What to do if you drop your iPhone in water
It’s all too easy to get your iPhone wet. But it doesn’t matter if you got caught in a heavy downpour or dropped your device to the bottom of a lake…our advice is the same. Even for water-resistant iPhones.
1. Turn it off immediately
We already said this, but it’s worth repeating. Turn your iPhone off as soon as you get it out of the water. Press and hold the Side button with the Volume Up button, then slide to power off.
And once it’s turned off, do not turn it back on.
2. Take your iPhone out of the case
If your iPhone is in a case, water might have gotten trapped when you dropped it. Remove the case and any other accessories from your iPhone, including your screen protector.
Dry off your bare iPhone by wiping it with a lint-free cloth. You want to absorb the liquid on the outside of your device without leaving it covered in material fibers. If you don’t have a lint-free cloth to hand, a t-shirt usually does the trick.
3. Ease liquid out of the ports
Don’t stick anything in the lightning or headphone ports. Tilt your iPhone so the port faces down and gently tap it to encourage liquid to drip out. Do this for the speakers as well. Your iPhone should feel completely dry on the outside when you’re finished.
4. Remove your SIM card
Your iPhone might appear dry, but there’s probably still liquid inside it. Use a SIM tool, a straightened paperclip, or a pin to eject the SIM tray on the side of your device.
Remove the SIM card and carefully dry it off. Now store it somewhere safe. Leave the SIM tray out of your iPhone to create a vent, which helps the liquid inside to evaporate.
5. Wait for your iPhone to dry
Wait 24–48 hours for your iPhone to dry. And don’t stick it in a bag of rice. Find a flat, open space to leave your iPhone instead.
The space should be well ventilated and dry, like a windowsill or a bookshelf.
Do not place your iPhone, iPad, or iPod in direct sunlight! Instead, choose a place that’s covered by shade.
If you want, you can try to speed up the process by placing silica gel packs around your iPhone or putting it under a cool fan. Don’t use a hairdryer or a radiator.
Wait as long as possible without using your iPhone. Do not turn your iPhone on during this time. If you use your device while the components are still wet, you could cause irreparable damage.
Only when you’re confident your iPhone is dry should you turn it on again.
Should I use rice to dry my iPhone?
“If you drop your iPhone in water, stick it in some uncooked rice to dry it out.” We’ve all heard this advice before, but it isn’t true.
It’s not hard to understand the logic: rice absorbs water, so it should draw out and absorb the water from your iPhone. In fact, the advice was around long before iPhones were invented, as rice was suggested to protect film stock from humid environments.
But that doesn’t make it any less of a myth.
Rice is less effective at drying your device than just leaving it in an open, well-ventilated space. Not only that, but you run the risk of getting grains jammed in your iPhone ports. Trust me, it happens, and it can break your iPhone.
Chances are, whenever you hear a successful rice story, that person’s device would have been fine if they left it alone anyway. In fact, it would have dried out faster if they avoided the rice.
Ignore the stories and keep your iPhone in the open.
How does Apple know if I dropped my iPhone in water?
If you take your iPhone to the Genius Bar for a repair, they can find out if it has been water damaged. They do this by looking for a number of different signs.
A liquid contact indicator (LCI) in the SIM tray or headphone port on your device turns red when it gets wet. You can check this yourself, but there’s another one on the inside of your iPhone that you need to open the device to find.
Upon opening your device, there are usually other signs of liquid damage as well. This could range from mineral deposits to corrosion, to a puddle of water still present on the inside (I’ve seen this happen more than once).
Rest assured, if your iPhone is water damaged the Apple Geniuses will find out about it.
How do I fix a water damaged iPhone?
Drying your iPhone and hoping for the best isn’t the only course of action you can take after dropping it in water. You could also look into getting a repair or, in Apple’s case, a replacement device.
But first, if you dropped your iPhone in the toilet, please clean it and let someone know before you hand it over to them!
Take it to Apple
Apple doesn’t repair water damaged iPhones. This is because they can’t guarantee they fixed it without replacing every single component. So they offer a replacement device instead.
Apple’s warranty doesn’t cover liquid damage, even for water-resistant iPhones. So, unless you have AppleCare+, you need to pay for an “Out of Warranty” replacement device.
This is usually quite expensive, but it doesn’t cost as much as a new iPhone off the shelf.
Take it to a third-party repair shop
Alternatively, you could look for a third-party iPhone repair shop offering water damage repairs. There is still no guarantee they can fix your device, but many repair shops operate on a “No Fix, No Fee” principle.
Even if the repair shop can’t fix your iPhone, they may have an option to help you recover data.
Attempt a DIY repair
If you’re feeling pretty handy, you might consider a DIY repair on your water damaged iPhone. You should only consider this if you have no other option — since it isn’t easy and can easily do more damage to your device.
Follow the comprehensive guide on iFixit to attempt a DIY repair on your water damaged iPhone. You need to buy several specialist tools, as well as some 90% isopropyl alcohol to soak your damaged components.
That’s just about all there is to say about the wet iPhones. Now you know what to do if you drop your iPhone in water. Let us know what happened in the comments — it might ease the pain to share your story. And tell us what tips you used on your device.
We’ve crossed our fingers for you!