How to save a wet iPhone in 9 tips

May also save Apple Watch, iPads, iPod touch and other smartphones

Apple, iOS, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple Watch, Android, smartphones

Alternatively you can get waterproof smartphone cases from a variety of manufacturers.

Credit: C/o Waterproof case maker, Lifeproof

I don’t envy anyone who has ever accidentally dropped their iPhone into water. Not only is it likely to be broken, but all the precious memories it contains may be lost. There is a little hope, so read on.

Fingers crossed

I’m not saying you will always be able to rescue your iPhone, but these tips will give you a pretty good chance. Be warned: if you’ve dropped your water into a sugary drink or soapy water the chances of success are far slimmer because internal components may be damaged beyond repair.

#1 Don’t turn it on

If your iPhone is wet you should absolutely resist the temptation to turn it on to see if it is still working. You must not try to turn the smartphone on because doing so may damage its internal components, causing them to short circuit. Don’t activate the device in any way other than briefly in order to switch it off (even switching the device off is risky as you need to activate it, but you don’t want it to activate for any reason during the next few steps, so it’s a risk you may need to take once you’ve dried it a little).

#2 Undress

Take your iPhone out of its case. Remove any screen protection. Your smartphone doesn’t need any of the liquid trapped between its chassis and its case.

#3 Drying out

First priority is to dry the smartphone out. Wipe it gently with clean material, paying particular attention to its switches, earphone and power ports. When drying inside these areas be extremely gentle as you don’t want to force further moisture into your iPhone. Shake the device gently for a while to try to get any remaining liquid out.

#4 Remove the SIM

And gently dry the tray. Gently shake the device to try to release any trapped liquid from that area.

#5 Don’t use a hair dryer

Using a hairdryer may help dry exterior liquids but is unlikely to get rid of liquid trapped inside your device. It is more likely to cause trapped liquid to condense, potentially spreading it around the internals and causing further internal damage. (If you do use a hair dryer then wait a day or so before doing so and run it at a low heat). Never leave your device to dry out on a radiator.

#6 Pack it in silicon

If you happen to be fortunate enough to have collected a big plastic box full of the silica bags you find packed inside almost every electronic object then you should pop your iPhone into that box. Bury that smartphone inside the box of bags, put a lid on the box and leave the iPhone for at least 48-hours. Resist the temptation to move the box around or look inside until at least that long in order to minimize the risk of follow-up condensation damage.

#7 Get the rice

If you don’t have a box full of silica bags then bury your iPhone inside a sealed box or sealable plastic bag of uncooked rice for 48-hours. This is an old electrician’s trick that takes advantage of rice’s deep attraction to water. The rice should attract all the liquid out of your iPhone, helping your device to dry as quickly and safely as possible. The problem with this approach is that rice can sometimes fill your smartphone with rice dust, but it does work and can be the chance you need to get your smartphone back.

#8 Now backup

If you get your iPhone dried off and starting up successfully you must know that it is unlikely to be quite the same again. Battery problems (even months later), intermittent crashes, instability and failed startup routines are all symptomatic of water damaged iPhones, so if these tips do help you get your iPhone started then please backup your data immediately. If you’ve got a recent iCloud or iTunes backup of your iPhone then you can at least hang onto your data.

#9 Take it to repair

Contact your local iPhone repair shop and see what they can do. The battery is likely to need replacement and they can do this too. Or visit an Apple Store, tell them what happened and see if they can do you a trade-in deal for a refurbished iPhone.

NB: When purchasing a second hand iPhone you should always follow these tips to ensure the device is not stolen and check for previous water damage according to Apple’s instructions here.

Good luck.

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