Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=41683
Story Retrieval Date: 5/21/2013 12:02:39 AM CST
Oops! There goes your cell phone. Summertime poses the greatest danger of a water accident, with more people (and their cell phones) on the beach or poolside.
Imagine accidentally falling into a swimming pool, fully dressed and with a phone in your pocket. That actually happened to my dad. His clothes were fine, but he had to get a new phone.
Bill Stewart, 25, of Chicago has also had his share of phone troubles. “I dropped it in a glass of beer at a bar,” he said. “I pulled it out and dried it off. And it worked, but some of the buttons stuck.”
That phone survived the accident. But a second phone of his wasn’t so lucky. “It fell into a toilet,” he said with a laugh. “I had it in my breast pocket, and that one was gone. I let it go.”
Some phones can’t be saved, but wireless experts from various carriers offer some do-it-yourself tips that could revive your cell phone if you can’t get to a service technician.
1 -- Turn it off -- If your phone doesn’t automatically power down after it gets wet, turn it off right away. Then remove the battery.
2 -- Dry it off – Get as much water as you can off your phone with a towel or napkin. Remove any covers or faceplates. If you have a flip phone, open it up, so air can reach the keypad.
3 -- Sit and wait – Leave your phone powered off for a day or two to give the internal circuitry some time to dry off.
4 -- Is it alive? – After you replace the battery, push the “on” button. If the phone turns on, this is a good sign. But check the keypad for any keys that stick or don’t work consistently. These are indications of permanent damage that will likely get worse with time.
5 -- Get help – If none of the above works, take your water-logged phone to a service technician as soon as possible. He or she might be able to save it.
Whether your phone survives its wet encounter will depend on factors like how long it has been in the water and how deeply it was immersed.
“It’s definitely the time of the year when people are out either at events or at the beach,” said Dan Blocker, a marketing manager at U.S. Cellular. “They’re spending more time outside, and with that spending time outside, you’re possibly going to get caught in the rain or accidentally drop your phone in the lake or the pool.”
Blocker says service technicians can speed up the phone’s one- to two-day drying process. In a typical situation, a technician can examine a phone and dry it out in about 10 minutes.
Backing up contact information as a precaution is probably the best thing you can do to lessen the trauma of losing a phone. Most carriers, like U.S. Cellular, Verizon Wireless and AT&T Wireless, have back-up applications available.
So even if your cell phone is sunk, your contact list isn't.