No More Rice Myth: Here’s What To Do When Your iPhone Got Wet

No More Rice Myth: Here's What To Do When Your iPhone Got Wet

We’ve all been there – that heart-stopping moment when your precious iPhone takes an unexpected plunge into liquid. Water damage is a real fear for smartphone owners. In the past, the go-to advice was to submerge the phone in rice, but that method is now outdated and potentially harmful.

Here’s what you need to do to increase your iPhone’s chances of survival after a watery mishap.

Problem Overview

iPhones, while remarkably durable, aren’t indestructible when it comes to water exposure. Even though newer models have improved water resistance ratings, they’re not waterproof. Accidents happen, and if yours takes a swim, time is of the essence.

Acting quickly and taking the right steps can often be the difference between a fully-functioning device and an expensive paperweight. This guide provides the latest know-how for handling a wet iPhone and leaves the outdated rice myth behind.

What to Do Immediately

1. Power it Off

  • If your iPhone is still on when it gets wet, immediately turn it off. Any electricity flowing through the circuits while there’s water inside can cause catastrophic short circuits and permanent damage.

2. Remove from Water and External Components

  • Quickly and carefully retrieve your iPhone from the liquid. The longer it remains submerged, the more likely water will penetrate the various openings and seep into the sensitive internal components.
  • Remove any case, protective covers, or plugged-in accessories like headphones or charging cables. This improves airflow and makes drying easier.
  • Eject the SIM card tray and gently remove the SIM card. This creates another point for moisture to escape.

3. Initial Drying

  • Thoroughly wipe down the outside of your iPhone with a soft, absorbent, lint-free cloth. Pay attention to all the nooks and crannies, including ports, the speaker grille, and buttons.
  • Gently shake your iPhone with the Lightning port facing downward to expel as much excess water as possible. Be careful not to shake too vigorously, as this could spread water further inside the device.

What NOT to Do

  • Don’t Use Rice: The traditional wisdom of burying your wet phone in rice can do more harm than good. Rice is slow to absorb moisture, and tiny grains can find their way into your iPhone’s ports and openings, causing further damage or obstruction.
  • Don’t Apply Heat: Using a hairdryer, oven, or leaving the phone in direct sunlight could overheat your iPhone’s delicate components and potentially cause warping or further damage.
  • Don’t Turn it On: Resist the urge to check if your iPhone is still working right away. Turning it on while there’s moisture inside puts it at risk of shorting out.

The Right Way to Dry Your iPhone

1. Silica Gel (The Ideal Solution)

  • Silica gel is a powerful desiccant (a substance that absorbs moisture) commonly found in small packets with new electronics and shoes. Its porous nature means it quickly and effectively draws out water.
  • Gather as many silica gel packets as you can – check drawers, packaging, and stores like electronics or craft shops. If possible, obtain enough to fully submerge your iPhone.
  • Place your iPhone and the silica gel packets in an airtight container or zip-lock bag. Seal it tightly and leave it undisturbed for at least 48 hours.

2. Place in a Well-Ventilated Area

  • If you don’t have silica gel, simply place your iPhone in a dry place with good airflow. Position it upright or prop it up to maximize the surface area exposed to air.
  • A small fan pointed towards the device can help the drying process, but do not use overly-hot air.

Waiting Period and Next Steps

  • Patience is key – you need to wait at least 48 hours (if not more) to ensure that your iPhone has thoroughly dried before attempting to turn it back on.
  • After the drying period, reinsert your SIM card and try turning on your iPhone.
  • If it works, carefully observe the functionality. Check for water damage indicators (look for red discoloration within ports using a flashlight), and check the screen, sound, buttons, and camera operation.
  • If your iPhone won’t turn on or seems to have problems, it’s crucial to seek professional repair services.

Professional Help – Your Lifeline

  • Even if your iPhone turns on after water exposure, internal damage may not be immediately obvious. Corrosion can occur over time, causing issues later.
  • Take your iPhone to an authorized Apple repair center or a reputable technician trained in water damage repair for a thorough assessment and any necessary repairs.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why is the rice method no longer recommended for drying a wet iPhone?

  • Ineffective: Rice is too slow to absorb moisture effectively, especially compared to silica gel. Water left inside your phone can cause long-term damage.
  • Risk of Damage: Tiny rice grains can enter your iPhone’s ports, causing blockages or physical damage.
  • Better Alternatives: Purpose-made desiccants (silica gel) are far superior for removing moisture, with even just leaving your phone to air dry in a ventilated area being a better option than rice.

2. My iPhone has a water resistance rating. Does this mean it won’t get damaged if it gets wet?

  • Not Waterproof: Water resistance ratings indicate a device can withstand some moisture under specific conditions (depth and time limits). Everyday wear and tear, along with drops and impacts, can compromise those seals which means water damage is still possible.
  • Fresh Water vs. Other Liquids: Most ratings focus on clean, fresh water only. Saltwater, pool water, and sugary liquids are particularly damaging and require further care.

3. What should I do if I dropped my iPhone in a liquid other than water (e.g., juice, soda, saltwater)?

  • Act Quickly: Time is still critical even with non-water liquids. Quickly power off your device and carefully remove the case and SIM card.
  • Gentle Rinse: A quick rinse under clean, cool water can help remove corrosive or sticky residues. Don’t submerge or use high-pressure water.
  • Follow Drying Steps: Thoroughly dry with a lint-free cloth and proceed with the silica gel (or air drying) steps outlined in the main article.
  • Seek Professional Help: Non-water liquids increase the risk of damage and need expert attention.

4. Is there anything I can do to prevent water damage to my iPhone in the future?

  • Protective Case: Invest in a high-quality waterproof case with port covers for greater protection.
  • Avoid Risky Situations: Be mindful around water sources (sinks, bathtubs), use caution during heavy rain, and refrain from underwater photography unless you have specialized, waterproof equipment.
  • Water-Resistant ≠ Waterproof: Understand the limitations of your iPhone’s water resistance rating and don’t overestimate its capabilities.

5. If my iPhone seems to be working fine after getting wet, should I still get it checked out?

  • Yes, Even Working Devices: Visible functionality isn’t the only factor. Internal corrosion can occur later due to water, leading to malfunctions and decreased lifespan.
  • Seek Professional Opinion: A technician can inspect the device for signs of hidden water damage and advise on appropriate cleaning or preventive measures to ensure the phone’s long-term health.