restore enough function to get your phone to last – or at least last until you’re able to take it to professionals, who can perform more extensive surgery on your device.
Here is how you can perform fast and easy smartphone first aid:
Protect your phone preemptively:
A good course of action to take to ensure the safety and the usable life cycle of your device is to try and prevent any damage from happening in the first place. One of the easiest solutions is to conduct some research before purchasing a phone. Next time you go shopping for electronics, look through the descriptions of each device’s features to find its IP rating. This number, called the International Protection Marking or Ingress Protection Marking, describes how well the device can withstand dust and water. A phone with a higher IP rating will reduce your chances of future problems.
The first digit of the IP rating denotes the device’s ability to resist solid particles. It will range from zero (completely vulnerable) to six (completely protected). On average, most modern phones will achieve at least five, which means small dust particles could settle into any crevices of the phone, but will not interfere with the device’s normal function.
Meanwhile, the second digit of the IP rating explains how well the device can withstand damage from water and other liquids. The technical term for this is ‘liquid ingress protection,’ and this digit will have a larger range than the first. Ranging from zero (completely vulnerable) to nine (completely protected), smartphones use to aim for at least a four, which means devices are protected against moderate sized splashes. However, these days many modern smartphones are categorized at a seven, which means that they can survive 30 minutes of immersion in liquid up to about three feet in depth. Devices that achieve an 8 are able to stay in deeper pools of water for a longer period of time before significant damage is made, although when it comes to high ratings like this, exact measurements will depend on the manufacturer.
Two smartphones that ranks high in both accounts are the Samsung Galaxy S9, which received an IP68 rating and the iPhone X, which received an IP67 rating. In fact, most flagship phones carry pretty stellar IP ratings. However, even if your device doesn’t have a perfect IP69 score – which it most likely won’t – accessories can add substantial protection. Tempered glass screen protectors and durable phone cases that a shock-absorbent design will provide the best protection and will lower the odds of you damaging your phone.
There’s nothing worse than feeling your phone slip out of your grip and tumble towards the hard, cold ground only to land with an unnerving smack. And depending on the accessories of your device, it really is a toss up on what sort of damage ensued from the fall. There could be a everything from a few minor scuffs on the case to the device’s display being smashed completely. As a first step, if you find yourself in this situation it is always best to check for any signs of damage by eyeing your phone’s exterior and by unlocking the device to make sure it still works.
If you’re able to unlock the phone and from what you can tell, it is still functional with only minor damage, you may not need any repairs. But proceed with caution. Sometimes it takes a few minutes for any internal damage to make its presence known. Be sure to keep any eye out for any liquid that may leak out of your phone. If this occurs, then it could be coming from the battery or from the adhesive that holds your phone’s inner components together. Either way, it is best to stop using your phone as soon as you see it.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, if your phone has suffered major visible damage – as in the interior components are now exposed – it is best to put the device down. Continuing to use a device in this state may actually cause more harm than good, as hard as that may be to believe. Not only could trying to power up the device or display severely impair the damaged device, but it may give a now faulty battery an opportunity to damage you. In this situation, the best course of action is to consult a professional who will be able to safely handle the device. We suggest securely sealing the device with any loose bits that may have fallen off in a clear baggie and contact the manufacturer or phone retailer to get more information about how to repair or replace the device.
For damage that falls somewhere between these two situations, most can get away with patching up any cracks using an adhesive screen protector or even a piece of clear tape over the damage, so long as the phone is still functioning as normal. Doing so will keep any loose pieces of the display stay in place so that you can continue to use your device as you wait to decide on how to proceed with either permanently repairing it or replacing the unit. Although, please note that discoloration around the damage more than likely indicates that the device will require a proper screen replacement.
Tackling water damage:
Whenever you accidentally drop your phone in the toilet (as gross as this sounds it happens more often than you would think) or spill your coffee on it, your first step should be to pick up the soaked device and immediately turn it off. Next, you should pat it dry with a clean cloth or towel and place it on a flat, solid surface to complete dry out. Once all the moisture has dried, try to avoid turning on or charging your phone. Trying to operate the phone while water is still inside the device could lead to disastrous effects. However, if your handset allows you to easily remove the SIM and/or memory cards, we suggest that you do so in order to protect your data.
Some phones take up to 48 hours to dry completely. During this time, you can look up your handset’s IP rating from mobile phone information focused websites like GSMArena. However, even if the rating of your phone is on the lower end of the scale (less than IP67), don’t worry too much. Handsets with lower scores typically recover from a quick dunk in water after the standard 48 hours.
We must also add that while you might feel that quickening the drying process would be beneficial to both your device and schedule, you should really allow the drying process to occur as naturally as possible. Blasting it with hair dryers or vacuum cleaners could actually harm the more delicate components inside of your phone. As for the common ‘life hack’ of sticking your soaked device into a bag of rice, most experts say that this trick typically doesn’t work well. Silica gel, those little mystery packets that often appear in shoe boxes and new electronic boxes, is a better alternative to rice if you’re looking to speed up the drying process in a semi-natural way. Like silica cat litter, silica gel is an effective drying agent but this is not a guaranteed method.
If after two days your device is dry but won’t turn on, then we suggest getting in touch with a professional repair shop. Experts will be able to safely dismantle and reassemble your phone, drying the parts individually and replace the ones that sustained damage.
Should you ever encounter issues like these with your smartphone, we hope you find these quick fixes and tips and tricks to be helpful! For enterprises who find themselves with damaged electronics that aren’t easily repaired, please visit HOBI International, Inc.’s Enterprise Asset Services webpage. Our full-scale, environmentally-conscious technology management and disposal provides the best client security, value-maximization and legislation compliance in the industry!