Ask LH: Is Water Trapped Inside My Phone?

Hey Lifehacker, Recently the right-hand edge of my Samsung S4 seems to have changed in a way I would describe as “misting up”. I suspect a little bit of water somehow entered my phone. Is this possible, and is there a risk my phone will be damaged? Thanks, Mistified

[credit provider=”Samsung” url=””]

Dear Mistified,

The misting effect could be caused by minor water damage or it could be an electrical fault in the touch screen caused by overheating. The fact your phone still works suggests that the problem is superficial — and therefore fixable. If some fog or water managed to get inside the display, you might be able to resolve the issue by removing the screen and giving the underside a clean.

The site iFixit has detailed instructions on how to tear down the S4’s display assembly without breaking the phone in the process. This is a fairly complicated process that involves the removal of myriad screws, clips and peripheral components before carefully prying the display loose. If you don’t regularly tinker with electronics, we’d recommend getting a tech-savvy friend to lend a helping hand (along with their tiny screwdriver kit!)

Naturally, if the phone starts playing up in other ways, such as erratic shutdowns and unexplained heat spikes, you should either send it in for professional repairs or cut your losses and buy a new phone. We’re sure you’ll agree that getting electrocuted isn’t worth saving a few bucks. (Incidentally, your phone’s successor happens to be waterproof, which could make it a worthwhile option.)

If any readers have experienced similar issues with their phones, let Mistified know how you handled it in the comments section below.


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