How to Save an iPad from Water Damage

iPads are a bit more difficult to drop in toilets, the sink, and even the bathtub, but it can still happen. If you accidentally dropped your iPad in water, not all hope is lost. Here are some ways to recover it from most kinds of water damage.

As you may have learned growing up, water and electronics don’t mix at all, so it’s usually a good idea to not play with your gadgets while going for a swim or taking a shower. Of course, there are more and more waterproof iPad cases releasing on the market, and it seems that companies believe we should embrace the fact that both water and smartphones are both big parts of our lives.

However, an iPad by itself is certainly not waterproof by any means, and even a quick dunk in the bathtub can be catastrophic. The good news is, while every case of water damage is different, not every dip in the dunk tank will result in a completely broken device. This is why many users aim to recover their iPads from water damage by trying all sorts of tricks to dry their devices off as quickly as possible to prevent any further damage.


Of course, once water touches the handful of water sensors on the inside of your iPad, it’s resale value drops significantly, but if it still works and you plan on keeping it anyway, then you don’t really need to worry about that, specifically.

Here are some tips and tricks on how to recover your iPad from water damage and make sure that it still works, even after being completely submerged.

Immediate Steps to Take

When you discover that you accidentally dunked your iPad for a bath, your first reaction will most likely be taking it out and panicking without really knowing what to do, and that’s a completely normal reaction, but knowing the immediate steps to take right away will ensure that your iPad will live to see another day.


There are a few important steps to take between the time that you take your iPad out of the water and when you leave it out to dry:

Shut It Down: Immediately power down your iPad after you take it out of the water (that is, if it’s still working). This prevents the possibility of the device short circuiting and officially crapping out.

Open the Flood Gates: Anything that can be removed from your iPad, remove it. This includes any kind of case and even the SIM card tray if it’s an LTE-equipped model. Doing this allows any water on the inside to escape more easily.

Empty It Out: Get out as much water as possible by shaking your iPad, blowing on it, whatever you have to do. You may look like an idiot, but it’s worth it in order to save your iPad.

Don’t Bother with Rice

You have probably been told countless times that burying your iPad in uncooked rice will absorb the moisture and help the device dry quicker, but simple air-drying actually works far better.

So where did the rice trick myth come from anyway? A cellphone repairman says that he mostly tells customers to put their devices in rice “so that they aren’t trying to charge it to get it to come back on. Attempting to charge your phone because it won’t turn on after dropping it in water is a sure way to short the board and make sure it won’t work again.”

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He says that if you have a food dehydrator around, it arguably does the best job at removing moisture from your water-damaged device, simply because that’s its job in the first place. However, iPads are a bit too big to fit in most food dehydrators, so you’re really only left to air-dry it with a fan in front of it.

It’s recommended that you keep it in a dry place that isn’t humid, and if you can leave the device sit in a warm area, the heat will help evaporate the water, but just be careful, since the iPad has a limit of 113 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Apple.

If you still want to dunk your iPad in an absorption material like rice, Gazelle recommends using silica gel, cat litter, couscous, instant oatmeal, classic oatmeal, or instant rice (as opposed to regular rice). These items do a far better job than regular rice, but they still aren’t the best options when it comes to drying speed, as a wet sponge can actually dry faster than an iPad in cat litter.

Get It Working Again

It’s recommended that you don’t touch your iPad and let it dry for at least 24 hours, but even then we’d recommend leaving it alone for a couple of days.


Once it completely dries, try turning it on. If it turns on and works just like before, congrats! If it doesn’t turn on, there are a couple things you can try.

Charging it for a few hours can give it a kick-start that will allow it to turn on, but it’s possible that the battery could be completely toast. This is where you could swap out the battery for a new one, but seeing as how the iPad’s battery is internal, you’ll probably want to take it to a repair shop to have that done.

If your iPad still doesn’t turn on, you may still be able to sync it to your computer, allowing you to recover any important data, but be prepared to say goodbye to the iPad itself if you can’t get it to turn on.