What to Do If Your iPhone Falls in Water?
By Robert Kingsley
Updated September 28, 2017
Well, now you've done it -- your iPhone is in the water. Your first reaction to seeing your expensive communications device sinking will be to panic. Considering that your warranty doesn't cover water damage and the phone has water sensors that will tattle for certain, that's not surprising. The most important thing to do is to get the phone out of the water as quickly as possible; after that, you'll have to dry the phone inside and out -- and hope for the best.
Get It Out!
Your iPhone will most likely be turned on when it hits the water, and there will be electricity flowing through its internal components. The iPhone will shut itself down eventually, but the longer it's in the water, the more damage will be done. Whether your phone is in a toilet or a puddle, get it out of the water as quickly as possible. If your phone hasn't already shut down when you retrieve it, hold the button on the top right corner of the phone to shut it off.
Wipe it Down!
At this point you have a sodden iPhone in your hand, dripping water from every orifice. You need to start drying it immediately, and the first step in that process is wiping it down. Grab a dry cloth or paper towel -- anything that can absorb water. Wiping your screen with a paper product isn't idea, as it can cause scratches -- but it's more important to get the phone dry. Wipe down the outside of the phone and do your best to get any moisture out of the ports.
Dry it Out!
At this stage of the process your phone may appear dry, and externally it should be. However, the internal components are likely still soaked. You'll need to draw all of the moisture out of the phone before you can attempt to start it up again. There are two accepted methods that have proven successful for this task. The first is to bury the phone in uncooked rice. Pour rice into an open container and slide the phone into it. Make sure there is rice above and below the device. The second option is to place the phone in a closed case with silica gel packets -- you can buy these online or at a craft store. The silica gel would work better, but it is more important to begin this process quickly, so use what you have -- which will likely be the rice.
This is the most difficult part of the process, though it's the most important: Leave your phone buried in rice or wrapped up with silica packets for at least three days. A full week is even better. It will take time to fully draw the moisture out of your iPhone. Pulling the phone out early and testing it can cause even more damage and ruin your chance at rescuing the phone. Give it all the time it needs.
Once your phone is thoroughly dried, pull it out, wipe the rice dust from it and give it a go. Press the power button on the top right corner of the phone and cross your fingers. If all went well, the phone should start up and function. If the phone isn't functioning after you've dried it out, you'll likely have to pay to repair or replace it.
Robert Kingsley has been writing technical copy and procedural documents since 2007. He has years of experience with networking and hardware troubleshooting to help guide readers through their information technology-related issues. Kingsley received his associate's degree in computer networking systems from ITT Technical Institute in Woburn, Massachusetts.