I am sure that you have heard of putting your phone in rice if you get it wet. That advice is widespread all over the Internet. People are following this advice hoping to save their precious photos, their contacts and messages. Stop doing the rice thing it doesnt work!
When you put your wet phone in rice it does not suck the water out. Instead it adds rice dust to the water that is in the phone. That dust is like food for rust and corrosion and makes the data recovery job much harder.
So, what do you do when you drop your phone in water? Don't use rice, oatmeal or Couscous. One thing you can do is start saving those tiny silica gel packets that come in vitamin bottles, shoe boxes and many other packages that need to limit moisture. You can put your wet phone in a ziplock bag containing a bunch of the silica gel packets but that is not as good as actually opening your phone and sitting it in front of a fan. That is right, just opening the phone and allowing air to circulate is the best way to dry the phone out. If that does not bring the phone back then it needs to be repaired by a professional.
I dont recommend attempting to repair the device for the sake of the device because even after professional treatment some components may still fail. The phone may work for days or weeks but it is very likely that certain features or the entire phone may fail at any time once the chips on the logic board have been wet. Because of this the focus should be on saving the data on the phone.
If your data is about to be lost forever then I recommend doing a Data Recovery job. A data recovery job uses processes that can bring the logic board back to life long enough to copy the data before the chips fail for good. At Mobile Device Rescue we use a Crest Ultrasonic Bath in our process and it has been known to work miracles. This expensive machine has the ability to make connections on the logic board work again when nothing else will. After we run the logic board through this process we then inspect it under a microscope. We are often able to see burns or popped filters which means that we may be able to save the data by replacing those tiny components on the logic board.
Microsoldering is a skill that is needed when doing data recovery jobs. If you can find the problem components on the logic board then with the schematics you can find out what that component does. Then we can order those components and solder them into place in an attempt to save the customer's data. This process is quite successful and I have personally saved a lot of data over the years with this process. I was inspired to write this blog post because I was able to save the precious photos on an iPhone 5 for a customer this morning. She is going to be very happy when I hand her a CD with the more than 5 Gigs of photos that she thought she had lost forever.