By Will DeLisi, NAND Flash Recovery Specialist
Dropped your phone in water? Put it in rice overnight and it will be good as new in the morning. Right?
True, this trick may work temporarily. But it also may not work at all, in which case it will probably only make matters even worse. Here’s why.
If your phone has been submerged in water, that water has found its way into every nook and cranny. That’s what liquid does—it flows into any open space it can access.
Putting your phone into a drying agent like rice will only work to absorb water on the surface of your phone and close to the surface. It will not reach those little nooks and crannies between the metal components and connections that make your phone work. In addition, the epoxy that holds the electronics in place within your phone will retain moisture and will not fully dry from this method.
If the phone does initially turn on after trying the rice trick, don’t expect it to function for long. The hidden moisture will work to corrode metal connections and sooner or later (likely sooner) your phone will fail permanently.
Once enough corrosion has occurred, no trick in the book, amateur or professional, will work to bring back your phone or anything you have on it. Your pictures and videos, your contacts, your notes—all lost forever.
If the rice does manage to dry out your phone enough for it to work temporarily, you can at least use that time to transfer all of your important data to another device before it is gone for good.
However, if you power up your phone when it has not sufficiently dried out, you will likely short out the circuitry of your phone, essentially frying its components and reducing the chances of saving your data to less than 10%.
Should you leave the phone in rice for a longer period of time? No, as this just gives the hidden moisture more time to corrode the inner workings, which may also permanently destroy the phone and any data stored on it.
What You Should Do
The very first thing you should do if you drop your phone in water is immediately remove the battery, if possible. Any electricity stored in the battery will speed up the corrosion process.
If you have photos, videos, contacts or other data stored on your phone that you absolutely want back and you have not backed them up to another device already, any do-it-yourself method may only cause you to permanently lose it all. If you want your data back, the only truly viable option you have is to get the phone to a professional data recovery service as quickly as possible.
If you do try the rice trick and afterward your phone happens to work, be sure to transfer your photos, contacts and other important data onto another device right away because there’s no telling how long the phone will continue to work. Could be a few months; could be a few minutes. The next time it dies will be for good.
Next time you hear someone talk about the rice trick, be sure to share this article with them. You might be doing them a very big favor!