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What are the signs of water damage on a phone?

phone wet placed in rice

An accidental soaking is one of the most common ways to damage a phone, but the faster you act the more likely your mobile won’t be damaged beyond repair. So, what are the warning signs of water damage and what should you do about it?

While most modern phones have decent protection against water, that doesn’t mean they’re immune. Even with the highest IP-rating available, your mobile phone is still vulnerable to damage, breakdown, theft and loss.

Let the dedicated team of insurance specialists at Gadget Cover help you find the right mobile phone cover for your device. We offer cover for iPhones, Samsung phone insurance and much more.

Warning signs your phone may have water damage


No matter how careful you think you are, there’s a very good chance of getting your phone wet at some point. Perhaps it fell in the toilet, you knocked a glass of water onto it, or you forgot it was in your shorts pocket when you jumped into that swimming pool!

There are many hundreds of different ways your phone could come into disastrous contact with the wet stuff. But hopefully you’re there when the accident happens and can quickly spring into action to save your beloved mobile (more on that later).

But what if you weren’t there? What are the warning signs that suggest your phone might have suffered some water damage?

Water getting inside your phone can affect the device in several ways. By exposing the internal workings of the phone to water, important parts such as those responsible for storing memory or carrying out other important functions can stop working properly.

Indeed, depending on the type of water your phone has been exposed to, the damage can be even more severe. For example, the chlorine in pool water can play havoc with phone parts, while the salt in seawater can soon cause serious corrosion. When salt water dries, salt may accumulate and block the primary microphone, earpiece, or external speaker.

While freshwater is less harmful, it can still cause problems. The inside of a smartphone is highly complex and full of small pieces, including integrated circuits, capacitors, and resistors.

All of these are embedded on a printed circuit board. And you really don’t want to get such delicate parts damp.  

10 warning signs your phone may have been affected by water


  1. Blurry photos and videos. A sure sign that water has got into the camera lens.
  2. Muffled or distorted sound on phone calls and music. Or no audio at all!
  3. Static when connecting wired headphones.
  4. Droplets of moisture or ‘misting’ beneath the screen. Water here suggests the phone was wet for long enough that liquid entered through every possible opening. Also look out for dried water markings where water has evaporated.
  5. Inability to charge.
  6. Rusting of internal parts
  7. Corrosion or discoloration of ports. If your phone has them then check the headphone jack, memory card slot, charging port and any other openings your device may have.
  8. Warping at phone edges or buttons.
  9. Dark display.
  10. Total shutdown and end to all functionality.

If you notice your phone starting to play up shortly after it has come into contact with any liquid then you’ll probably suspect it’s been water damaged. And because our phones rarely leave our sides, we will usually know whether an accident involving water has occurred.

Damage caused to gadgets due to splashes or full immersion in water might not be covered by insurance. So, what can you do?

Never fear, here at Gadget Cover our protects against liquid damage. And if we can’t repair it, we’ll replace it!

Checking your phone’s Liquid Damage Indicator


What happens if contact with water was only minimal, or you quickly rescued your phone and wiped it down? You probably don’t want to wait for your phone to start misbehaving before doing something about potential water damage.

Well, the best way to identify if water has got inside your device is whether the so-called Liquid Damage Indicator (LDI) has been activated. This is also a good way to tell whether any problems are most likely caused by water damage, or whether you need to look for a different reason.

Manufacturers like Samsung and Apple are well aware phones may come into contact with water during their everyday life. So, this is certainly something they have in mind when designing these incredible machines.

Most Samsung and Android phones now come with a LDI strip located inside the SIM or SD card tray. To check the LDI on your phone do the following:

  • Power off the phone.
  • Remove the SIM card tray from the phone using the ejector tool.
  • Look inside the SIM tray slot and you will notice the LDI strip. You might need a small torch if the lighting is poor.
  • What colour is the LDI strip? If the phone has not been exposed to water, then the strip will either be solid white or have pink or purple Xs on it. If the phone has been exposed to water, then the strip will be solid pink, purple or red.

If your iPhone was made after 2006, then Apple will have placed a Liquid Contact Indicator (LCI) in the SIM tray slot. Just as with Samsung and Android devices, if the LCI has made contact with a liquid the white strip will turn red.

