How to fix a wet Galaxy S9+ (phone has water damage) that won’t turn on

Today’s post addresses another common situation with many Galaxy S9+ devices: what to do when device is wet and won’t turn on. As usual, we include one case below to give you a context of our solutions.

Problem: How to fix a wet Galaxy S9+ (phone has water damage) that won’t turn on

I put my phone Samsung Galaxy S9+ in a fish tank to take a video under water. The water level was hardly more than 2 feet. As soon as I put video recording was paused, thought it was responding to water as touch. I removed my phone the screen went off and came back after 10 seconds or so. So I started video recording again and put it under water. This time the screen went off and I removed it hoping the screen would turn on. But it wasn’t, though the flashlight was still on. I waited for a maybe 30secs or a minute, Then I pressed the power button trying to shut it off, it wasn’t responding. Then I tried to pressing Volume Down and Power Button together, this time flashlight turned off and it did not give any other response. After around 15 seconds the screen went on straight to Lock Screen and the screen was continously switching on and off. I knew something wasn’t right with the phone and tried turning it off normal way. I turned it off. After a while I could see water droplets on my front camera glass. Thats when I knew this phone wasn’t waterproof any more and water entered somehow. I kept for two days in rice. Then i removed it still water was seen on front camera. I tried turning it on. NO LUCK. I put it on charge hoping to see it respond, still no response. I am not sure what should I do. How do I solve this issue. In case I need it to take to service centre and As I have two year warranty,  and it is under warranty period is the water damage covered under it.

Solution: There are three things that you can do when dealing with water damage. Here’s what you need to do:

Step1: Dry the phone

On paper, the Galaxy S9+ has IP68 dust/water proof certification, which means that it should be fine up to 1.5m for 30 mins. It does not however, mention that you must not expose it to high pressure water like when you are swimming. Any movement in water can put pressure around the phone, which can then potentially compromise the integrity of the case. Samsung’s water-resistance protection is overrated and does not work all the time. It’s possible that your phone may no longer have the full water-resistance protection before you dunked it in your fish tank. This can happen due to a number of reasons but the most common one is when the device is dropped. Sometimes, the impact of the drop can break the phone’s case allowing water to enter later on.

If the only different thing you did was to submerge the device to water before noticing the current problem, water have entered the device. This is not good as this means the motherboard or some components may already be damaged. If that’s true and there’s already an on-going problem, it’s only a matter or time before the device fails completely, if it hasn’t yet at this time.

At this stage, the basic thing that you can do is to ensure that you dry the phone as best as possible. Being an end user, there’s only so much that you can do and this is one of them. If home remedy in drying your phone won’t fix the problem, you will need to get Samsung’s help.

Ideally, when home drying a phone, you should first dismantle the battery and disconnect components into parts. Doing so though will surely void the warranty so all you can do is to dry the entire phone and hope that moisture will be absorbed by rice or silica gel after a few days. As much as possible, consider using silica gel over rice as it’s more effective absorbing moisture. This is the reason why you find silica gel packets in your shoe box or bags. They’re also less messy than rice. You can get silica gel packets from your local craft shop. Once you have at least four packets of silica gel, put the phone inside a sealed plastic container and leave it there for at least 48 hours.

Step 2: Factory reset

If you are able to turn the phone back on after home drying it but the issue remains, consider doing a factory reset on it. This will help you check if there’s any software error that may have developed after the circuit was exposed to  moisture. This is meant to address possible app or software issues only so if nothing changes after doing it, you can bet there’s bad hardware in your device.

To factory reset your Galaxy S9+:

  1. Turn off the device.
  2. Press and hold the Volume Up key and the Bixby key, then press and hold the Power key.
  3. When the green Android logo displays, release all keys (‘Installing system update’ will show for about 30 – 60 seconds before showing the Android system recovery menu options).
  4. Press the Volume down key several times to highlight ‘wipe data / factory reset’.
  5. Press Power button to select.
  6. Press the Volume down key until ‘Yes — delete all user data’ is highlighted.
  7. Press Power button to select and start the master reset.
  8. When the master reset is complete, ‘Reboot system now’ is highlighted.
  9. Press the Power key to restart the device.

Step 3: Get Samsung’s help (Repair)

If your phone is still not working properly after a factory reset, or after drying it, repair may be necessary. As far as Samsung warranty is concerned, water damage is not covered by free repair so your 2-year warranty will probably be of no use. Still, we recommend that you talk to Samsung to get accurate information. It should be their technician who will determine if there’s indication of water damage in the device.


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