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What NOT To Do If Your iPhone Gets Wet

By on July 22, 2015








As a smartphone repair company, we have had our fair share of customers who come into our stores with their water-damaged iPhones. They also share with us some MacGyver solutions that they read online, thinking that they actually work. Some use the uncooked rice or the hairdryer technique to dry their phones, but the truth is, they don’t work. And the damage can get exacerbated for waiting too long to bring in the iPhone for repair.

Here’s our tips on what to do if your iPhone has been water damaged, based on our experience having worked with these devices for years.

Water Damage Don’ts

  1. Don’t turn it on. Don’t be too eager to check if your phone is still working because it can cause short circuits – and not work forever. If the device is on when it fell into the water, very carefully and quickly turn the power off.
  2. Don’t dry it with uncooked rice. A lot of how-to guides recommend stuffing your phone in a bag of dry rice and letting it sit for 24 to 48 hours. In a study by Gazelle, rice is actually the least absorbent compared to silica gel, cat litter, or oatmeal.
  3. Don’t use a hairdryer just yet. You want to take the moisture out as soon as possible, but the heat can warp the interiors of your phone and you end up “steaming” the device from the inside, resulting in more damage.
  4. Don’t use silica gel as a long-term solution. Stuffing your wet phone in a bag of silica gel packets may be handy in an emergency situation when you’re camping or on a road trip, and you don’t have the proper tools to dry it. Even though silica gel does absorb the water from your phone, it takes 48 hours to dry it inside out. After waiting that long, it may already be too late to salvage your device.
  5. Don’t soak it in rubbing alcohol. As a solvent, alcohol can melt the fragile glues in your phone interior. Use alcohol only for cleaning the surface but it won’t resuscitate a water-damaged phone.
  6. Don’t put it in the freezer, microwave, or oven. The LCD may get damaged if you try to freeze or heat up your phone.


Don’t dry it with uncooked rice


The Key Is Not to Wait Too Long

A lot of our customers with water-damaged iPhones wait too long before bringing in their devices. They mistakenly follow the 48-hour waiting period to dry their phones using uncooked rice or silica gel. But by then, the internal circuits have already fried and the phone is as good as dead. So this is what we recommend you do if you dropped your iPhone into the water.

How to Dry Your Wet iPhone Properly

Note: If you can’t do the following steps on your own, bring your iPhone to a trusted repair shop because a trained technician can dry out the components in minutes. Thus, minimizing any water damages and saving your phone.

  1. Dismantle your iPhone. The most efficient way to dry your phone is by working on the inside. Unscrew the bottom of the case using a screwdriver specially made for iPhones. If you’re worried about voiding your warranty, dropping it in water has already voided it anyway.
  2. Remove the battery. First thing you take out is the battery to avoid short circuits.
  3. Wipe it with a soft dry cloth. Get the water out of every inch of the iPhone very gently.
  4. Use a hairdryer. Now that the phone has been taken apart, it is safe to use a hairdryer to thoroughly allow the moisture to escape. But be careful! Keep the hairdryer on a low setting, and don’t keep it on for longer than a few seconds at a time. Also, wait until the phone is at a decent temperature before attempting to turn it back on. As a precaution, do not use the hairdryer on the battery whether it’s plugged in or not.

It’s Time to Test the iPhone

When it is evident that the iPhone is completely dry, reattach the battery and switch the power on. If the phone won’t turn on, it might be because of a damaged battery. Verify this by plugging the iPhone into the charger without an attached battery. If it works, the battery is the problem and you just need to get a battery replacement.

While your iPhone is back on, our advice is to back up your contacts, photos, apps, and other files. Unfortunately, your phone is not out of the woods yet because the battery may still have incurred damages that may appear after a few months.

And If the iPhone Still Doesn’t Work …

Bring it to Apple Store for repair and tell them what happened – if they don’t know yet. iOS devices have internal liquid detectors to let them know if the iPhone got wet. But don’t worry, they won’t know whether it was in the lake or the toilet.

A water-damaged iPhone also means that it’s time for you to buy a new smartphone. But don’t toss that dead iPhone yet into the trash because you can still sell it for cash, which you can use for your new phone!

About the Author

Nando V. has been a cellphone technician at iCare Repair for more than two years, and has fixed all types of hardware and software issues on all brands of cellphones and tablets. He found his passion in mobile devices when he repaired his own iPod headphone jack using a manicure/pedicure kit.

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  1. mike

    July 22, 2015 at 11:34 am

    I to have repaired many Iphone iPods, the use of a vacuum cleaner after the back is off is very helpful, also can of air.I've had people wait a week to bring in a phone.

  2. Mark

    July 22, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    Hey Nanado,
    Thanks for the tips. You see so many ideas about drying electronic items, such as rice. I have been working on an IPad at the moment (battery & screen) and have come across some of those videos and also videos of qualified technicians, which showed some of the techniques used for cleaning and drying & also some required repairs for those items. As you say, the earlier you get to it the better your chances. The damage can be unrepairable otherwise.

  3. Yogesh Panchal

    July 22, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    Thanks for information.

  4. Robert Calk

    July 22, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    Thanks for the good tips, Nando. My Kyocera is supposed to be waterproof, but I still try to keep it from getting wet. I said I would never get a "smart" phone. But they are making it almost impossible here in the USA, so I got one. I just don't use it for the internet and have everything turned off except for the phone, text, and camera.

    • Humphrey Kimathi

      July 31, 2015 at 8:15 pm

      Hi Robert, why this strong stand not to use smartphone except for phone,text and camera...any experience you would like to share with some of us on the other side of world...
      Regards Humphrey

      • Robert Calk

        August 1, 2015 at 7:26 am

        Because I don't trust them. A smart phone is probably easier for hackers to get into than PC's. I for sure wouldn't want my credit cards or anything on them.

  5. Merlin Marquardt

    July 22, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    Good advice.

  6. corriete

    July 22, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    wow. i have wondered what is the best way to dry a wet phone and now i appreciate this info. thanks so much. but now i have a smart phone.don't know why call it a smart phone when they spoil so quickly.
    this smart phone's screen should work when touched any where apps appear but now works only some ares on the screen and does not work other areas. can any one tell if this can be repaired apart from maybe buying a new screen or phone? i have checked the net and no replacement screen available.

    • Nando

      July 24, 2015 at 10:08 pm

      Hi Corriete,

      That usually means the digitizer isn't clipped in all the way or the screen has gone bad. You just need a screen replacement and your phone should be good!


    • Robert Calk

      July 27, 2015 at 6:12 pm

      My girlfriend had a problem like that with her phone, and the problem turned out to be the clear flat plastic piece covering the screen that fits in the protector case that snaps around the phone to protect it. After it was replaced and snapped back around the phone, the phone worked great.

  7. Albert Hoekman

    July 23, 2015 at 5:46 am

    Thanks for the the helpful advices, very clear explained.

  8. Humberto

    July 23, 2015 at 8:36 pm

    Thanks for the tips Nando, very useful.


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