Act Fast! What To Do When You Drop, Drown or Otherwise Destroy Your Phone

updated Jul 17, 2020
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(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

Technology is great, isn’t it? We carry smartphones now that are the size of a checkbook, and totally replace the need to carry a camera, notepad or music player (among a thousand other things). Of course, that means that when your phone has an accident, you’re losing a lot of utility. Because our phones are our lifelines nowadays, you should know instantly what to do when yours bites the dust.

Problem: You dropped it into water.

It should go without saying, but get it out of the water immediately. If it’s still powered on, hit the off button to keep it from short circuiting. Dry it off as best you can with a dry towel, then head straight to the kitchen to dunk the phone right into a bag of uncooked rice. The rice should help to pull the moisture out of the phone.

→ The Five Stages of Drowned Phone Grief

Problem: You dropped it and the screen shattered.

Be careful! There could be glass shards sticking out just waiting to get under your skin (literally and figuratively). For now, cover the screen with clear packing tape to protect your fingertips, then research repairs online. A new screen should cost around $100 at your local repair shop.

Problem: There are dead pixels on the display.

Sometimes, after drop or a drowning that hasn’t rendered your phone completely useless, you’re still left with a row or cluster of stuck pixels, which stay locked on displaying a single color (red, green, blue, or in the case of dead pixels, black). Your display isn’t totally hopeless, in this case, as some people have reported having luck massaging the dead pixels right out of the screen.

From Tim Wasson:

“I used a Sharpie marker and started slowly pushing on the screen. I pushed with enough force that the screen noticeably discolored under the cap, but not enough pressure that I was scared of breaking the screen. And slowly, 1 pixel at a time, the gray dead blob started moving up and toward the top of the screen. The blob left other dead pixels in its wake, but they were red in color instead of gray, and tended to fade and disappear within a couple of days. It took a couple of weeks of working on this process to get the gray blob out of the way, but I have finally succeeded!”