Tel: 0161 241 9458

Tel: 020 7096 1125

​Email: enquiries@3ef.co.uk


Saving your data from a mobile device that has been damaged by water or liquid

Statistics show the second leading cause of mobile device failure is water damage

(the first being damaged screens). 33% of broken smartphones are accidentally damaged

by water, rain, sea, drinks, toilets and showers all being common causes of this type of damage.

The best chance you have of recovering your data, and not causing further damage, is by

sending it to experts. Time is of the essence.

At 3EF we use specialist skills and equipment to enable us to recover data from water damaged

phones. You will never see us with a bag of rice (unless it's dinner time). We prefer science to

myth and use methods including:

  • Ultrasonic Cleaning
  • Circuit board component level corrosion and residue cleaning using chemicals and specialist methods developed in our in-house Research & Development Laboratory
  • Anti-corrosive chemicals applied to the cleaned components to protect against future corrosion
  • Solder reflow - Short circuits can cause cracked and corroded solder joints. We re-solder these joints by hand, restoring the proper electrical connections
  • Replacement parts and components - When required, we identify any parts which are irreparable and replace them
  • Along with other methods we have developed and pioneered in our Research & Development laboratory 

What to do if you damage your phone with water……

The most commonly given advice on the internet is 'put your phone in a bag of uncooked rice'. This is a bad idea for two reasons:

1.Rice is a very poor desiccant and will do little to draw the moisture from your phone. Also, water very quickly finds its way into the deepest recesses of the internal circuitry of the handset, making it almost impossible to properly dry a phone out using rice or any other desiccant.  

2.Time is of the essence when dealing with water damaged phones - Once liquid has entered a phone, it immediately starts to corrode contacts and components within it; the longer a phone is left with water inside it, the worse the corrosion becomes and the chances of recovery diminish. Leaving a phone in a container or bag with rice for a few days to dry out will only allow corrosion to take hold, reducing the chances of a successful recovery. Rice will not save your precious data - We can. Time is critical; the sooner we receive the phone after it has suffered liquid damage, the higher the chances of recovery.

If your phone has been exposed to water, remove the battery as soon as possible. Water causes short circuits between components and will damage them if left powered on. Additionally, Lithium-ion batteries, the type found most commonly in mobile phones, react badly to water and can cause additional damage if left inside. If it is not possible to remove the battery, power down the phone (if it has not already shut down) as soon as possible and do not attempt to power it back on again. Often, the lithium ion battery found in the device will be irreversibly damaged due to an extreme discharge caused by a short circuit and will need replacing or bypassing altogether during the recovery process. Other parts that commonly short circuit are charge ports, flex cables and mechanical buttons. We can replace any parts that are irreparably damaged.

There are many places within a mobile phone that water can hide. Without a full disassembly, including case, screen, motherboard and heat-shields, it is impossible to purge all droplets of water from a phone and clean the resulting mineral deposits, contaminants and corrosion thoroughly. We fully disassemble the phone, then professionally clean each component, replacing and re-soldering if necessary.

If you manage to completely dry the phone out yourself, it will likely still not work. This is because the small particles that were in the water remain behind. These small deposits of residue left behind on the phone cause short circuits and cause corrosion. This residue and corrosion can block important connections and create new current paths. What’s worse, the corrosion can grow and affect other functions of the phone as time goes on. To combat this, we use a proprietary cleaning process to stop corrosion build-up and remove residue. This is why it is important to get your phone to us as soon as possible after it has been water damaged.