Smartphones may be better these days in terms of quality, appearance, storage, and a thousand other things, but water and other liquids can still permanently damage the internal parts of your phone, especially if there is water in charging port. In some cases, just the buildup of moisture in your charging port can lead to serious water damage.
If unchecked and untreated, the damage can even spread to seemingly unrelated components such as the camera or the SIM card slot. If you decide to charge your phone without first drying the charging port properly, the water can completely destroy the connector. This is because of the simple rule, which is that electricity and water do not mix well!
In this article, we shall discuss the many ways to detect the presence of liquid in the charging port of your phone as well as many ways to prevent the damage caused by the water or liquid present and what to do if you have inadvertently gotten your phone’s charging port wet. So keep reading to find out what to do if there is water in charging port (Samsung or Apple), what to do if you see an alert saying “Water Detected in Charging Port” (iPhone 12, iPhone 11, Samsung galaxy S10, Samsung Galaxy S20, etc.) how to get water out of iPhone charging port, and what to avoid in order to dry your phone completely and also learn more about waterproof and water resistant phones.
How to detect water damage?
Even a little bit of water in the charging port of a phone can render your phone useless so it is important to spot any signs of water present in the charging port and any signs of water damage to other parts of the phone to avoid the hassle of replacing your phone.
Most modern smartphones, both Android and Apple, come with liquid detection indicators or moisture sensors on the charging ports, headphone jacks, etc. that will immediately activate in the presence of water. Thus, in the case of iPhones, when you plug in your charging cable to charge your phone while there is water in the Lightning connector, you will receive a notification or alert saying “Charging Not Available”. The phone will ask you to disconnect the charging cable to allow the Lightning connector to completely dry.
When you connect a non-powered accessory such as wired earphones that does not charge your iPhone, you will get a notification saying “Liquid Detected in Lightning Connector” and ask you to disconnect the device and allow it to dry before reconnecting.
In the case of Android phones, you may get a similar notification saying “Moisture Detected in Charging Port” and ask you to make sure that both the charging port and cable are dry. A water drop icon will also appear in certain Samsung phones such as Galaxy S10, Galaxy S20, Note 10, etc., which will not go away until the problem is fixed.
8 Signs of Water Damage to Your Phone
8 Signs of Water Damage to Your Phone
If your phone has been in contact with a lot of water and you suspect that there is water damage, there are some signs you can spot before starting to resolve the water and moisture issues with your phone. Some of those signs have been mentioned below:
1. Device Overheating
Most modern smartphones claim to be at least a little water resistant, if not completely waterproof. While this may be true, this is only true for the exterior of the phone and the internal components are still very sensitive and vulnerable to water damage. This includes the motherboard, which is a necessary component that allows the proper functioning of other hardware elements of the phone such as the CPU, RAM, etc.
The charging IC (Integrated Circuit) or any other IC, along with the lithium-ion battery present in most smartphones, are also other components that are essential for the phone to run properly and may become overheated when damaged. If your phone has been in recent contact with water or has been submerged, this may be a sign that water has damaged your phone.
2. Visible Water Droplets on Screen
Sometimes, a few water droplets can go beneath the screen, which is a clear indicator that there is water in your device. The best thing to do in this situation is turn off your phone as the liquid can cause other internal components to short circuit and make the device irreparable. If you suspect that there is water under your screen but it isn’t clearly visible, you can turn off your phone and shine a flashlight on the screen to easily see where the water droplets are.
3. Foggy Screen
A phone screen can also appear foggy when there is water or moisture underneath it. In this case as well, you should stop using your phone immediately and turn it off to prevent further damage.
4. Damaged Speakers
If water gets inside your speakers, then it is very likely that you will be able to spot it as the sound coming out of your phone will be muffled or full of static.
5. Damaged Microphone
Water droplets can get inside your phone and affect the microphone. Thus, people might not be able to hear your voice on calls because of water damage to the microphone.
6. SIM Card or Slot Malfunctioning
A SIM card is a very delicate chip that allows you to make phone calls, receive text messages, etc. and even a little bit of water can harm it. Similarly, water in the SIM slot of the phone can damage the card itself and prevent it from working properly so if you are having connectivity issues or facing problems while making calls, there is a chance your phone might have sustained water damage.
