How to dry a water-damaged iPhone

User guides Richard Goodwin 10:49, 31 Oct 2013

How you can fix an iPhone that has got wet - an issue that Apple does not cover under its warranty or Apple Care

Whatever you do with your iPhone, don’t get it wet (even if you do believe the rumours that iOS 7 will make it waterproof). Why? because the warranty and the paid-for Apple Care plan specifically exclude any faults that are due to water damage.

This means that if your iPhone stops working after you, say, drop it in the sea or leave it in a steamy bathroom, your options are limited.

But if you do take your iPhone back to the Apple Store or your mobile supplier, don’t lie  - they’ll find you out. The iPhone has four 'Liquid Submersion indicators' inside it that turn pink on contact with water - so they will know if you're telling porkies.

(One of these circular sensors is visible if you look down the headphone socket with a bright light - if it's been triggered the circle will be half pink and half white).

So Apple won’t - or can’t help - but all is not lost. There are plenty of reports online showing people successfully ‘drying out’ their iPhones. If you have completely immersed your iPhone in water don't try to restart it by plugging it into a power source - seriously. And put away that hairdryer.

Instead follow the steps below to have the best chance of resurrecting it. First wipe off the liquid and gently shake the phone to clear ports and sockets.

Out of all the tried and tested methods, the most successful is using Silica gel - which is an incredibly moisture-absorbent substance often found in new handbags or with new pairs of shoes. If you keep your packaging for hi-fi or cameras you may already have some lying around the house. Otherwise you can find it at Arts & Crafts shops - it's used for drying flowers - or you may be able to blag it from an electronics store. You can also order it online from places like Davpack 

Then pack the iPhone in a sealed plastic bag, safely nested among packets of Silica gel, and store it in a dry place (like the back of a cupboard) for three days. If you’ll miss your phone during this time you can always pop your SIM in a temporary one - and giving it time to dry out should ensure the moisture is drawn out from the electronic innards of your iPhone

If you can't get hold of the Silica gel quickly place your iPhone in a bag or box of uncooked rice and reseal it. This will keep it as dry as possible in the meantime. Transfer the iPhone to the Silica gel bags when you get them.

Finally connect up your iPhone to your PC, load up iTunes and try to do a complete Restore. This will provide you with the best chance of getting the iPhone to its pre-drenched working state.

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UNBELIEVABLE!!! All the wrong things done and it still works like new!!!&#13
My wife dropped her iPhone in the bath the other night!&#13
It was still working for a few seconds and then screen started to flicker and she turned it off. She then tried to turn it back on but to no avail! It was DEAD! She shook it for a few seconds and then shook it some more and still more water was being ejected. She tried to turn it on several times more but nothing happened. She left it under her pillow over night in the hope it may dry out and would be alright but NO it was still dead the following morning!&#13
She called me at work later that morning (using the landline phone) to tell me that she was a murderer! She had killed her iPhone. She was in despair! She had lost what had become a family member. No more ‘Words With Friends’ or ‘iReversi’ or any games she plays with the world that is now part of the family! GUTTED!&#13
After I had finished calling her all the names under the sun I told her to get the hair dryer on it and use it on the coolest setting and sit nursing the phone for at least 20 minutes while directing the air into the various orifices of the phone. Then I told her to seal it in a container of dry rice (uncooked), which she did. When I returned home from work I took a look at the phone and the sensor in the bottom of the phone, the one inside the charger slot was a lovely shade of PINK. That’s it I thought, more money! We left the phone in the rice in a warm, darkened room (the airing cupboard) and left it there for 24 hours. Again on my return from work and after reading all of the bloggs that had negative comments about the chances with it, I decided to try it! What’s left to lose? It buzzed first and then the battery meter came on showing about 1% power then died again. I tried again and the same happened. I plugged the charger in I turned it on, the charger indicator symbol showed on the screen showing a red bar and that it was connected. I left it for about a minute (still on charge) and then tried to turn it on using the on button on the top, IT WORKED! The Apple was on the screen, then suddenly a BUZZ and Hey Presto! It sprang back to life! Gob smacked! I shouted my wife to tell her it was on. She came running in and snatched it from me and started cuddling it. Then we looked at it and tried all the different functions, she rang me on mine, sent me a text, sent me an email, went on the web, played some music, opened some of the Apps and all was ok! We left the phone on charge for a few hours and it is like new! How lucky are we? Not even visible signs of any water damage on the screen as so often happens with drowned iPhones. I know we were very lucky and there is still a chance that we may encounter problems with the battery losing its charge quicker but at the moment it is fine! Thank goodness!!!&#13

THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! I was going to pick up my exam results on my moped when it suddenly started pelting it down! i had a "Waterproof" Berghaus jacket on so i pulled over and transfered my phone from my jeans to my "Waterproof pocket" i then set of and the rain was very heavy by now. after half an hour i arrived home and checked my phone straight away to see if there was any damage. the pocket was full of water. HOW THE FU*K DID THE WATER GET IN THERE!!

THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! I was going to pick up my exam results on my moped when it suddenly started pelting it down! i had a "Waterproof" Berghaus jacket on so i pulled over and transfered my phone from my jeans to my "Waterproof pocket" i then set of and the rain was very heavy by now. after half an hour i arrived home and checked my phone straight away to see if there was any damage. the pocket was full of water. HOW THE FU*K DID THE WATER GET IN THERE!!

dont know why it isnt posting the whole story... but hey. its was a happy ending!!

dont know why it isnt posting the whole story... but hey. its was a happy ending!!

my iphone fell in muddy water will that make a difference?

I just found the easiest fix for a water damaged iPhone. Put your phone in a thin sock and hang it over the door of your clothes dryer. Set the dryer on low heat and run it with nothing else in the dryer (to prevent static damage). The sock draped over the dryer door keeps the phone from tumbling in the dryer, and the dryer will eventually pull out the moisture. My daughter dropped her phone in a bathtub and, after a half day in the dryer, it works fine again.

Oh, thank you for this site! I dropped my beloved iPhone in the toilet at full flush, tried to switch it on several times, then finally admitted defeat, putting him into a bag of rice in a warm place & leaving him. That was on Friday morning & by Monday evening I plugged it in, said a prayer & to my absolute joy & disbelief the phone sprang to life. What a marvellous piece of machinery & what a fab website! Thank you!!

It works!!!!! My 4s mysteriously fell into a sink full of water, it seemed ok apart from I couldn't hear anything on it & no sound worked- even Siri was mute!! Couldnt find any silica gel on a Sunday afternoon so I bagged it up with some rice & left it for about 9 hours and.... Voila!!! All is good & I will sleep tonight ( with my iPhone on my pillow next to me of course)

Agree strongly with this article - do NOT try and plug your iPhone in until it is dried out.&#13
There is a product that will dry your iPhone if it gets water damaged called the Dry-Phone.&#13
Hope this helps save your phone and data.

How long can a phone be damaged for before attempt is made to fix it?

Silica gel isn't the most effective option -- I tried it but it still left traces of water on the screen.&#13
I managed to find a 'phone recovery pack' called rescuetec that is specifically designed to recover wet phones etc. They reckon its 300% better than silica and 700% better than rice -- it worked for me.

what if i dont have silica gel or rice? my iphone was on the table then my brother spilled a glass of water and some of it got on my speaker now to sound is very low even when its on max volume -.- HELP!

It's really worth buying some rice as it's quite effective, assuming you can't get hold of silica gel. If you really can't get either try wrapping the phone in a towel

Rice really does work!!! I dropped my iPhone 5 in my deep pond!! That my 4 ducks use so as you can imagine the pond is mucky!! It took me over an hour to find it using a net!! I was amazed that it worked when i got it out the pond!! But after shaking it to get the water out it started to act funny!! I did also charge it as the phone was about to die! I was worried if it switched off it would never come back on!!! anyway it charged fine but the touch screen wouldn't work and it started to do its own thing by pushing its own buttons and the screen started to flicker!! I then read online to put it in dry rice!! So I poured some in a airtight container and place the phone in it!! Literally 2 days later it works perfectly fine!! No problems as yet! How lucky is that!!!!

i dropped my iphone 4s down the toilet on friday it is now monday .it has been in a bag of rice since then . ive tried to turn it on i can hear the voice command but there is nothing on the screen, do u think my phone has had it ??

No, the same thing happened to mine. Take the sim card out, turn it off and put it in a air-tight(meaning take all the air out) bag of uncooked rice. Leave it there for AT LEAST 24 hours and it should be fine. I've gotten my Iphone 4 wet THREE times lol and it's sitting in a zip lock bag of uncooked rice as I type this. My home button wouldn't work and voice command kept activating. It's been 21 hours and now everything works fine =D As long as you have patience, you'll be fine.

hi did u take the battery out when you put it in a bag of rice and also did you put the back of the phone on. people have told me to remove the battery and sim and put it in a bag of rice for few days but i would love to know if you left battery in or not

dropped mine in the toilet. Never understood how people managed that. But now U know putting ur iphone on the shelf above the toilet to play spotify whilst getting ready- bad idea. Here's another bad idea , get ur hairdryer blow it into the phone on cool and then use the hot setting over the back cover to evaporate any remaining water.But this was the better idea out of my 2 bad ideas because i sent this 'via iphone' !!!! Yey it lives! Phewwww

What a coincidence your copy is exactly the same as what Rescue Tec use on their video and website. Great endorsement, Ms Shill.

Let me tell you, I've been flipping out for the past 24 hours thinking my iPhone 5 was done for good. After seeing so many scary articles about "if you can't slide to turn it off you're screwed" I'm here to say that there is hope. I dropped mine in the toilet...sigh...and grabbed it out in less than a second. Last time it was in water I was super lucky and literally nothing happened. This time, the whole touch screen stopped responding.
I didn't think to turn it off right away, since I was still freaking out, but realized I should after about a minute. I turned it off and shook it gently to get some of the water out. I of course dried it with a towel, and then I ran around the house to find rice. I used rice a roni as a last resort, but it was ok.
After checking it at the 6 hour mark, still broken. Checked again at the 20 hour mark, and hallelujah. :) still holding my breath since it's only been working for a few hours now, but I want everyone to have some hope. It'll be ok. Even if you don't fix it, at least you can probably get a refurbished one from apple.
Just be patient! I wish I hadn't checked it at 6 hours, that just scared me more.