Unfortunately, a discoloured strip in your brand-new Samsung usually renders your phone ineligible for a standard manufacturer warranty. That’s why Samsung phone insurance is to be recommended.

If you have a recent Samsung or Apple smartphone, then these manufacturers have now added a useful new function. If you try to charge your device when liquid or moisture is detected in the charging port then you will be warned with an alert.

To protect your expensive phone and other accessories, charging and accessory connection will be unavailable until the port has dried out. That’s how seriously these manufacturers take the water damage issue.

Remember, if you have a Samsung phone insurance policy arranged through Gadget Cover then accessories up to £150 can be covered if they are lost, stolen or damaged at the same time as your gadget.

My phone got wet! What should I do?

sim card removed from phone

First of all, don’t panic! Modern mobile phones are built to withstand a mishap or two. That said, every phone is different. Just as Samsung phone insurance is going to be different from iPhone 14 insurance.

If your phone gets wet, here are 14 easy steps to give it the best chance of recovery:

1. Get it out of the liquid. The longer it stays wet the more potential for water to get inside and cause damage.                      

2. Shut down the device quickly. And don’t press any buttons if you can avoid it. The faster you turn off, the less potential for damage or corrosion to be caused to the sensitive internal circuitry.

3. Remove the protective case if your phone has one.

4. Liquids such as sea water, pool water, beer and fruit juice need to be removed from the device as soon as possible. Provided your phone is water resistant, then manufacturers such as Samsung suggest you rinse it off by submerging it in clean, still water for approximately 1 to 3 minutes. Don’t use running water as this may damage your phone.

5. Dry the body of the phone using a dry towel or a soft, clean cloth. Be careful that it’s gentle and lint-free.

6. Use a cotton bud to ensure complete water removal. Pay close attention to the earpiece, primary microphone, external speaker, headphone jacks or charging ports.

7. You can shake the phone gently to remove water inside the ports. But be careful to avoid vigorous shaking as this could cause any liquid inside to spread.

8. Remove the SIM-card, micro-SD card and battery if possible. Be aware that many modern phones won’t allow battery removal and may not even have a micro-SD card slot.

9. Open the phone and use compressed air to blow any water out of its insides. Do not use a hot hair dryer to do this as the heat can affect any rubber seals and may even damage the screen.

10. Use a fan blowing cool air to dry out the phone and any ports even further. Do not leave your phone in the sun to dry off. Any attempt to rapidly dry your phone using heat could cause more damage.

11. To absorb any remaining moisture, you can place the phone in an airtight container full of silica gel packets. Do not use a container of rice, unless you want rice particles to get into hard-to-reach places!

12. Never try to charge the phone until you are absolutely certain it has dried out. Charging a waterlogged phone or one with liquid in the ports, will cause further damage.

13. You’ll want to wait a few hours before attempting to charge your phone. If you have a recent Samsung or Apple phone then you’ll want to wait until the notification alert disappears. You can also learn about several other reasons why your phone may not be charging on a blog elsewhere on our site.

14. If your phone isn’t responding after all this, try not to start fiddling with it yourself. Take it to a professional repairer and give your Samsung phone insurance provider a call.

A brief note on the Samsung S Pen

The iconic Samsung S Pen stylus is one of the most sought-after accessories for those who own a flashy Samsung like the Galaxy S22 Ultra. However, what should you do if it is exposed to water at the same time as your phone?

With an IP68 rating you shouldn’t have to worry too much, but Samsung still advises users to take care.

Samsung says wiping it with a dry cloth and giving it a quick shake should be enough for the pen itself. But if water has entered the S Pen slot on your phone then you’ll need to gently remove the water from there before using it.

Ensure both your phone and S Pen are completely dry before inserting the S Pen. If the S Pen feels a bit stiff when you're trying to detach it then that might be because there’s still moisture in the slot.

Checking the waterproof rating – how much can your phone withstand?


Most top-of-the-range models on the market today feature excellent dust and water resistance ratings – so-called IP ratings. IP stands for Ingress Protection and measures a device’s effectiveness for keeping out solids and liquids.

The IP rating is made up of two numbers. With the first telling you how well protected it is against solids such as dust, and the second telling you how well protected it is against water.

So, an IP68 rating means your phone should be dust tight. And should be water tight for up to 30 minutes at a depth of 1.5m.

