Water Damage 101: How to Protect Your Smartphone from Spills


Liquid is your smartphone’s number one enemy, and it doesn’t take much of a spill to cause damage. Liquid can permanently destroy a device, and unfortunately, water damage is often excluded from phone insurance policies. Many manufacturers actually include a sticker that will change when exposed to water, and that’s how claims get denied.

If you want to protect your smartphone from spills and other sources of water damage, you need a plan and some protective tools.

First things first – get a water-resistant case

When you’re going to get a protective case for your phone, get one that has water-resistant properties. You probably don’t need a case that will allow you to submerge your phone up to a certain depth, but if one of those cases calls to you, why not? It will come in handy if you need to take your phone to a water park. Otherwise, stick with a tried-and-true phone case that has been rigorously tested to prevent damage from drops, shocks, and liquid.

A water-resistant case will protect your phone against spills, like if your phone gets wet on the kitchen sink or your cat jumps on your desk and knocks your coffee over onto your phone. Water-resistant cases are also great for pool parties and trips to the beach, where people might spill or drip water over your belongings after getting out of the water. However, a water-resistant case will protect your phone against common accidents, like dropping your phone into the toilet, into a lake or pond, and any other random source of water.

Get that waterproof case

If you happen to visit water parks, the beach, or lakes, you’ll benefit from using a waterproof case. These aren’t cases for everyday use – they’re specifically designed to hold your phone in a tight, waterproof enclosure. Even if your phone is designed to be waterproof, don’t risk it. Most independent tests have found that a “waterproof phone” isn’t as waterproof as you think.

The best waterproof case won’t allow you to use your phone at all and is only designed to protect your phone while you might be exposed to significant amounts of water. These cases are ideal for going on roller coaster rides that pass through water, waterslides, river rafting, and similar activities where you aren’t going to use your phone.

Don’t rely on plastic bags

Even the most expensive plastic bags that claim to be water-tight probably aren’t. Independent experiments have shown that you can’t rely on these bags completely. The draw is that you can still use the touch screen through the bag, but since they aren’t completely reliable, they should only be used when you have no other option. For example, if you decide to go to the beach at the last minute and a plastic bag is all you have, you’ll have to make do with that and be extra cautious.

Use a plastic jar

When you’re at a beach, lake, or pool, you can drop your phone into a plastic jar with a screw-on lid, like an empty (and clean) peanut butter jar. Put the jar in one of your shoes so it doesn’t get kicked around, and your phone will be protected.

Back up your phone regularly

You should be making backups of your phone’s data on a regular basis. Even if your photos and files are synched to the cloud, make sure you download everything so it’s in your possession. The last thing you want is for some glitch to happen where your cloud data becomes inaccessible.

With all of your files backed up, you won’t have to worry if your phone does become water damaged. You might have to send it in for repairs or get a replacement if the damage is bad, but backups will give you peace of mind regarding your data.

Be mindful about sources of liquid

Last, but not least, be careful with your phone. Since phones are such an integral part of our lives, it’s easy to forget that your smartphone is an electronic device that needs to be protected from water. Maybe you set it down on the sink while you wash your hands or keep it next to your coffee on your desk.

Be more mindful of where you put your phone and avoid placing it near sources of liquid. If you want to prevent your phone from falling into the toilet, don’t use it in the restroom. By changing your habits, a little bit of awareness, and the right protective case, you can keep your smartphone protected from water damage.