Fingers crossed it keeps working

My phone got a tiny bit of water damage in the rain the other night. It still works fine except for some external sound issues. Will these still work? Is it too late? I'm getting ready to leave for Phoenix this afternoon so I won't have time to fix anything until I get back on the 2nd.

Idk if you fixed it, but when that happened to me, I blow dried my phone. but the air setting was cold air not hot air cos hot air will melt the insides.

my iphone is wet and its in the 2 series pliz need help now

What if you cant turn your phone off? Does it have to be off for it to work

Hi and Help!! dropped mine down toilet last Friday...put into rice right away and came back on few hours later. photos taken after bit cloudy but otherwise fine. Went to upload photos to pc last night by plugging iphone into pc and phone went dead. Can hear the voice command but that's it. Do you think if I repeat process, it might work. Thinking about putting the hairdryer on it. Didnt think the sim card out first time

Hi Caro, if you had a problem plugging it into a PC with both the computer and the phone there may still have been some water in the charging/data port. It certainly wouldn't hurt to repeat the process with the SIM removed, but I can't guarantee it will work. I would not recommend using a hairdryer as the high heat can damage the phone.

Does it still work?

no because its opposite day

I dropped my iPhone 4S in the toilet and it has been drying for over 48 hours, but it still has water on the screen and the home button doesn't work, but everything else is working, what should I do?


Will it work if i tried the same a day later?? my iPhone had some water damage yesterday, after trying to power it on all through yest...i had decided to take to the store to fix it.

That's when i came across this article, please advise if this works even after a day of damage???

i dropped my phone in a pool in sunday it is now monday night and ive taken it out of the rice bag and tried turning it on and it would only vibrate nothing will appear on the screen, and so i out it back in, hwne should i take it back out???

I dropped my iphone 5 in a puddle yesterday.. I put it in rice right away it's been about 15 hours then i tried plugging it in and the battery came up saying it was dead but I was worried that maybe there was still water in it so I unplugged it.. Do you think it's ok to take out now? Should I see if it will charge? I don't wanna mess anything up!!!

Phone fell into the toilet , I immediately put it in a bowl of rice for 24 hrs+ to no avail.
The phone's dry now but completely dead and won't take a charge... I believe this "rice practice" to be an ol' wives tale.
New phone arriving tomorrow :(

you can't remove battery on iPhone

yes you can, google the instructions

Same thing happened to me, put it rice, said it needed to be charged, plugged it in, and now nothing is happening :(

some water spilled on my ipod touch some hours ago. it was working fine(at least thats what i thought..!!) so i kept it on and even plugged it to my laptop for some time. but now i realise that some keys on my ipod type themselves up on their own..!! is it because of the water.??? the touch screen in the bottom left corner is now working on its own. can anything be done?

I put my iPhone 4S down on the sidewalk, and had a starbucks cup with water in it. The dogs knocked the water over and it got on my phone.... It would not work at all... I used 2 of the ideas, one from here and the other from another site. I put some rice in a plastic bag with some silica packets, I taped the charging and headphone holes shut, but I used a straight pin to put tiny holes in the tape, so that rice wouldn't get into the holes, but the moisture could get out....left the phone in the bag for the night (it happened around 4, but I didn't know it didn't work until 6). So from about 7 (after we went to get rice) till 6 in the morning, it was in the bag. I turned it on, and it had a red battery and a zig zag line... So I plugged it in... and it started charging!!! It's at 100% right now, and I've used it all day.... I am so happy I didn't have to get a new phone... So it really does work....

I am going to try this...

Forget the rice trick. I dropped my iPhone 5s in the toilet for a second yesterday and left it in a bag of rice for 24 hours. When I switched it on the phone was completely wrecked, alternating between the touch screen not working properly and the blue screen of death. I then put it on top of my heater for 15 minutes and it appears to working fine again. I'm leaving it there for a few hours to be sure. The whole rice trick I'm a little skeptical about. Rather than trying to 'draw' the water out just dry it directly. Obviously just make sure the heat is not too much.

I'm going to try the silica gel. The thing is my Lifeproof case failed me at the lake. My phone got wet. However, my phone is completely back to working normal, but I have moisture in the lens of my camera. That's what's bother me. I can't take a picture that isn't foggy. I'd also like to mention, I did some laundry for my dad a while back and he'd left his iPhone 5s in the pocket. When I found it after it was done. 2 days later, working completely normal. He didn't remember the incident and I had to explain what had happened, because he didn't believe me.

make sure you take out the battery; not doing so could cause your battery to "puff" and then cause more damage to your phone..

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