However, this doesn’t mean it can survive being submerged for longer periods or at deeper depths. And it won’t stand up to a high pressure or high temperature water jet.

Also, some manufacturers will have tested their phones to different standards. For example, Apple claims the iPhone 14 will withstand submersion at a maximum depth of six metres for up to 30 minutes.

For more information on what water and dust ratings really mean read our recent Gadget Cover guide. And while you’re at it, check out our Samsung phone insurance, too.

How to prevent water damage in the first place


Despite having decent levels of water resistance, if you decide to take your phone in the bath with you then you’re probably asking for trouble! Wouldn’t it be much better to avoid problems in the first place?

Water damage is a common problem for mobile phone owners, that’s why it’s such a good idea to arrange Samsung phone insurance that includes this. But as well as arranging insurance cover, here are a few of the best tips to protect your valuable device from harm.

Keep your distance

It’s reasonable to want to take our fun-filled modern smartphones out with us wherever we go. Apart from the fact they are so essential for so many activities nowadays, they are an expensive item and we like to keep them close.

However, if you want to avoid water damage then you’ll need to keep your precious phone well away from such situations. A bit of common sense now can save an expensive headache in the future.

For example, if you want some tunes when sitting next to the pool then why not pair your phone to a wireless waterproof speaker? That way you can keep your phone out of harm's way while still getting the benefit of your Spotify party playlist.

Handling your phone anywhere near water is always a risk. So, make sure to keep your distance and always dry your hands if you really do need to touch it.

Consider a waterproof phone with a decent IP rating when buying

When you’re looking for a new mobile phone, there are some tech specs you’ll always spend a lot of time considering. Battery life, processing power, storage capacity and screen size are always important to consider, but don’t forget to check the IP rating, too.

When it comes to protection against water, all phones are not created equal. From being caught in a rain shower to a good dunking in the toilet, an IP68-rated phone could be a great idea in the long run.

If you’re considering a waterproof phone then the team at Tom’s Guide have a list of phones that could be right for you. The list of top 10 waterproof phones you can buy today includes:

  • iPhone 14 Pro Max
  • iPhone SE (2022)
  • iPhone 14
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
  • iPhone 13
  • Google Pixel 7 Pro
  • OnePlus 10 Pro
  • Google Pixel 6
  • Samsung Galaxy S22+
  • Google Pixel 6a

For more tips on buying the perfect mobile phone, you’ll want to read Gadget Cover’s Ultimate Guide. It’s got oodles of advice and guidance on what features to look out for, the best smartphone brands, price plans, network choices, and so much more.

Invest in some decent protection

No, we’re not just talking about arranging great value Samsung phone insurance with Gadget Cover. Getting a well-designed case or cover suitable for your phone will protect your tech against potential water damage as well as drops, bumps, and scrapes.

Remember, if your phone gets a crack in it or other damage then it could allow water in, no matter how high your phone’s IP rating. And if you spend a lot of time near water then it’s perhaps also worth investing in a cover, case or pouch that’s been specifically designed to protect against water damage.

Otterbox, Spigen and Lifeproof make some of the best waterproof cases. These allow you to use your phone easily and protect it against short-term submersions and splashes. For a list of great waterproof cases suitable for a range of phones, read this article from the tech review team at the Evening Standard.

Buy a set of dust plugs

Take a look inside any phone port and you’ll soon notice a build-up of dust, dirt, and grime. To protect your phone’s most vulnerable ports from these nasties you’ll want to invest in a set of dust plugs.

The great thing is that these small custom-made protector plugs will fit all types of mobile phones and protect those ports against water, too. Bargain!

Protecting your perfect phone with Gadget Cover

a row of samsung phones

Hopefully this guide will help you to spot the signs of water damage, know what to do if your phone gets wet, and how to protect your phone from any future spills. However, sometimes it won’t be enough and that’s where Samsung phone insurance cover comes in handy.

The helpful team at Gadget Cover are always searching for the very best phone insurance cover suitable for your device, requirements and budget. From Samsung phone insurance to cover for iPhones and other Android devices, we’ve got you covered.

We offer a range of policies that all include protection against accidental damage and liquid damage. Policies can also cover against theft, electrical breakdown and unauthorised usage. And for an extra premium, your phone can be covered against loss, too.

Get a quick quote for Samsung phone insurance or any other make of mobile at Gadget Cover today.

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