No matter how careful we are, iPhones sometimes get wet. It is a fact of life. Whether we spill drinks on them, drop them in the bathtub, have kids soak them in the sink, or any other kind of watery mishap, iPhones get wet.
But a wet iPhone isn’t necessarily a dead iPhone. Although some iPhones can’t be saved, try these tips before declaring your beloved gadget dead.
Some of the advice in this article applies to wet iPods as well, and we’ve got all the details on how to store a wet iPad, too.
Get an iPhone 7 or later
Probably the easiest – but not the cheapest – way to save a wet iPhone is to get one that’s waterproof in the first place. It is the iPhone 7 series. Both iPhone 7 models, as well as the iPhone 8 and iPhone X series, are waterproof and have an IP67 protection rating. This means the phone can survive in up to 3.3 feet (1 meter) of water for 30 minutes without being damaged. You won’t have to worry about spilling a drink on an iPhone 7 or briefly dropping it in the sink.
Even better, the iPhone XS and XR series have an IP68 waterproof rating. This means that they can be submerged in up to 2 meters of water for 30 minutes without being damaged.
However, if you don’t have one of those models, try the tips and tricks in the rest of this article to keep your device wet.
Preparation for drying the device
- Never turn it on: If your iPhone is water damaged, never try to turn it on . This can cause a short circuit inside the electronics and further damage it. In fact, you should avoid anything that might cause electronics to work, like receiving notifications that light up the screen. If your phone was off when it got wet, you’re fine. If your device was on, turn it off.
- Remove case: If your iPhone is in a case, take it out. It will dry faster and more completely without the cover retaining hidden water droplets.
- Shake off the water: Depending on how soaked you are, you may be able to see water on the headphone jack, lightning jack, or other areas of your iPhone. Shake off the water as much as possible.
- Wipe it clean : With the water agitated, use a soft cloth to wipe down the iPhone and remove all visible water (paper towel works in no time, but a residue-free cloth is best).
Your best bet: Let it dry
The best and safest method of storing a wet iPhone is to let it dry naturally. When you do, try these tips:
- Remove the SIM card: The more dry air inside the moist iPhone, the better. The battery cannot be removed and there are not many other openings, but the SIM card can be removed. The SIM slot isn’t big, but every little bit helps. Don’t lose your SIM card!
- Leave it in a warm place: Once you have removed as much water as possible from the phone, keep the device turned off and leave it in a warm place to dry for a few days. Some people leave water-damaged iPods or iPhones on top of a TV, where the heat from the TV helps dry out the device. Others prefer a sunny windowsill. Choose the tactic you want.
If you need more help
If you want to try a more thorough drying, or want to speed up the process, here are some ideas.
- Try silica gel packets: You know those little packets that come with some foods and other products that warn you not to eat them? They absorb moisture. If you can get your hands on enough of them to cover your wet iPhone, they will help absorb moisture. Getting enough can be a challenge – try hardware, art supplies, or craft stores – but they are a great option.
- Put it in rice: This is the most famous technique (although not necessarily the best). Get a zippered bag big enough to hold your iPhone or iPod and some rice. Reinsert the SIM card, put the device in the bag and fill most of the bag with uncooked rice (do not use enriched rice as it may leave dust). Leave it in the bag for a couple of days. In that time, the rice must extract moisture from the device. Many wet iPhones have been stored this way. Just watch out for the pieces of rice that get into the phone.
- Use a hair dryer: Be very careful with this one. It may work for some people, but you can also damage your device this way. If you decide to give it a try, run a hair dryer on low power on your wet iPod or iPhone about a day after it got wet. Do not use anything more intense than low power. A good fan is another good option.
Try this only if you are desperate
- Take it apart: You better know what you’re doing, because you can ruin your iPhone and void your warranty, but you can take your iPod apart to dry the wet parts. In this situation, some people use the hair dryer, others like to separate the parts and leave them in a bag of rice for a day or two and then reassemble the device.
Try the experts
Don’t you want to take on this task yourself? Try people with experience in these matters.
- Try a repair company: If none of these tactics work, there are iPhone repair companies that specialize in saving water-damaged iPhones. A little time on your favorite search engine can put you in touch with a number of good providers.
- Apple Test: Although moisture damage isn’t covered by Apple’s warranties, an Apple policy introduced in May 2009, though not published, reportedly allows you to trade in submerged iPhones for refurbished models for $199. You will likely need to apply for this offer at the Apple Store and be able to prove that the iPhone was submerged.
Checking for water damage on a used iPhone or iPod
If you’re shopping for a used iPhone or iPod or lent your device to someone and now it’s not working as well, you might be wondering if it got submerged in water. You can do this by using the moisture indicator built into iPods and iPhones.
The moisture indicator is a small orange dot that appears on the headphone jack, dock connector, or SIM card slot. See this Apple article to find the location of the humidity indicator for your model.
The wetness indicator is far from foolproof, but if you see the orange dot, you need to at least consider that the device may have had a bad experience with water.
Software tips for dealing with a wet iPhone
After drying your iPhone or iPod, it can boot up smoothly and work like nothing happened. But many people run into some software problems when they try to use it for the first time. Try these tips, which also apply to iPod touch and iPad, to resolve some of the most common problems:
- What to do with an iPhone that won’t turn on
- How to fix an iPhone stuck on the Apple logo.