7. Device Not Powering On
As mentioned above, critical internal components of a phone such as the motherboard, integrated circuits, battery, etc. are very delicate and not waterproof. While a little water might cause the phone to overheat initially, if it is not treated, the phone may eventually turn off and not power back on.
8. LDIs or LCIs
LDIs (Liquid Damage Indicators) or LCIs (Liquid Contact Indicators) are indicators that most smartphones are equipped with. These indicators are color-coded and activate only if water or a liquid containing water comes in contact with the indicator. They are usually clearly visible from the outside and are used to check if the phone has been exposed to water even if it isn’t obvious.
LDIs are usually used by Android or Samsung phones, in which these indicators are located inside the SIM or SD card tray, depending on the device. LCIs are similar indicators and present in Apple products like iPhones and iPods. They can be located inside the SIM card tray, headphone jack, or the lightning connector, depending on the model you own. To look at the indicator in all kinds of phones, you will need a flashlight.
In iPhones, the LCI strip will be white or silver in color but will turn completely red as soon as it is exposed to water or a liquid containing water. In Samsung phones, the indicator strips tend to be white or white with pink or purple Xs, which turn completely red, pink, or purple if exposed to water.
Dos and Dont’s to follow if your smartphone falls in water
There have been a lot of myths going around the internet regarding what one should do if water gets in their phone’s charging port. So here are some dos and don’ts to help you save your phone if it has sustained water damage:
The only important thing to do when your phone has been exposed to water is turn off your phone immediately and allow it to dry. As mentioned above, water can seriously harm the phone’s internal components and even make your phone irreparable. Keep reading to find out the many ways to dry and remove water or moisture from your phone.
- Putting the phone in rice
On the internet, telling someone to put their electronic devices in uncooked rice to solve any issues with it has become a running joke. This may have originated from multiple websites recommending people to use uncooked rice to dry their phones and while it is true to some extent as rice works well in removing moisture, it has been proven to be more harmful to the phone.
This is because it is very likely that submerging your phone in a container of uncooked rice will lead to small bits of starch and debris present in it to seep into your phone’s openings such as the charging port and the speakers, causing even more damage.
- Blowing air from your mouth
On seeing that “Water Detected in Charging Port” alert, it is natural to panic and think about the fastest way to dry your phone. In that moment, blowing some air into the charging port may seem like a good idea but by doing so, you might be inadvertently pushing the water droplets even deeper into the port and thus, inside your phone.
This way, when you power up your phone or plug it in, the water could cause even more harm to the phone by risking the internal components to water exposure.
- Using a hair dryer
Using a hair dryer to dry the charging port of a phone exposed to water is also a way that might seem effective but is the exact opposite. A hair dryer, especially on its hot setting, can be extremely harmful as the metal inside the charging port can become deformed due to the high amount of heat. That being said, many people assume that using a hair dryer in a cold setting might do the trick but unfortunately, that is also not the right way.
Using cold air from a hair dryer is quite similar to blowing air from your mouth as it will push the water further inside your phone and potentially damage it.
- Inserting q-tips, tissues, etc. in the charging port
Using q-tips or paper towels to remove the moisture out of the charging port of a phone can be counter-productive. This is because small bits of cotton or paper could get stuck in the tiny crevices and metal pieces in the charging port.
These bits can then go on to block the charging port, thus preventing the cable from charging the phone properly, and create other problems even when the device has completely dried.
- Using isopropyl alcohol
Isopropyl alcohol is the best choice for cleaning electronics since it evaporates very quickly and leaves no oil residue. However, many people believe that submerging a water-damaged phone in isopropyl alcohol will remove all the moisture from it.
It is best to take this advice with a pinch of salt because every solution of such alcohol will contain at least a little water as well, which is enough to damage the phone even further.
- Leaving the phone under sunlight
When you decide to leave your phone to dry, make sure that the phone is not under direct sunlight as it can seriously damage the phone. Direct sunlight can melt the metal inside the charging port of a phone and make it difficult to function properly even when there’s no water in it.
