Yahoo! News - Testing the Limits of Drying

Water and electricity do not mix. All those electrical components and doodads inside your BlackBerry are carefully insulated… with air. Air is a wonderful insulator; it doesn’t conduct electricity. Otherwise, we’d all get horribly shocked every time we went to unplug a lamp. Water conducts electricity; poorly, but it does. When your smartphone gets dunked in water, all those carefully insulated bits and pieces can short out and damage your BlackBerry.

So what is there to do if your BlackBerry (or other smartphone for that matter) gets wet? I’m not talking about a few sprinkles of rain; I’m talking full-on, dropped it in the river wet. Should you turn it on right away? Put it in the oven? Let it dry overnight? The folks over at Yahoo! News were wondering the same thing. Would any smartphone come back to life after going for a swim?

Don't turn on a wet BlackBerry

Yahoo! News tested an Android device, an iPhone, and our beloved BlackBerry by fully immersing the devices in water for a minute (I had to watch with my hand covering my eyes). The advice they give for what to do next is spot on. DON’T TURN ON YOUR BLACKBERRY. Sorry I had to go all caps lock on you there, but it’s important. Turning on your smartphone after it's been in water could wreck it as all the water inside can create multiple short-circuits.

Allow the phone to air-dry, letting most of the water drain out. Pull your battery. Remember, that water is death to your powered BlackBerry. The potential for damage is greatly reduced if there’s no power in the device. Next comes a tip that has been around for ages: bury your BlackBerry (and battery, SIM card, battery door, etc.) in rice. Plain ol’ rice.

The idea is that the rice will draw out and wick away any moisture inside your device. Whether or not this is effective probably depends on a great number of factors, and may not work for all circumstances. What has never been in doubt is the build quality of your average BlackBerry. Of the three smartphones Yahoo! News tested, only one was able to power on after two nights in rice. Guess which one. (Hint: it was the BlackBerry).