My phone is water-damaged / I’ve cracked the screen – what can I do?

cracked_screenIf you’ve damaged your phone in some way – don’t panic!  There may be a way to fix the problem before you look into paying for a replacement or professional repair.




My phone got wet and now it’s not working – can I fix it?

If you dropped your phone in a sink (or in the toilet – yes, this does happen), or even if it has stopped working after being left in a damp and steamy bathroom, the good news is that you might well be able to dry it out yourself and get it operational again.

Get some silica gel – you will have seen these gel pouches when you buy electronic goods and they can also be bought from craft shops.  They absorb moisture very effectively, so pack your mobile phone in an airtight bag with packets of silica gel and leave for at least three days.  Take the back off and remove the battery and SIM card to speed up the process.

Hopefully the silica gel will have worked and drawn all the moisture from the inside of your phone.  If it hasn’t worked by this time, leave for a longer period, adding some rice to the bag and making sure that it is in an airtight container.

If that doesn’t work should I go to the manufacturer or my mobile provider to ask for a replacement?

Unfortunately, water damage is not covered by many manufacturers’ warranties, such as the Apple Care Plan.  Don’t think that you can get around that by pretending the fault has nothing to do with water either – on the iPhone there are four “Liquid Submersion Indicators” that turn pink when they come into contact with water.

So, if your DIY attempt with the silica gel doesn’t get your phone working again and you are at a point in your contract where ordering a replacement phone would be prohibitively expensive, it might be best to claim on your contents insurance, swallowing the loss of your no-claims bonus.  It’s worth checking the small print on your insurance if you have a very pricey phone model, but most people are covered for general damage.  Repairs to phones can get expensive, so going through your insurers will probably be the best option in this instance.

Quick checklist for if your phone gets wet

Wash off mud, coffee or any other gritty substances
Get the phone dry as quickly as possible by toweling it down
Turn it off!  Leaving the phone on while wet can cause damage to the operating system
Open it up and take out the battery and SIM card
Pack it in rice until you can get some silica gel and store your mobile somewhere warm, like an airing cupboard
Don’t plug it in!
Don’t put it in the oven or “dry” it out with a hair-dryer
Be patient…this drying out technique works in a lot of cases
Don’t try and get around the restrictions in your warranty…you will be found out


My phone / tablet screen has a crack in it – can I fix it by following online instructions?

There are lots of videos with step-by-step tutorials online for fixing broken screen, but our advice is – don’t bother!

Sadly breakages can happen, even if you have a protective case covering your phone or tablet and it can cost a lot to fix, so it is tempting to try and sort it out by yourself.

If it’s just the surface that is broken and the device is working okay, then buying a replacement kit might be the cheapest option.  There are lots of online resellers.

However, a broken screen is likely to have minute fragments of dangerous shards that you can cut yourself with, even if you’re being super-careful and there may be damage to the layer below…it can get complicated and messy, this really is a job for the experts.

Should I send it to the manufacturer / mobile provider for repair?

You should definitely call them and explain what the problem is.  Depending on your warranty or cover and the model of the device, repairs can get expensive, so ask for a quote before agreeing to them carrying out the work.

Get a comparison quote from a repair specialist in your area, this might be expensive, but it could be a lot cheaper.  A reputable business should supply their quote for the work for free.  Always get a firm quote in writing.

Typically phone screen repairs will cost between £50 and £200, depending on the extent of the damage.

My screen is damaged and the device doesn’t seem to be working properly either – what should I do?

In this case you will need a replacement and, as with a permanently water-damaged phone, it’s time to weigh up your options based on where you are in your contract.

Again it might be worth your while to claim on your Contents Insurance as it’s very unlikely that you will get a free replacement from your provider.

Quick checklist for if the screen cracks

Switch the device off and on again to check if all the functions are working properly
Use cotton wool buds rather than your fingers to run over the screen when checking for damage (be wary of cutting yourself)
Call your mobile provider and explain in detail what damage has been caused to get a repair quote
Get comparison quotes from repair specialists
Check the cost of claiming for the repair on your insurance


About Jenny Simpson

Freelance writer specialising in consumer technology and lifestyle matters. A former Journalist, with a long career in online marketing, which began in the Ringtones team at Orange - she's not responsible for Crazy Frog though! Jenny also writes about TV, films, music and digital marketing on her personal blog. Follow Jenny on Twitter: @jennysimpson