Additionally, it can also unnecessarily overheat the device, potentially causing heat damage in an attempt to dry the phone faster. It is best to have patience and let the phone completely dry naturally.
How water usually gets into charging port (and how to avoid these)
Smartphones are often advertised as water-resistant or waterproof but as mentioned above, water can do a lot of damage if it gets inside the phone and reaches the sensitive internal components.
The charging port is one of the ways it could reach the internal parts so it is important to understand how water gets into the charging port of a phone and how you could protect your phone from water damage. Here are some of the ways your phone can sustain water damage and how to prevent them:
- A sure-fire way to get water in your phone’s charging port is jumping in the swimming pool with your phone in your pocket. It is a common mistake and while in some cases the phone is absolutely fine afterwards, it is likely that the phone does not dry properly and some water droplets remain in the charging port, preventing it from working properly. The only way to prevent this is always checking your pockets before going anywhere near a pool.
- Some people tend to leave their phones in the bathroom while they shower. This can cause the steam to seep into the phone’s crevices, which can lead to moisture in the charging port. Even a few splashes can lead to water droplets causing severe water damage to a phone, which can easily happen if you place your phone by the sink while you wash your hands. This is especially so if the water gets inside the phone through the charging port.
- Moisture could build up or water could get inside a phone’s charging port if your phone is in your pocket or if you are using your phone while being out in the rain. Some phones may survive this, depending on the situation, but don’t be surprised if you get the dreaded “Water Detected” alert after you took your phone outside while it was raining. It is always best to leave your phone inside or if you absolutely need your phone, make sure to put it in a ziplock bag or inside a waterproof container to keep it safe from water damage.
- A drink spilt on your phone can also lead to water inside the charging port or a buildup of moisture and cause further water damage. Thus, it is always wise to keep your phone away from the table, in your pocket, or in a bag while you are eating or drinking.
List of Waterproof phones
With all this talk about water damage in phones, you might be wishing for a phone that can be submerged in water and not be harmed. Luckily, a lot of new smartphones now claim to be waterproof or water-resistant to some degree. However, these two terms–waterproof and water-resistant–are often used interchangeably but mean very different things.
Waterproof phones can be fully submerged in water up to a certain depth and for a certain period of time, and not be harmed at all. On the other hand, water-resistant phones can only withstand a few splashes or drops but will probably not survive being submerged in water. Thus, it is very important to know the difference between the two before buying a phone or tablet.
One thing that measures how waterproof a phone or tablet is its IP or Ingress Protection rating. This rating specifies how effective a device is in keeping out dust or water. It consists of two digits–the first one rating its protection against dust and other solid particles on the scale of 1 to 6 and the second digit rating its protection against water on the scale of 1 to 9. Popular IP ratings are IP67 and IP68 for all the latest smartphones. IP69 or IP69K is one of the rarest ratings in smartphones and would mean that a phone is protected against close-range, high-pressure streams of high temperature water.
The following smartphones have been certified with an IP68 rating. This means that these phones can withstand immersion in water up to at least 3 feet.
- iPhone XS and XS Max
- iPhone 11 series
- iPhone 12 series
- iPhone 13 series
- iPhone 14 series
- Samsung Galaxy S21 series
- Samsung Galaxy S22 series
- Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro
- Google Pixel 7 series
- OnePlus 10 Pro
- Oppo Find X5 Pro
The following smartphones have been certified with an IP67 rating, which means that these phones are protected against immersion in water up to at least 3.3 feet for up to 30 minutes.
- iPhone 7 series
- iPhone 8 series
- iPhone X and XR
- iPhone SE (2nd generation)
- iPhone SE (3rd generation)
- Google Pixel 6a
- Samsung Galaxy A52 series
- Samsung Galaxy A53
- Samsung Galaxy A72
- Samsung Galaxy A73
Despite these high IP ratings, it is best to not treat these phones as if they are completely waterproof as almost none of them are covered under the warranty and the damage, if it occurs, could be irreparable. Moreover, while a phone might be truly protected against water exposure in the beginning when it’s new, its protective seal may weaken or erode over time with wear and any exposure to water or dust may become a serious threat.
