While many Android Wear watches and Android phones are waterproof, this isn't always the case. The iPhone and Apple Watch are two notable examples of devices that won't take kindly to a dunk in the bath, puddle or, worse, toilet. And, be as careful as you like, but it's all too easy to end up with a wet phone, wet smartwatch or wet activity tracker. It doesn't have to be an expensive mistake, however. Here are several tricks that may help you to dry out a wet phone or watch. Need a new phone? Check out the best smartphones of 2016.
Update 8 September 2016: Apple has unveiled its iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 plus, which are both IP67-certified dust- and waterproof. This means they will survive a dunk in the bath, the toilet or a swimming pool, as long as they are not left there for more than 30 minutes and submerged more than 1m. (Do note that liquid damage is nevertheless not covered by the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus warranty.) However, we must stress that all other iPhones are NOT waterproof. Follow our advice below if you accidentally get your iPhone wet.
Firstly, DO NOT TRY TO USE IT. Take it out the water, turn it off, if it's a phone remove the SIM and any other accessible parts, then rub it dry on a towel or nearby 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.
Note that your device may already be damaged beyond repair, and these steps may not help you get your wet phone or wet smartwatch working. However, things can't get any worse, so you might as well give it a try. Killed your wearable? Check out the best smartwatches and best activity trackers of 2016.
Many phones, smartwatches and activity trackers are not user-accessible, and as iFixit recently showed with the Apple Watch, the only way to get to the internals is 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 of this is that many devices are less prone to water damage, and with Android Wear watches the majority are actually certified waterproof. But the Apple Watch? Splashproof: yes. Water-resistant: yes. Waterproof: no.
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 phone, smartwatch or activity tracker: The rice trick
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, wet smartwatch or wet 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.
How to dry out a phone, smartwatch or activity tracker: Other tricks to try
If you have a nice warm airing cupboard in your house, leaving your phone or smartwatch in there for a day or three could help draw out the unwanted moisture. The key word here, though, is 'warm': avoid anything 'hot'.
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).
How to dry out a phone, smartwatch or activity tracker: Water-damage don'ts
The following rules for what not to do when fixing a water-damaged phone, watch or fitness tracker are common sense, but it's worth pointing them out.
Do not throw your soggy device against a wall in the midst of a tantrum: all hope is not yet lost.
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.
See also: How to use an Apple Watch
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