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Quick fixes to common mobile phone problems

01 July 2015

Dropped your mobile phone in water? Your phone keeps freezing up? Try our quick fixes to these common problems before calling in the experts.

Using smartphone by the pool
What do you do if your phone gets wet?

Mobile phones these days are pretty hardy, but they’re not entirely waterproof, shockproof or immune to the consequences of overuse. If you’re experiencing some problems with your phone, try these quick fixes before you give up on it.

What to do when your phone gets wet

It’s happened to many of us – you lean over to wash your hands and your phone slips out of your pocket and into the basin. Or you jump into a pool only to remember your phone has jumped in with you. 

Mobile phones get wet with surprising regularity. If it happens to you, here’s what to do:

  • Remove the battery. If you can’t, turn off the phone immediately. Water and power don’t mix and you can do irreparable damage to your phone if you leave it on.
  • Remove the SIM card, SD card and any other removable parts.
  • Pat dry as much of the phone as you can. Give it a gentle shake to reveal any water that’s hiding in the corners and pat it dry again. Do this until the phone is as dry as possible.

There will still be moisture in your phone once you’ve done this, so don’t switch it back on yet – it needs to be bone dry. Whatever you do, do NOT try to dry your phone with a hair dryer. The heat can do as much damage as the moisture. 

Dry rice is very good at absorbing moisture. Put your phone in a bowl and pour some dry rice over it. To protect your phone, you can put a layer of toilet paper or a paper towel over it. 

Leave it for 24 hours and then try switching it on. If it doesn’t start, give drying it another try with a fresh batch of rice. 

What to do when you drop your phone

If you drop your phone from a second storey window, there’s probably nothing you can do. But if it accidentally falls from a table or out of your hand, it may not be the end of the world. 

The screen will probably go black but before you give up, try these tricks:

  • If you have an iPhone, try pressing the lock and home buttons simultaneously for 10 to 15 seconds. Sometimes that’s all it takes to bring it back to life.
  • If you have an Android phone, try pressing the start/shut off button. Hold it down until it responds by either shutting down or turning on your phone.
  • If this doesn’t work, something may have come loose inside the phone. Open the back and try removing and replacing your battery and any other replaceable components.

Common fixes for frozen phones

Phones can sometimes freeze up for no apparent reason at all. Before you throw it across the room in frustration, try these frozen phone fixes:

  • Turn the power off, wait a few minutes and turn it on again. This will reset your phone and if it has frozen up because it was overheated, letting it sit for a few minutes will cool it down.
  • Remove and replace your battery. This is especially helpful if your phone has frozen up and you’re unable to turn it off.
  • If you can’t remove your battery, try holding the ‘power off’ button down until something happens. Sometimes a frozen phone has just slowed down to a crawl.

If your phone freezes up or has problems regularly, it may be because you’re working it too hard. 

Check your apps and remove any you don’t use. Also check the apps you do use and clear their caches. To do this, go to Settings/Applications and click on the app you want to clear. There should be an option to clear the cache. 

When all else fails, you can restore your phone to its factory settings. 

Remember to back up your files  and transfer all your photos, videos and other personal items to a cloud storage facility, your computer and/or an external storage device before you take this drastic step. 

Restoring to factory settings will literally give it a fresh start by wiping out all the data you’ve accumulated since you bought your phone.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.