Report: how I saved my FP4 after dropping it in a lake

Hello! I would like to share a nice Fairphone story that happened last summer. The story of how I dropped my phone into a lake and could get it back to normal by changing the usb-c port, that was amazing!

So yes, last summer, while hopping on a boat with my FP4 in the back pocket of my jean (don’t do this. When hopping on a boat, secure your phone!), well, the phone escaped the pocket and the boat all together, and went down in the marina (I’m guessing, below 3 meters of water or so).
On top of everything, it was at night.

After finding some powerful lights, spotting the phone through the quite clean water of the lake, and swimming down to get it back, I was surprised to notice that it was still on, by pressing the side button. I did not want to create any shortage by touching it more so I waited until we arrived in the holiday home, placed the phone in a bowl of rice and went to bed.

My friends came to me in the morning telling me “the rice is talking”. My radio application, programmed to start at 8am, had started. The phone seemed to work! But when I tried to stop the radio, I could not, because the screen did not react to touch anymore. So I opened the phone to remove the battery. At this point, I noticed that the inside of the phone was still very wet.
Later in the day, I found some screwdriver to further open the phone and to dry it in separate pieces to make sure the water was not stuck somewhere.

After 1.5 day in the rice I had to leave so I put my phone back together, and miracle, the screen was reacting again! The phone seemed to work perfectly fine after a few tests (internet, photos…)
But when I tried to charge it, it did not went well. The charge was very slow and then stopped completely as if the usb-c connection was not working anymore. I had similar problems when connecting my earplugs via usb-c so I was convinced the connection was the problem. On top of things, probably because of some heating during the charge, some more water/condensation had appeared on the battery, as I noticed when I opened the phone again.

So, I kept my phone off during my travel back home, and once arrived, re-installed it in rice for two more days.
Then I tried charging it while off and this worked fine, the charge was fast.

But in the following days, I could notice that sometimes, the charge was not working, and sometimes, the connection of the earplugs was not working. It was intermittent but frequent.
So I bought a new usb connector on the Fairphone website, it arrived in a few days, and I changed it. I could see some traces on the old one that may indicate some over-heating… Or maybe I’m just over-interpreting.

Since this replacement of the usb-c connector, that costed me 19 euros, my phone is like new!

I wanted to share this story in particular to thank the Fairphone team for their amazing FP4, which can apparently survive 20 minutes in 3 meter-deep water, and of course for the modular approach that we love!


Welcome to the community forum and thanks for sharing, it’s awesome you got your functional phone back :+1: .

:warning: Advice for others … please read our waterwiki in case of suspected water damage.

Never do this while suspecting water damage!

Never do this while suspecting water damage!
(At least not without a separation layer of some sort.)


Thank you for the advice! I clicked on “waterwiki” in your message but found nothing, maybe there is another link to find it?

Yes pressing the side button is not a good idea in this scenario, but I actually pressed it by mistake while grabbing the phone.

But I’m interested to learn why placing the phone in rice is not a good idea? I think that’s a common reflex with electronics and water damage. Is it because of a risk of some rice ending up stuck in the phone?

“There are no more waterwiki topics.” … meaning no more than the one already listed :wink: .


I guess this is (still) a controversial topic. My main concern would be that the fine dust from the rice enters the phone, might even combine with the humidity and makes it all worse.
Another concern is that water is not ever 100% pure in real-world situations. So if you just dry off the water, you’ll be left with residue that can lead to problems. That point of view is taken here, along with one way of handling it, namely displacing the water by alcohol, then letting that dry.
(The author of that article is someone who repairs such devices for a living, so it’s probably backed by a good amount of experience.)


Thank you both! Indeed I must have been tired yesterday when I did not find the waterwiki guide ^^
It’s a very useful wiki!

And thank you for the ifixit page on how using alcohol to displace water, that seems like a great idea in theory! But the fact that I would have to scrub the electronics of my phone is stressing me in this description. I understand why it’s a good idea and that you obviously can scrub gently, but I’m always worried to break something and avoid touching anything more than I have too.

Hi @Zofia, welcome to the community forum and thank you so much for sharing your story - this was a really fun read and we are happy to hear your phone survived the dive!

Thank you @AnotherElk for already adding some important advice for people reading this. I would also like to emphasize that the Fairphone 4 has an IP54 rating, but is NOT completely waterproof. So… please don’t try this at home (if you can avoid it). :wink:


Apple explicitly agrees … “Don’t put your iPhone in a bag of rice. Doing so could allow small particles of rice to damage your iPhone.”
( … Thought I’d leave this here because it’s in the news currently.)