5 ways to resolve water and moisture issues (step by step)
Since we are humans, it is only expected that we will make mistakes. So don’t beat yourself up if you accidentally get caught in a downpour or the phone slips from your hand and into a bathtub. Follow these simple steps to dry your phone immediately and remove any water or moisture from the charging port:
1. Turn the phone off
The first thing you should do as soon as you notice water on your phone, especially inside the charging port, is turn it off immediately and not connect it to any accessory or the charging cable. You should also turn your phone off as soon as you get a “Water Detected in Charging Port” or a similar kind of alert.
As mentioned above, this is because your phone functions as a result of small electrical charges inside it between various internal components. If water gets inside a phone, it might short the internal integrated circuit of the phone and make it irreparable. Thus, it is best to turn the device off and dry it completely before turning it on again.
2. Wipe the phone
Use a clean and dry towel to wipe the phone as dry as possible from the outside so that all the visible water is wiped off the phone’s surface and all the ports. A microfiber cloth is preferred for this step as it won’t cause any scratches and is extra absorbent.
3. Tap the phone to get the water out
This is a very important step that might get most of the water out from the charging port. Hold or place your phone vertically, with the charging port facing downwards, and tap it gently but firmly to use gravity to get the water out. If your phone was completely immersed in water, you may see drops of water fall out. Do this a few times till you are certain that most of the water has come out.
4. Remove the SIM card
The SIM card is a very sensitive and complex chip that is inserted in your phone and allows you to make phone calls, send and receive text messages, connect to the internet, etc. so it only makes sense that even a little bit of water can damage it. The same goes for memory or SD cards so it is best to remove them.
You can also check the color of the LCI or LDI strip of your phone using a flashlight. If it is red or purple in color, that means that the phone has incurred water damage but if it is solid white in color or is white with red or purple X’s, then your phone should be fine after it dries.
5. Let the phone dry
This is perhaps the most difficult step despite being the simplest because now, you will have to leave your phone and let it dry for a while before turning it on again. Make sure to leave your phone in a room where air is freely circulating so that the water can naturally evaporate out of the phone.
Wait at least 30 minutes before turning the phone on again. Connect the charging cable again and it is likely that you won’t see the alert again as the water will have dried off. However, if you do see the “Water Detected” alert, disconnect the phone from the cable, turn it off, and let it dry in a well-circulated room for 2 to 4 days. You can also try the tapping technique again to get some excess water out.
Alternate Ways to Solve Water/Moisture Issues
- Some people believe that using a hair dryer on the cold setting can help the water or moisture inside the charging port of the phone dry faster. It is also better to use it on the lowest setting possible in terms of speed so the metal parts inside the port aren’t damaged.
- Using a vacuum cleaner with its hose attached to the exhaust side can also help the water or moisture to dry faster as it will remove most of the water out of the phone. Remember to never place the phone very close to the vacuum cleaner while it is on as it might damage the tiny parts of the charging port or speakers. It may help to place your hand over the end so that only a little bit of air is passed.
- To take it a step further, you could place your phone in a sock with a hair dryer or vacuum cleaner attached to the opening. The sock will absorb all the moisture while the hair dryer does its job.
- A lot of people suggest that placing your phone in a bag of silica crystals or silica gel packets will remove all the water or moisture from it as silica gel is an absorbent. However, this method is not any better than other methods as it will probably not dry your phone faster. In fact, it may even take longer to dry your phone using silica crystals than simply leaving it in a well-circulated room.
The phones we use are undoubtedly smart but unfortunately, they still remain largely susceptible to water damage. One of the most common problems that users face is getting water inside their phone’s charging ports. This can happen even with a few splashes or if the phone has been in a room with a lot of steam.
There is a lot of bad advice on the internet regarding water exposure issues. This includes the infamous “rice trick”, drying the water using a hair dryer or compressed air, cleaning the charging port with isopropyl alcohol, etc. but these methods can often go wrong and damage your device even more. One of the only ways to remove water from the charging port is to let it naturally dry or evaporate but first, the phone should be turned off to prevent the water from shorting the internal circuits of the device. Removing the SIM or SD card and battery (if possible) is also recommended.
