When a phone accidentally falls in water, we normally run to get rice.
It’s common lore that if your phone doesn’t turn on after getting dunked in water, you put it in rice. The logic here is that the rice will soak up the water, and your phone will work again.
But rice can take up to three days to fully dry your phone, and even then it’s not guaranteed that it’ll work again.
A company called TekDry is setting up electronics-drying locations around the US, where customers with wet gadgets come to dry them for $70 in special machines that literally pull the water out of them in a vacuum chamber. But if your phone doesn’t work because the water damage went too far, you won’t be charged anything.
It’s a much better deal than buying a whole new phone.
So far, you’ll only find TekDry locations in Colorado, Michigan, and New Hampshire, but they’re adding 82 more locations in California, New York, Philadelphia, and the greater Boston area in mid-October. In New York, two locations will be in Brooklyn, two in Manhattan, and two in the Bronx.
It’s actually quite satisfying to watch water ooze out of the sim port and the cracks around this old iPhone:
TekDry’s machines can dry phones in 30 minutes with an 80% success rate if you bring it within 48 hours of getting your phone wet.
Recently, it was discovered that Apple’s latest iPhones are much more resistant to water than previous generations. It turns out that Apple added gaskets around the edges and seals around important components into the latest iPhone 6s and 6s Plus to keep water out.
The new iPhones survived a test where they were dunked in a shallow bowl of water for an hour, with only the 6s suffering from a diagonal line across its screen. So you might not need to worry if you drop a new iPhone into, say, a toilet bowl.
However, another put the iPhone 6s under four feet of water for a couple minutes, which broke the iPhone from water damage. So if you jump into a pool with your iPhone, you still have a chance of saving it if you bring it to TekDry. (Still: Don’t do that.)
Other phones boast water resistance, like Sony’s flagship line of Xperia phones. But others are doing away with the feature. Samsung, for example, recently did away with the water resistance in its line of Galaxy smartphones.
TekDry also dries other devices, like tablets, laptops up to 13-inches, cameras, and basically any battery-powered portable device.