Water Damaged Mobile – How to fix it and Repair Costs 

In this article, we will discuss what to do if your phone has accidentally fallen in the water, and what are the fixes to restore it, and the repair costs if any. 

Also, we will look at if it is worth the money to get a water-damaged phone repaired, restored from the service center and what are the things that you must consider before going for a repair. 

Water Damaged Mobile

What to Do if your Phone has fallen in the Water?

First of all, there are many new flagship mobiles that come with IP67 or IP68 ratings. These phones will not have any issues even if they fall in the water, in the sink, toilet, or even in the swimming pool.

These phones are waterproof and will just work as it is once you take them out of the water. 

You can dry the phone by keeping it under a fan or using a hairdryer or a blower, using cold or warm air. 

If your phone doesn’t have an IP rating, the first thing you need to do is turn it off as the water inside the mobile can fry the electronics. 

The water takes some time to reach the electronics and damage them, so it is best to turn off the device as soon as you can.

Don’t try to turn it On or use it! 

Clean it properly with a dry towel and then make it stand in a vertical direction, speaker side down, so that the water can come out of the speaker or the bottom charging port. 

Don’t put it on charging or try to turn it on!

Now you can blow-dry the device using a hairdryer or a blower – but make sure you are not moving it much and don’t overheat the device as it has got a battery that is inflammable. 

For completely drying the phone go and buy Silica Gel packs. Then open the packets, take out the silica gel and cover the phone using these (as shown in the below image). 

The Silica Gel balls can absorb the moisture from inside your phone. 

smartphone in silica gel
Smartphone in silica gel

Fixing a Water Damage Mobile

Better keep the phone and the Silica Gel packs inside an air-tight box or an air-tight polythene bag. 

You will have to leave it like this for at least 24 hours so that the moisture is removed from the phone.  

If you don’t have the Silica Gel packs, then you can place the phone in rice that also has a similar effect. 

smartphone in rice

What To Do if It was Fully Submerged in Water? 

If your phone was fully submerged in water and you think it has taken in a lot of water. Then I would recommend that you take it to a nearby shop after drying it for a day using rice or silica gels. 

Ask the shopkeeper to open it, and again blow dry it for some time, and then can try to start it. 

Also, if he has Isopropyl alcohol can ask him to clean the insides with it before turning the device on. You can also buy 99.9% IsoPropyl alcohol to clean the phone. Using it removes any water minerals or residues left. 

After cleaning, can try to start the mobile, and if it turns on, the chances are that you have got saved from a very expensive repair.

What if your phone was not fully submerged in Water?

If your phone just got wet in the rain or by a splash of water, the chances of it becoming nonfunctional are low. 

You will have to follow the same steps of drying the device for 24 hours (in silica gel) and then can again blow dry it a bit more using the hairdryer before turning it on. 

If you are lucky, the device will turn on and will work as it was working before the incident.

What to do if your water-damaged Smartphone is not turning On?

If your phone was fully submerged in water and was turned on when it fell and has later stopped working. The chances are that the water has seeped inside and has damaged the motherboard. 

Also, the water may have reached the display panel, camera modules, and could have done damage to these parts as well.

However, if the phone is not turning on, don’t try to charge it. You can take the phone to a nearby service center or to a mobile repair shop that can open the device and check if the water has fried the motherboard. 

Trying different hacks is going to make the matters worse. It is better to take it to a professional who has repaired such phones. 

What is the Cost of Repairs and Restoring a Water Damaged Smartphone? 

If your mobile is in warranty and comes with an IP rating, then the chances are that the service center may not ask for repair costs, and do it for free. 

But if the phone is either out of warranty or doesn’t come with an IP rating, you are in for an expensive repair. 

The first thing that is required to be changed is the motherboard and chipset. The cost of the motherboard and chipset depends on which phone you are using. For a budget phone running on low-cost Snapdragon 450 or similar processors, it can cost less than Rs. 5000, for phones using high-end Snapdragon processors, the cost can be eye-watering. 

Just, for example, POCO F1 running SD 845 (3 years old) costs Rs. 8399 ($110) (8 GB + 128 GB), and for an Asus ROG Phone 3, it can cost as much as Rs. 37,128 ($550). (The Prices are from the official website). 

For an iPhone, it can be as expensive as the Asus Rog Phone 3, depending on the iPhone model that you have. 

But the problem with water damage is that we don’t know what other parts need replacement apart from the mainboard. 

The water can also damage the display panel, camera lens, and other parts too.

Should You get your Water Damaged Phone Repaired? Is it worth it?

I had a POCO F1 that fell in the water and I took it to the service center. First, the service center informed us that the motherboard was damaged, we got that replaced. After repair, we came to know that the rear camera lens also had water inside it, which was not possible to clean. 

The display also started showing some dried watermarks that were also cleanable.  

Overall the phone was unusable, the repair cost of the phone was the same as the cost of buying a new one. In fact, many used POCO F1 were available at 50% cheaper than the repair cost. 

The service center never told us that the water damage could be on other parts before changing the motherboard. 

However, we have to reach out to the company to ask them not to repair the phone. I was not willing to spend more money on replacing the display, camera module. After a long fight, they refunded the money for the motherboard repair and took back the board that they have fitted.

You will need to have a clear discussion with the service center before going for a repair. If everything works, then only you will pay for the repairs. 

I will suggest if your phone is too old and not worth the repair cost, you can decide not to go for repairs. Sometimes, it is better to accept the loss and get a new device rather than spending a lot of money on an old phone. 

Another thing to note here is that even if your phone is old and has depreciated in value, but the spare parts are new and will cost a fortune. 

Additionally, you will have to pay for the labor cost, GST, or other taxes apart from the cost of the damaged part.

So, sometimes we have to let go and leave the water-damage phone as it is and not go for repairs. You can sell it on OLX or other used part websites or to a retailer so they can use the working parts.

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Kanuj Sharma
Full-Time Blogger & Entrepreneur, Tech Enthusiast. A decade of experience in Telecom (Engineer & MBA) Read My Story,  Connect On Twitter, Linked-In, Youtube
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