What do I do when my Samsung says “Moisture Detected”?
Samsung phones will give you an alert saying “Moisture Detected in Charging Port” if there is some water in the charging port as it can damage the port and the phone too. They may also show an icon of a water drop in the notification bar or near the charging port with a battery sign if there is water in charging port (S10, S21, S22, etc.).
The only way to get rid of this alert is to dry your phone. To do that, you should first clean and wipe the phone with a clean and dry towel, preferably with a microfiber cloth as it will absorb moisture better. Do not use a q-tip or tissue paper because tiny pieces of cotton or paper can get stuck in the charging port and damage it. Next, hold the phone with the charging port facing down and tap it gently but firmly to let all the water get out of the phone. Now you will want to leave your phone in a well-circulated room for at least a few hours before checking on it again. It is likely that your phone will have dried off by then.
How do I get rid of “Moisture Detected” notification?
If you are certain that your phone is completely dry but you still see the “Moisture Detected” notification, it could be because of a malfunction in the system or the sensors located in the charging port to detect water. You can try a few different methods to solve this problem. One of the most popular methods is force rebooting the phone. To do this, you will first need to make sure that the phone is charged to at least 5%. Next, press and hold the power, volume up, and volume down buttons together for at least 15-20 seconds. Your phone will turn off and power back on by itself and the notification should be gone. Another method is signing out of your Samsung or Apple account and signing in again.
Will the water in my charging port go away?
It is normal to panic and worry about your phone when you realize that there is moisture or water in your phone’s charging port but the good news is that this water is very likely to evaporate or dry off naturally within a few hours. During this time, it is advised that you turn off your phone and keep it in a well-circulated room, preferably with a fan. After 30 minutes or so, you can turn the phone on again and try to charge it. If you still get the “Water Detected in Charging Port” (iPhone 11, iPhone 12, iPhone 13, etc.) or “Moisture Detected” (Samsung Galaxy S10, S21, S22, etc.), you should turn the phone off again and let it dry for up to 24 hours. You would now be able to charge your phone again and in some Android phones, you may even get a notification saying that the phone no longer detects any moisture.
Does the rice trick work?
The “rice trick” refers to how some people believe that putting a phone that has been exposed to water in a container or bag of uncooked rice will dry the phone completely and it will work normally again. There is some truth to this theory as rice can actually soak up some moisture but not all of it. Moreover, some people on the internet have claimed that this method solved their issues with getting water or moisture alerts.
However, in reality, this trick will do more harm than good. Many experts agree that leaving your phone in a bag of uncooked rice can lead to little bits of rice and starch, which are not easily visible to the naked eye, to get stuck in the charging port or speakers of the phone. These may then prevent the charging port from working properly, whether completely dry or not. Furthermore, it can also damage the metal on the charging cable so the “rice trick” is not recommended at all.
How long does it take for water damage to affect a phone?
Water damage can be mild or severe, reparable or irreparable, and it may also affect a phone instantly or weeks after it has been exposed to water. It all depends on many factors such as the amount of liquid it has been exposed to, for how long, etc. Even then, it can take some time for the water to really damage the phone because the components inside your phone might take some time to corrode before malfunctioning. This can be days, weeks, or even months.
If some components such as the battery or charging port are impacted, these can easily be dried out or replaced but if components of the motherboard of the phone have been affected by water, the phone usually becomes irreparable and even if it can be repaired, it is expensive and does not last for long.
Why does my phone keep saying liquid detected?
If your phone has been exposed to water or steam recently, some of it might have entered your phone’s charging port or internal components. You can check the Liquid Contact Indicator of your phone to confirm if there is truly some water damage inside your phone. However, in some cases, a phone will continue to display the “Liquid Detected” alert even after the device has dried completely because of a software or sensor malfunction. In this case, a forced reboot of the phone should solve the problem. To do this, you have to hold down the power, volume up, and volume down buttons simultaneously for 15-20 seconds and your phone will turn off and turn back on automatically. If you still see the alert, try signing out of your Apple or Samsung account from the device and signing in again.