How to Save Your iPhone from Water Damage

If you accidentally dropped your iPhone in the sink or the toilet, there’s no huge need to panic right away. Here’s how to recover your iPhone and save it from water damage.

You may already know this, but water and electronics don’t mix and bad things can happen if they do eventually touch noses, so it’s always a good idea to keep your gadgets away from you while going for a swim or taking a shower. The good news is that more and more smartphones are becoming waterproof and water resistant, especially since both water and smartphones are big parts of our lives, so there’s no easy way to avoid the mixture altogether.

However, the iPhone isn’t waterproof by any means, and we’re not sure when Apple plans to add that to the feature list, but at this point, a quick dump in the toilet can be catastrophic. However, not every contact with water that your iPhone comes across has to be deadly, and there are ways to save your iPhone if this happens.

This is why many users try their hardest to recover their iPhones from water damage by using all sorts of tricks to dry their devices off as quickly as possible to prevent any further damage. However, don’t bother trying to preserve the resell value, as the water sensors on the inside of the iPhone will take care of that for you (as in, the resell value will go down the second your iPhone gets dunked).

iPhone water damage

Here are some tips and tricks on how to recover your iPhone from water damage and get it working so that you can keep using it.

Immediate Steps to Take

There are a handful of important steps to take between the time that you take your iPhone out of the water and when you leave it out to dry. Here’s what you need to do after you pull it out of water:

  • Shut It Down: Immediately shut down your iPhone 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 getting permanently damaged.
  • Open the Flood Gates: Anything that can be removed, remove it. This includes any case and even the SIM card tray. Doing this allows any water on the inside to escape wherever it can, which can expedite the drying process.
  • Empty It Out: Get out as much water as possible by doing whatever you can. Shake your iPhone, blow on it, whatever you have to do. You may look like an idiot, but it’ll be worth it.


Don’t Use Rice

You’ve probably been told many times that putting your iPhone in uncooked rice will absorb the moisture from your iPhone and help it dry quicker than just air drying, but regular ‘ole air-drying actually works much better.

But where did the rice trick myth come from in the first place? A cellphone repairman says that he mostly tells customers 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.”

He also says that a food dehydrator is actually the best tool, as it arguably does the best job at removing moisture from your iPhone, simply because that’s what a food dehydrator does in the first place.

iPhone Flashlight - 4

However, simply leaving your iPhone out to dry is the next best option, and a fan can also aid the process along and keep air circulating. It’s recommended that you keep your iPhone in a dry place that isn’t humid, and leaving the device sit in a warm area will allow the heat to help evaporate the water. Just be careful, though, since the iPhone has a limit of 113 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Apple.

If you’re still set on dunking your iPhone in rice, Gazelle recommends using silica gel, cat litter, couscous, instant oatmeal, classic oatmeal, or instant rice (as opposed to regular rice) instead. These products do a much 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 iPhone in rice or kitty litter.

Get It Working Again

It’s recommended that you don’t touch your iPhone for at least 24 hours, but even then we’d recommend leaving it for a couple of days to let it fully dry before trying to boot it back up again.

iOS 7.1.2 on iPhone 5s

Once your iPhone completely dries, try turning it on. If it turns on and works just like before, then you’ve successfully resuscitated back to life.However, if it doesn’t turn on, there are a couple things you can try.

Charging it for a few hours could give it a kick-start that could allow it to finally 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, which Apple will gladly do at the Apple Store.

If your iPhone still doesn’t turn on even after replacing the battery, you may still be able to sync it to your computer, allowing you to recover any important data. Otherwise, it’s time to say goodbye.