Dropped iPhone in water! What to do? [Rescue Guide]

I bet you’re stressed right now… Probably you also don’t know what to do since you just dropped iPhone in water (toilet, paddle, bath, … doesn’t really matter). OK! The most wise decision in such situation is to take the water damaged iPhone to a phone service center. The gadget should be taken apart in order to get rid of water drops trapped inside. If, for some reasons, you cannot do that try the method described below. Just calm down and concentrate on performing the following steps.

Water Damaged iPhone Rescue Guide

STEP 1 Turn off your iPhone and don’t be tempted to power it on again!
STEP 2 Wipe all visible liquid from iPhone (use napkin or toilet paper). Soak liquid from audio jack, charger port and around all buttons.
STEP 3 Don’t use hair dryer to dry the device
STEP 4 Get a pack of rice (usual dry rice) from the kitchen and fill up a zip-lock bag or a bowl
STEP 5 Submerge and cover the “wet” iPhone into rice
STEP 6 Leave the iPhone covered in rice for at least 2 days (48 hours)

Now when you completed all the steps, you can breathe out and read the rest of the article.

ATTENTION!!! Mentioned above steps DO NOT GUARANTEE total removal of liquid trapped inside of you iPhone. You have to realize that iPhone should be opened by a technician who will inspect all internal components for possible damage. Even if the iPhone got back to working condition, there might be liquid residues which can initiate corrosion process. As a result your phone might just die in few months… or a year…

My story

I’m a healthy living guy and always try to stay in a good shape. Few times a week I do my morning running sessions in order to boost the brain activity and overall well being for upcoming days… Usually I use my iPhone as a music player while on the run… One morning I was on the route – 6 miles of running, stretching workout then went for a swim in the river… When I was getting out of water and pulled the t-shirt, I clearly heard a terrifying “PLOP!”. I dropped my iPhone in water!… Oh my God! Everything happened in less than a second, and in a moment I was holding the wet iPhone in my hands.

First reaction was “Shit! Good bye iPhone! Indeed it was a loved gadget… It was a good helper which never let me down”. Despite the iPhone was fully submerged in water for few seconds, I decided not to give up so easy and try to do everything possible to save my iPhone. When I got back home (I never run so fast before), I wiped all visible liquid from iPhone and soaked the rest of water from ports and buttons. Then I took a bowl or rice and buried the iPhone in it for few days. A friend of mine suggested this solution to me few months ago…

Now let me describe every step of iPhone water damage recovery guide in details.

Don’t try to power on your wet iPhone

It should seem obvious (unfortunately not for everyone) that YOU MUST NOT TURN ON THE IPHONE IF IT WAS JUST DROPPED IN WATER! But I know how tempting it might be. Some people start pushing POWER button as soon as they wipe water on the outside of the iPhone. You have to control your curiosity, otherwise you just increase chances to “cook” your device. Most likely your iPhone will display just a blue (white, pink…) screen or colorful lines and spots.

In case you are not able to power the iPhone down, skip to the next step (just stick it to rice anyway).

How to dry out your water soaked iPhone

As soon as you fish your iPhone from water, you MUST get rid of all possible liquid. This step is also obvious and I bet this is the first thing you did. To remove water from “hard to access” places (audio jack, charger port, etc.) you can try using a cocktail straw. If you don’t have one, just try to suck out water with your lips (not really applicable if you dropped iPhone in toilet). You can also carefully shake and knock the iPhone to help water to come out.

It would be great if you could open your iPhone and remove water drops trapped around internal parts. To open an iPhone you would need a special pentalobe screwdriver.

Hair dryer

Some users from internet claim they managed to dry the iPhone with a hair dryer. I can only say that some people are more lucky than others. If you decide to use this method, I want to warn you not to overheat you device. Operate a blow dryer at a minimum temperature level. Overheating internal parts may damage some of them (wi-fi module is very sensitive to high temperature). By blowing inside of the gadget you might send water further down and shorten electrical components.


I hope it’s not going to be a big problem for you to get a bag of rice from the kitchen. Rice is a very good absorbent similar to silica gel bags which are usually found in a box with new shoes or so. Fill up a zip-lock bag with rice (if you don’t have a zip-lock bag use a deep bowl) and drop the wet iPhone inside. Try to position the iPhone so it’s completely covered with rice from all sides.

Now forget about your phone for at least 2 days (48 hours). I keep receiving questions similar to “Can I keep my iPhone in rice less time?”… But You have to understand one clear rule: The longer you keep the iPhone in rice, the more liquid will be removed, the better for you phone!”.

keep iPhone in rice for 48 hours

When the right time comes, open the bag and get the iPhone out. Clean it from rice dust and check all port holes for rice grains. Most likely you won’t be able to turn on the iPhone since the battery got fully drained. It is very common the battery contacts get shortened after you drop an iPhone to water. So connect your iPhone to a charger and leave it for 5-10 minutes. It should turn on by itself.

Don’t drop the iPhone in water!

In this article we described the first aid steps for saving a water damaged iPhone. My iPhone 4S survived after a swim in the river, and is still in good shape. So I believe your phone will be OK as well… Just don’t start panicking too early. All you can do at this point is to leave iPhone in rice for 2 days (48 hours).

According to statistic, people drop their iPhones to the toilet in 80% of all cases!

I don’t guarantee that this method will work for you 100%. It all depends on how long the iPhone stayed underwater and other circumstances. If your iPhone won’t turn on after rice treatment, I would suggest visiting a local phone repair/service center. I don’t think Apple Care guys will be bothered to help to repair a water damaged device. It’s clearly stated on Apple’s website that “… liquid damage isn’t covered by the Apple one year limited warranty or an AppleCare Protection Plan”. Most likely you will be proposed a replacement for about 350$ or so.

Unfortunately not every water damaged iPhone will get back to normal life. Some of the devices will keep working just all right, some might start freezing, glitching, switching off, battery will last less time or buttons will not react as before.

If you ever decide to buy a USED iPhone, make sure you check Liquid Contact Indicators which can tell you if the iPhone was dropped in water by previous owner. To find the location of LCI read the next blog article.

Keep your iPhone safe and dry… and don’t take it with you to the toilet! Be safe! Stay cool!

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