Most of us have been there. We’ve dropped our phones, gotten them covered in some kind of sticky mess, or left them within a toddler’s reach. A banged-up smartphone is inconvenient, and so is finding and paying for repairs.
Luckily, there are some ways you can fix minor problems at home, so you can skip the trip to the repair shop and hopefully save some money while you’re at it.
If your cell phone has been dropped in the sink, toilet, shower or pool, the first step is to get it out of the water ASAP. Do not panic. Instead, swiftly remove it from the water and give yourself a pat on the back for getting it out. The longer it remains submerged, the worse the damage is likely to be. Do not press any buttons.
- Remove the battery if possible, as this will prevent your phone from short-circuiting. If you can’t access the battery, then carefully power down the device.
- Remove the SIM if possible, so that you can transfer your contacts and other important information to a new phone if it ends up that the current one is ruined.
- Remove the case and dry your phone. If you haven’t already removed the case, do so now and use an absorbent towel to dry the phone.
- Half-fill a sealable container such as a zip-top bag or reusable plastic bowl with rice or a desiccant. Place your phone inside and fill the rest of the container with rice or desiccant. This absorbs the moisture from inside your phone. Seal the container and (this is the hard part!) leave it alone for 48 hours. Once the time is up, remove your phone, replace the battery and SIM, and give the phone a try.
Touchscreen Won’t Respond
There are two things you can try if your touchscreen is sluggish or won’t work at all:
- Restart your phone
- Clean the screen using a screen cleaning towelette or a soft microfiber cloth
If neither of these works, check your manual to see if there is a way to recalibrate your screen without taking it in for repair. Not all touchscreens are alike, so DIY fixes may or may not work.
Condensation Inside Phone
Condensation can get into your phone when it is exposed to a damp environment. Instead of taking your phone apart, you can try baking it on very low heat inside a standard oven. Set the temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, place your phone inside, and leave it there for two to four hours. The condensation should evaporate and your phone will be as good as new. Do not microwave your phone, and do not turn the heat higher to attempt a faster fix.
Phone Consistently Overheats
The cause of an overheated phone is simple: the phone is working too hard or it’s not getting enough ventilation. Luckily, the fix is usually easy too. Just give your phone some space and close any apps you’re not using. Consider dimming the screen too, since this can help the cooling process go faster. If neither of these helps, it could be that a bad battery is involved. It’s important to replace a bad battery quickly, since serious injuries have happened in cases where overheated phones have caused burns or even exploded.
A scratched screen doesn’t always have to be permanent. You can either purchase a scratch remover made specifically for cell phones, or you can try a car scratch remover on the screen. You can also try toothpaste, as long as it’s not the gel type. Dab a little bit on a cotton swab and gently rub the scratch using circular motions until it disappears. Use a slightly damp cloth or screen cleaner to remove residue.
Broken Screen or Other Catastrophic Incident
You can purchase a DIY screen replacement kit if you break your screen, but why bother? These kits are notoriously difficult to use and doing anything more than the very minor DIY smartphone repairs mentioned here can void your warranty. There is a relatively new service available here in the US that brings cell phone repair to wherever you are – home, office, or even out enjoying fun with friends or family.
CellSavers fixes broken screens, power buttons that don’t work, and other problems that fall outside the realm of DIY, but you don’t have to travel, find parking or wonder what’s happening to your data in a shop’s back room. They’re getting consistently great reviews on Yelp! and opening new locations regularly, so check them out if you have a problem that you can’t fix.
They currently serve a number of cities across the country, such as Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Austin and several others.
Nemanja is an enthusiastic researcher and avid writer with interests ranging from martial arts, weight loss, fitness and cooking, to interpersonal communication, motivation, technology and productivity. When he’s not busy reading or training, he scribbles a few articles at MyCity-Web and tries to get around to writing a short story.