Kent German Q:
, CNET's cell phone guru, wants to answer your questions about cell phones, services, and accessories. Send him a question!
My husband lost his phone, and we know that someone has picked it up. We assume that person has every intention of keeping it, since they hung up on us when we called the phone. Will they be able to view the contact list, old text messages, or listen to voice mail after our provider suspends the service?
A: Your carrier can cancel your service, but they can't deactivate your phone completely. So while the culprit won't be able to make calls with your number or access your voice mail, he or she would be able to access anything stored on the phone. Unfortunately, that would include any contacts or old text messages.
Motorola Slvr L6
I just had an accident with my Motorola Slvr L6
--it fell into my toilet. I got it out quickly and removed the battery and the SIM card
. I was told to wait for three days before checking to see if it works. Is there any chance of knowing if it's OK sooner than that? What are the possibilities of it working?
A: A wet cell phone is a common problem, but it doesn't necessarily mean the end of your mobile. I can't tell you for certain if your L6 will work, but you did the right thing by getting it out of the water as quickly as possible. Limiting your handset's time in the drink is essential for a speedy cell phone recovery. You were also correct to remove the battery and the SIM card, as water will most likely zap the battery before it will kill the phone.
What are your tips for a wet cell phone? Talk back to me below.
Now concerning how long you should wait, three days is a good amount of time but I don't think you have to wait that long. It's more important that you make sure the phone is completely dry. And don't try to rush it by using a hair dryer, roasting it in the oven, or putting your L6 in the direct sun, as too much heat can cause further damage. Let it dry naturally by placing it on a table in a warm room and by dabbing it with a cloth. I realize it takes some patience, but either you wait a couple of days to dry it thoroughly, or you fry it into oblivion by turning it on too soon.
Here are some tips for saving a wet phone.
- Again, remove the phone the water as quickly as possible. Also, remove the battery and SIM card and put them aside.
- You can try putting it in a jar of uncooked rice. It can soak up the water more quickly. Also, you might try putting it in a plastic bag with silica packs that absorb moisture. You can find them in some shoe boxes and other packaging.
- If your phone falls in salt water, you should rinse with it distilled water to remove any salt crystals or other minerals before allowing it to dry.
- Some experts recommend using denatured alcohol to remove sediment. I've never tried this method, so I'm a little wary of it.
- Don't attempt to use your phone if the display is foggy.
- Once you think your phone is dry, try reconnecting the battery and turning it on. If it still doesn't work, you can try replacing the battery. Just be sure to use a battery specifically made for your phone.
- Carriers will not replace a phone that has water damage, so don't try to take it back. A wet cell also will void a warranty. Most phones have a small, round sticker behind the battery cover that is used to check for moisture damage. The sticker, which is usually white, will turn pink or red if it's been exposed to water.