How often do you drop your phone down the toilet?

Angus Kidman 27 July 2016


Smashed screens and urinal dips turn out to be major risks for phone owners.

Smartphones are prone to mishaps. I spent a fair chunk of this year carrying around a Galaxy Note 4 with a noticeable chip in one corner. It still worked OK, and I just didn't have the energy to transfer everything to a new device.

Some people suffer rather more. One of my colleagues has an iPhone screen that is so badly smashed, it resembles a Salvador Dali mosaic. She doesn't want to pay for a repair, and she doesn't want to pay for a new phone, so she runs the daily risk of cutting her finger to ribbons when taking calls. Oh dear.

With everyone carrying around ultra-thin devices with massive glass frontages, it's no surprise that smashed phone screens are a big issue. A finder survey suggests that 28% of Australians have broken the screens on our phones. (If that has happened to you, check out our guide to how much you can expect to pay for repairs.)

However, that's arguably not the nastiest thing that can happen to your cherished device. The same survey found that 11% of us have dropped our phone in a toilet bowl. The younger you are, the better the chances that's happened: 17% of Gen Ys in the survey had experienced splashdown, compared to 9% of Gen X and 7% of the baby boomer generation.

If that does happen to you, retrieve the phone as quickly as possible. There's no time to be squeamish. Towel off all obvious surface water, power down the phone, and then place it in a container filled with either dry rice or kitty litter. While not 100% effective, this will help in a surprising number of cases. Our full guide to what to do if you drop your phone in water has more details.

I could finish this piece with a lecture about avoiding the risk in the first place by not using your phone on the toilet, but that would be massively hypocritical. Just be careful out there, folks.

Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears Monday through Friday on

Picture: Shutterstock

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