Wet Cell Phone Rescue Tool That's Better Than Rice

·Special Contributor, Yahoo! Tech

Each year millions of phones are damaged by water.  The interior gets wet and the circuitry goes kaput. Replacing a wet smartphone can cost upwards of $400, so are there any ways to save a phone, especially an iPhone that’s gone for a swim?

Previously I tested the efficacy of drying a phone in uncooked rice, it worked for Blackberries a

nd some Android phones, but I couldn’t get it to save an iPhone. So when I saw a new product that promised a 100% success rate for resuscitating wet phones (including the iPhone), I had to try it.

First I dunked a powered on iPhone 4 in fresh water for 20 seconds, fully submerging it and cringing as I watched air bubbles popping out of the phone’s innards, as I knew water was rushing in. 

Then I pulled out the Dry-All Smartphone Recovery kit and followed the directions.  First turn the phone off, towel dry, put in the Dry-All case for 24 hours. The biggest mistake people make after accidentally getting a phone wet is to turn it on and see if it’s working. That can fire up the phone and further fry the circuitry. If the phone is in sleep mode (screen off but powered on, as it normally is in your pocket) do nothing but hit the off button and fully power it down once you remove it from the water.

The Dry-All can be purchased either as a one-time use bag for $11 or a five-time use case for $50. It is filled with proprietary dehumidifying beads that were originally designed to keep sensitive military equipment dry as it shipped across the ocean during World War II. The company claims that the Dry-All has a 100% success rate when drying out phones that have been submerged in water less than 30 seconds (if you follow their directions).

The main differential between their beads and other desiccants, like rice, is the speed at which they can remove moisture from the hone and thus prevent corrosion. Because the iPhone does not have a removable battery, its parts are less accessible and I presume harder to get dry than the other phones we successfully revived with rice.

So after 24 hours in the Dry-All container, I opened it with some hesitation and was pleasantly surprised to see the iPhone turn on. I had no problems with the phone, like non-working buttons or glitchy behavior.  I decided to try it again and sure enough after another 20 second soak and 24-hour period in the Dry-All container, the iPhone powered on again.

Now there are other products that promise smartphone resuscitation like the Kensington Evap pouch ($20) and when I tested it, it was also successful in reviving the iPhone after a 20 second dip.

One note: while both these products revived the phone to full working status – the iPhone’s Liquid Contact Indicator (located inside the headphone jack) had been tripped by the initial exposure to water and the pouches could not alter that indicator status. Once tripped that indicator voids the one-year warranty or any Apple Care warranties on the phone.

But if you are prone to wet phone incidents, having one of these rescue packs on hand seems like a good investment and might prevent you from having to spend a few hundred dollars on a replacement phone in the future.

[Related: Scratch Test – Does Your Phone Really Need a Screen Protector?]

Ethics Statement: All opinions expressed here are my own. I am not paid by any manufacturers or retailers.